Sticky and slightly spicy, melt-in-the-mouth pork belly, stuffed into a soft brioche bun and loaded with quick pickled veggies and a jalapeño kick! This is one indulgent pork burger. Perfect for a weekend treat!
My sticky Chinese pork belly has long been one of the favourites on the blog.
I’ve made it for Chinese banquets, served strips of it on sticks for buffets (empty dish in 5 minutes flat – I should have made more!), a gluten-free version, using tamari (just as good), served as Gua Bao, and now I’m turning it into a burger!!
Why is this sticky pork belly so good? It's all in the 3-stage cooking process:
- The pork belly is slow-cooked for a couple of hours to make the meat melt-in-the-mouth tender.
- After that it’s fried with a little oil and seasoning to make the edges golden and crisp.
- Then we add a sticky, sweet and slightly spicy sauce, and let it bubble away until it coats that pork belly.
It's one of those recipes where silence takes over the room for a few minutes, just while people take in those first bites. We don't spoil those first few bites with conversation. It's all about the eating.
📋 What do we need for the pork belly?
- Pork Belly - Use strips of thick-cut, rindless pork belly. You can often buy it like this from the supermarket
- Ginger, garlic, rice wine, sugar and stock - are used as the slow-cooking liquid for the pork
- Oil, salt, pepper, ginger, soy sauce, lemongrass paste, chilli, honey and brown sugar are all used to make the sticky glaze that the pork is fried in later.
📋 To make that burger extra special...
- Brioche buns - have you tried homemade brioche buns?
- Carrot, cucumber, red onion, water, cider vinegar, sugar and salt for the pickled vegetables
- Sliced lettuce and sliced jalapeños for extra toppings
📺 Watch how to make it
Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.
👩🍳PRO TIP Double up on the sauce if you want extra for pouring on the burger!
Best Burger Ever!!!
Layered up with quick pickled veggies (carrots, red onion and cucumber), then topped with jalapeños and chilli flakes to give it a spicy kick. So delicious!
🍲 More fantastic Burger recipes
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Sticky Belly Pork Burger Recipe
- 1 kg (2.2 lbs) rindless pork belly slices - chopped in half - each piece being approx. the length of your index finger – you’ll need around 12 pieces altogether – 3 for each burger.
- 1 litre (4 ⅓ cups) hot chicken stock
- 1 thumb sized piece of ginger - peeled and sliced
- 3 cloves garlic - peeled and chopped in half
- 1 tbsp rice wine
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
To fry the pork:
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- pinch salt and pepper
Glaze: (Note 1)
- ½ cucumber
- 1 small red onion
- 2 small carrots
- 1 ½ tbsp granulated sugar
- 3 tsp salt
- 180 ml (¾ cup) cider vinegar
- 360 ml (1 ½ cups) room temperature water
- 4 brioche rolls - toasted and sliced in half
- 8 lettuce leaves - I used O’so Sweet lettuce
- 1 jalapeño - sliced
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- Add the pork belly, chicken stock, ginger, garlic, rice wine, and sugar to a large heavy-based pan. I use a shallow cast iron casserole pan like this <--affiliate link.1 kg (2.2 lbs) rindless pork belly slices, 1 litre (4 ⅓ cups) hot chicken stock, 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, 3 cloves garlic, 1 tbsp rice wine, 1 tbsp caster sugar
- Bring to the boil, then place a lid on, turn down the heat and simmer for 2 hours (Note 2).
- Meanwhile, make the pickled vegetables. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the cucumber into thin strips, right up until you reach the seeds.½ cucumber
- Peel and slice the red onions thinly.1 small red onion
- Peel the carrots, remove the ends and discard. Peel strips from the carrots using the vegetable peeler.2 small carrots
- Place the cucumber and carrot strips into a mason jar.
- Place the red onion slices into a second, smaller jar (they go in a different jar the the colour of the red onion doesn't 'bleed' into the carrots and cucumber).
- Place the sugar, salt, cider vinegar, and water in a jug and mix together. This is your pickling liquid.1 ½ tbsp granulated sugar, 3 tsp salt, 180 ml (¾ cup) cider vinegar, 360 ml (1 ½ cups) room temperature water
- Pour the pickling mixture into the two jars, so they cover the vegetables. Place a lid on each jar and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour (they’ll keep for up to 2-3 weeks).
- When the pork is ready, turn off the heat and drain the pork and pat dry. You can reserve the liquid if you like (perfect for ramen).
- Add the oil to a large frying pan and heat over a medium-high heat.1 tbsp sunflower oil
- Add in the pork to the pan and sprinkle with a good pinch of salt and pepper, then fry, turning a couple of times, until the pork starts to turn golden - about 5-6 minutes.pinch salt and pepper
- While the pork is frying, mix together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl.3 tbsp dark soy sauce, 1 tsp minced ginger, 1 red chilli, 2 tbsp honey, 1 tsp lemongrass paste, 2 tbsp brown sugar
- Once the pork is golden, you can carefully spoon any excess fat out of the pan
- Now pour the glaze over the pork and continue to cook until the pork looks dark and sticky. Remove from the heat.
- Now it’s time to assemble. Open the brioche buns and place lettuce leaves on the bottom. Add the pork belly slices – 2 or 3 per burger.4 brioche rolls, 8 lettuce leaves
- Top with a few strips of drained, pickled carrot, cucumber slices and red onion slices, then sprinkle on a few jalapeños, and chilli flakes. Place the tops on the buns and serve.1 jalapeño, ½ tsp chilli flakes
I’d recommend freezing after the slow cooking stage, but before the frying stage. Allow to defrost fully before frying, then adding the sauce. This means it should only take 15-20 minutes to make once defrosted. Can I make it gluten free? Yes, replace the rice wine with sherry (usually gluten free, but best to check), replace the stock with a gluten free stock, and replace the soy sauce with tamari. Still tastes delicious! I’ve served this up for 6 people (one gluten-intolerant), and everyone loved it. How to scale this recipe up or down You can double or halve the recipe, sticking to the same ingredient ratios and cooking time.
If doubling, you'll probably need to do the frying stage in two batches, but you can do the slow-cooking stage and the sticky sauce stage in one very large pan. Nutritional Information is per burger (yep, it's a calorific one!!)
This post was first published din March 2018. Updated in February 2022 with additional information, a recipe video and some housekeeping.
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