Instead of holiday leftover recipes we’re going to post a recipe that’s been sitting in our queue for quite a long time, heo quay Vietnamese roasted pork belly. Pork belly is beloved ingredient on our blog, from braised and caramelized pork belly (thit kho to thit rang) to our Asian inspired porchetta. While all of these dishes are great, the king of all pork belly dishes in our mind is heo quay. It’s a show stopper and we’ve been mesmerized by it’s glory ever since we can remember. Growing up, our frequent encounters with heo quay were at the Vietnamese/Chinese Barbeque joints where the entire pig with it’s crispy skin hung starring back at us in a glass case. At every family at wedding we gawked at procession of relatives carrying a whole roasted pig big enough to feed 100 guests as a symbolic dowry between the newly wed families.
The traditional oven roasted pork belly heo quay is fantastic and there are many great recipes across the internet like this and this. The reason why we like to use sous vide is mainly sheer convenience. The beauty of making crispy pork belly sous vide is that we can make a big slab ahead of time and portion and freeze for future recipes such as a bun dish or ramen. Just defrost in the fridge and pop it into the broiler and in about 15 minutes you have crispy heo quay ready to go. Or we can make this one or two days in advance for a dinner party and just finish off right before guests arrive. Plus, if you’re making this during the summer it’s nice not to have the oven on for long periods of time.
Boom, there it is. We apologize for letting this recipe sit in the queue. Here’s a short video of the process. It’s so simple you won’t ever need to go to the Asian BBQ again.
Heo Quay Recipe Sous Vide Crispy Pork Belly
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4-6 hours
While oven roasting is perfectly good way to make heo quay, we prefer the convenience of sous vide because it allows us to make a big slab ahead of time and freeze for future use in other recipes. You can freeze the pork belly after drying it from the sous vide. To reheat, thaw in the fridge and pop it in the broiler to crisp the skin.
2-3 lb skin on pork belly
2 bamboo or metal skewers
2 ts kosher salt
1 ts five spice powder
1 ts ground white pepper
Prepare sous vide water bath to 72 C or 162 F. Combine the salt, five spice, and white pepper in a small bowl.
Insert the skewers through the pork belly slab, criss crossing in a X pattern. Score only the skin with a sharp knife. Season entire belly. Place in zip lock bag or vacuum seal bag and sous vide for 4-6 hours. Near end of sous vide cook time, turn broiler on high. Remove and pat the belly dry, especially the skin. Re-season and place on wire rack over roasting pan. Place on top rack underneat broiler and carefully monitor the crispening progess. Rotate if there are any spots getting darker than others. This process will take roughly 10-15 minutes. It's ok if there is some charring, excess charring can be scrapped off with knife. When skin bubbles up to turns golden brown remove from broiler and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.
Adapted from The Sous Vide Life