Southern Pork Ramen Broth

A photo of a stock pot full of stock.

I volunteered to make “meat and a lot of it” for the annual Savannah-Chatham Citizen Advocacy Covered Dish Supper, and decided I’d try my hand at smothered pork chops. My plan was to make pork stock, make gravy from it, then sous vide the pork chops (all 35 pounds of them), so I could do most of the prep the weekend before and then just throw it all together. It mostly worked. I could never get the gravy to thicken, I think because of all the fat in it. But, the stock was delicious and I should have just taken it and a bunch of spoons (the pork chops were delicious – sous vide and pork go really well together).

I used a 2 gallon stock pot, so scale this appropriately for the amount of liquid you’re going to use!

So, I’ll skip the gravy part that didn’t work, and instead just share my bonkers “Southern Ramen Broth a la Momofuku” recipe with you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound sliced pork belly
  • 1 pound jowl bacon (or bacon if you can’t find jowl bacon – something that’s lightly cured and not full of artificial flavor)
  • 2-3 pounds of country ribs (or shank or shoulder).
  • 3 giant onions (or 3lbs however you want to get there), quartered
  • 3 giant carrots (or 1lb)
  • 6 celery stalks
  • 1 bunch of green onions, with the root end taken off
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, smashed
  • Some thyme and rosemary
  • A quarter cup of soy sauce
  • A quarter cup of Worchestire Sauce
  • A bunch of salt (a couple tablespoons probably)
  • A quarter-cup-ish of black peppercorns, just leave ’em whole
  • I also threw in some onions I’d tried caramelizing in my pressure cooker. So, if you have 3 more giant onions and some time, throw ’em in your slow cooker on high for 2 hours and then throw them in the pot too.

And to assemble all this mess:

  • Put your biggest stock pot on the stove on medium heat.
  • Throw in the bacon and pork belly and let it render down some.
  • When it smells amazing, throw in the country ribs and onions, carrots and celery. Mix ’em up until you can smell the onions.
  • Throw in the salt and peppercorns and stir around a little.
  • Pour as much water as will fit in the stock pot.
  • Throw in the soy sauce and worchestire sauce and the herbs and stir a little.
  • Keep it on medium until it starts to bubble along gently, then turn the heat down to medium low.
  • Check on it every 30-45 minutes and give it a stir. There’s no need to skim it. This is ramen broth. It’s supposed to be ugly.
  • Let it bubble away for for 4-6 hours depending on your patience.
  • Taste and add salt or black pepper if it needs it.

After it’s reduced by about a quarter, you can take it off the heat, let it cool for 20-30 minutes, strain it, and then cover and refrigerate for 24 hours (you could eat it right away if you want). I like letting it get all solid and then taking a half to 2/3 of the fat off the top, and reheating just what I need.

If I was going to turn this into a bowl of ramen, I’d make some ramen noodles, a pork chop or two, caramelize some Vidalia onions, get some shredded carrots and thinly sliced green onions in a bowl and then pour the broth over the top.

Another idea would be to get some fresh shrimp, put them in the bowl raw and then pour piping hot broth over the top, which should cook the shrimp (like the beef in pho).

You probably can’t go wrong no matter what you add to it. The broth, especially if you let it go the full 6 hours, can stand up to anything you throw at it.

Leftovers Accomplished: Turkey Ramen

A finished bowl of turkey ramen

What do you do with your turkey carcass after Thanksgiving? My mom suggested making stock, so that’s what we did! And then I realized that we could turn that stock into ramen broth with just a few more ingredients and with the crock pot, we could do it with a lot less effort than it took to make Momofuku ramen broth (which my son and I took 12 hours to do one day – it was delicious, but a lot of work).

So, here’s my turkey ramen recipe, which turned out way better than I expected and was slurped up in minutes by my family.

  1. We took the turkey carcass, with some leftover meat on it, legs and wings (which no one in my family likes), tore it up and stuffed it disrespectfully into my 6 quart crock pot, then covered it with water. We’d smoked the turkey, so you may get different results if your turkey was roasted, but it’ll still be good.
  2. Crock pot it on low for 18 hours (really).
  3. Strain out the broth. I used a metal colander because I don’t have one of those fancy soup colander things. I just wanted to make sure I caught any bones and big chunks. The great thing about ramen broth is that you don’t have to be as diligent about skimming off fat as you would with a classical stock.
  4. After straining it out, I put the broth back in the crock pot with two packages of mushrooms (one shiitake, one baby bella), a chunk of jowl bacon and two ham hocks and let it go for another 18 hours. You could use bacon ends, a ham bone, just something porky to give it some extra punch. I also added some more water to get it back up to almost the top (I left about an inch between the broth and the top).
  5. With about four hours to go, I added 2-3 tablespoons of soy sauce. It probably doesn’t matter too much when you add this.
  6. I didn’t have any ramen noodles, so I made pad thai noodles, which worked fine.
  7. Plating is pretty easy. In each bowl, I put:
    • 1 poached egg (I poached them in a sauce pan full of water and put the eggs in biscuit cutters to keep them together)
    • Chopped green onions
    • Grated carrots
    • Some chopped up leftover turkey
    • Finely chopped roasted unsalted peanuts.

That’s pretty much it! The broth came out full of strong flavors, which matched well with the light flavors in the bowl.

I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the 12 hour process. This worked really well and should be super flexible.

The only thing I might do differently is to actually make the tare instead of just dumping in soy sauce, since it’s easy to make and super versatile. If I were starting from scratch and had it handy, I might also start with the konbu broth and then pour that over whatever poultry I started with in the crock pot.

If you come up with interesting twists on it, let me know what you do!