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Curing Lop Yuk (Chinese Bacon)


Chris Amirault
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Curing Lop Yuk (Chinese Bacon)

Lop yuk or Chinese bacon is a fantastic ingredient in a number of Chinese dishes, most notably Naw Mai Fon or Chinese sticky rice (Click here for Russell Wong's great recipe). It's also great simply sautéed in scrambled eggs. To see a few photos, click here. To participate in a topic devoted to curing lop yuk, click here.

To prepare lop yuk you'll be doing some dry curing, which requires a few special things. First, you'll need dry curing salts a.k.a. DC or DQ #2; I get mine from Butcher Packer in Detroit MI. You'll also need a dry (under 50% humidity) and cool (under 60F) place to hang the lop yuk to cure -- on a porch, covered by cheesecloth, if your weather is perfect! -- and a little fan for air circulation is a good idea. Finally, plan for about ten to twelve days of curing, start to finish.

One final note. Multiple batches of lop yuk testify to the fact that using a quality shaoxing wine in this recipe makes a significant difference. Most decent Chinese markets should have non-salted shaoxing available for about $7-10. If you cannot find such shaoxing, then cooking (that is to say, salted) shaoxing can be used, but you should cut down on the added salt.

Thanks to Ben Hong, jmolinari, Michael Ruhlman, and the folks at the Chinese American Market, on Park Ave in Cranston, RI, for their help in developing this recipe.

  • 1-1/2 kg pork belly (about three pounds)
  • 3 g DC #2 dry curing salt
  • 10 g kosher salt
  • 20 g sugar
  • 60 g dark soy
  • 60 g (light) soy
  • 60 g shaoxing or sherry

1. Cut the pork belly into strips that are 2" wide and as long as the belly. You should not remove the skin. Strive for strips that are of consistent thickness, if possible.

2. Combine the dry and then the wet ingredients and mix well. (If you are using cooking -- that is to say, salted -- shaoxing, do not include the kosher salt.)

3. Place the pork belly strips in a large ziploc bag and add the marinade, mixing well. Marinate the pork for a day or two, moving the strips around occasionally to distribute the marinade.

Remove the pork from the marinade and dry the strips with paper towels. Tie a 10-12" piece of kitchen twine at the top of each strip, and then tie the twine to your drying line. Hang the strips in your cool (60F or lower) and dry (50% humidity or less) area for seven to ten days. If the temperature or humidity rises a bit for a day or so, that should have no lasting effect. However, several days significantly over 50% humidity will slow things down quite a bit, and several days significantly over 60F temperature will be dangerous.

When the strips are fully cured, they'll have lost that squishly feeling even at their fattest points and will feel firm but not utterly inflexible. You're going for the density of a good, firm salami: there should be a little give throughout the piece when you squeeze it, but anything even remotely mushy in the interior isn't ready yet.

Once they are fully cured, you can store them in a cool, dry place (they'll drip lard if it gets too warm, by the way) or in the fridge or freezer for a good long while.

Keywords: Intermediate, Pork, Chinese

( RG1652 )

Chris Amirault

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