Braised Pork with Soy Sauce

Braised pork with soy sauce makes a brilliant addition to so many dishes—ramen, sandwiches, atop rice. You’ll have to try them all.

A patterned bowl with slices of braised pork with soy sauce on a red tray.

Ramen joints in Japan serve noodles with slices of pork braised in soy sauce and sugar, known as nibuta. When my daughters were younger, they begged me to cook this dish. Listening to a pot of pork simmering over low heat is a great way to enjoy a rainy day. Thin slices of braised pork taste superb atop warm rice and are also good in a sandwich. Actually, the flavor of the pork shoulder improves as it sits, so this is a good dish to make in advance. For extra pretty results, you can roll the pork shoulder and truss it with twine before adding it to the pot. The slices will be very even and attractive.–Rika Yukimasa

What is the best pork for braising?

This recipe calls for pork shoulder and rightly so. Braising pork is an easy way to get a lot of delicious flavor without a lot of hands-on work. The best cut of pork for braising is called a pork butt or a Boston butt. Some grocery stores often label this as a pork shoulder. Boston butt comes from high on the hog, above the shoulder blade. It has lots of juicy, marbled fat, which lends itself well to juicy, slow-cooked meat. Braised pork is a beautiful thing.

Braised Pork with Soy Sauce

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 15 M
  • 3 H, 15 M
  • Serves 6 to 8
1/5 - 1 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Rika’s Modern Japanese Home Cooking cookbook

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In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, combine the water, sake, soy sauce, sugar, mirin, honey, and ginger. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then add the pork to the pot.

When the liquid in the pot starts to boil, lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and braise for 2 hours.

Turn off the heat and let the meat cool in the liquid for at least 1 hour.

Remove the meat from the liquid and slice it. Place the slices on a large plate. Serve the remaining braising liquid on the side. 

Tester tip: Refrigerate the cooked and cooled pork overnight before slicing if you want to get perfect slices.
Print RecipeBuy the Rika’s Modern Japanese Home Cooking cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This recipe may cause your ramen consumption to go up. Whether that's a good or bad thing is debatable. Adding slices of this braised pork with soy sauce will level up your ordinary packaged ramen, getting you a little closer to the restaurant experience. This is one of those recipes where the outcome to effort ratio is so high there's no reason to not try it out.

The hardest part was waiting the 2 hours for the pork to braise, but the house will fill with an amazing aroma to compensate. While some of the ingredients may not be something you normally have in your pantry, it is worth investing to get them as you will find yourself wanting to make it again.

Braising is my favorite kind of cooking, and this dish didn't disappoint. This braised pork with soy sauce was meltingly tender, and I loved the sweet and salty interplay of the flavors. It did taste even better the following days (which is true of so many braised dishes and one of the reasons I love them), and I didn't get tired of it, especially since it was easy to think of new sides and flavors to pair it with.

We had it the first night with rice and some of the braising liquid (not much, because it was salty - I used regular sodium soy sauce) and some sautéed bok choy. The next night, we paired it with egg noodles and wilted spinach, and the following day, I really enjoyed the pork thin-sliced as a sandwich filling.

The only change I'd make next time is to use more ginger. Otherwise, I thought this was a winning recipe, and while of course you have to let the pork cook for a few hours, it was incredibly fast and easy to prepare. I can imagine trying this in an Instant Pot as well. Very versatile recipe, and I'll definitely be making this again soon.


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  1. 1 star
    This recipe was just okay. Combining 6 cups of water with the rest of the braising ingredients creates a very timid braise. I’m not sure how I would adjust this to create something more interesting. I wouldn’t make it again.

    1. We’re sorry to hear that this wasn’t to your liking, Peter. For more flavor, you could try substituting low-sodium broth for the water.

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