Food & Drink

Pork Belly, Sous Vide-style

Go to bed with your thermocirculator set, and wake up to chef Hugh Acheson’s decadent main dish

Photo: Andrew Thomas Lee

This is not bacon. Bacon is pork belly but all pork belly is not bacon. This is a luscious dish with a good amount of balancing acid, crunchy cucumber, sweet clementines, and flavors of fish sauce, Chinese vinegar, and soy. Make sure you get skin off pork belly. It is much easier to work with in this type of recipe. But if you get skin on just carefully take off the skin.—Hugh Acheson

Reprinted from Sous Vide. Copyright © 2019 by Fried Pie, LLC Photographs copyright © 2019 by Andrew Thomas Lee Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.





  • Pork Belly with Cucumber, Clementine, and Scallion (Serves 4)

    • 2 pound cut of pork belly, skin off

    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

    • ¼ cup chicken stock

    • 1 sprig fresh thyme

    • 1 bay leaf

    • 2 garlic cloves

    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

    • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)

    • 1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil (Any high-heat oil will work)

    • 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar

    • ½ English cucumber, sliced thinly lengthwise and then cut into 2 inch planks

    • ¼ cup bias cut scallions

    • ¼ cup parsley leaves

    • 2 seedless clementines, washed well, and sliced into wedges


  1. Preheat circulator water bath to 77°C/170.6°F

  2. Season the pork belly all over with the salt. Add pork belly, chicken stock, thyme, bay leaf, garlic, soy sauce, and fish sauce into a sealable gallon-size plastic bag. Submerge the bag into the circulator bath using the displacement method [partially submerge the unsealed bag, then push out any remaining air, seal, and fully submerge] to ensure the belly is under water. Cook the pork for 12 hours.

  3. Remove bag from circulator and let cool to room temperature. Place the bag in between two sheet pans or large plates and place something heavy (like extra plates on the top plate to weigh down) and compress the belly. Place belly in the refrigerator overnight or 12 hours. This compression will help achieve a uniform texture and cooking surface when you sear the pork.

  4. Take the pork out of the bag and save the cooking liquids in a separate bowl. Place the pork belly on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture. Transfer to a cutting board and cut the pork into 4 equal-sized pieces.

  5. Place oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When oil starts to shimmer place the belly fat side down in the pan to sear. (Gently and carefully press down on the belly to make sure there is good contact between belly and the pan.) Cook belly for 3 minutes, then flip and cook for 10 additional minutes, 2 minutes per side. Transfer to plate lined with paper towels to rest, then serve.

  6. While the pork is resting warm 1 cup of the reserved braising liquid in a small pot. Add the vinegar and keep warm on a bare simmer. Take the cucumber, scallions, parsley leaves, and clementine slices and toss together in a small salad bowl. Dress with the braising jus vinaigrette to taste.

  7. Arrange the pork belly on platter and intersperse the salad artfully over. Drizzle the whole platter with a bit more of the vinaigrette.