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Authentic Moo Dad Deaw Recipe (Thai Pork Jerky)

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Aerial view of moo dad daew, Thai pork jerky, with nam jim jaew dipping sauce, sticky rice, and a wooden mortar and pestle on banana leaves.

This authentic moo dad deaw recipe makes the best Thai pork jerky, a popular street food snack from the Isan region. Deep-fried or grilled to crispy perfection, it’s the kind of treat I could savor every day.

Close-up of Thai pork jerky with a chili dipping sauce.

What is moo dad deaw

Moo dad deaw is a traditional Thai pork jerky that originated in the kitchens of Northeastern Thailand. The pork is first marinated in a savory and sweet sauce, a blend of soy sauce, sugar, and others, before it gets sun-dried for at least a day. Once dried, the pork strips are then either deep-fried or grilled to achieve a soft and juicy texture.

5 reasons to try this recipe

  • Perfect for meal prep: After making it, pork jerky can be stored in the fridge for several days, or even for months in the freezer.
  • Quick and easy: You don’t have to be a Thai food chef to whip up this recipe. It’s easy-to-make, plus the dipping sauce comes together in minutes!
  • Kid-friendly: The sweet pork is a hit with Thai children. My little niece and nephew love to munch on it while they’re glued to their phone.
  • Versatile: Jerkey can be served as a flavor appetizer, as a protein-packed snack, as a side-dish, at a backyard BBQ, or on its own with rice. Plus, you can choose to either grill or deep-fry it.
  • Low-cost: High in flavor but low in cost. A little pork goes a long way. My grandparents taught me to eat a small amount of meat with a large amount of sticky rice from a young age
Sun-dried Thai pork jerky with nam jim jaew dipping sauce for grilled meat.

More about Thai pork jerky

Some of my top choices on the street food menus of Bangkok? Thai pork jerky, Thai beef jerky, and moo ping! Seriously, give me meat with a delicious marinade and a smoky BBQ flavor, and I’m all smiles.

Unlike beef jerky that sometimes leans toward the tough and chewy side, this Thai moo dad deaw pork recipe delivers juicy and flavorful meat. The delicious marinade is sweet with rich flavors of palm sugar, fish sauce, and salt.

Thai woman placing pork slices in a blue net to sun dry them.

In Isan, deep-fried sun-dried pork is more than a snack – it’s family time. My family enjoys it with sticky rice, a side of som tum Thai (spicy papaya salad), and a chili dipping sauce. Oh, and my aunt loves to have a cold beer with it!

When it comes to making sun-dried pork jerkey, you’ve got choices: fat or lean meat – deep-fry or grill. Either way, it’s so good, but I’m team grill for that extra smoky BBQ flavor.

Once you’ve marinated and sliced that pork into thin slices, a sunny, rain-free day is your ticket to dehydrating the meat.

Nam jim jaew dipping sauce

If you want to take your pork jerky from delicious to irresistible, pair it with nam jim jaew, a traditional spicy dipping sauce for grilled meat.

Top-down view of nam jim jaew dipping sauce in a glass cup with marinated, grilled pork sliced.

It’s a sauce that’s so good, you’ll want to put it on everything.

You can whip it up in a matter of minutes, with just a handful of simple ingredients such as lime, fish sauce, sugar, chili flakes, and toasted rice powder.

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Overhead view of the recipe ingredients: garlic, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, fish sauce, palm sugar, salt, and pork slices.
  • Pork – The star of this recipe is pork, for the best results choose a cut that’s not too lean like pork shoulder or pork butt, a little fat marbling makes it juicier and more tender.
  • Palm sugar – Palm sugar gives the marinade a caramel-like sweetness that white sugar or brown sugar can’t match.
  • Fish sauce – This staple in Thai cuisine adds umami and a salty flavor.
  • Salt – Enhances the overall flavors.
  • Black peppercorns – Adds a subtle spicy flavor to the marinade.
  • Coriander seeds – Coriander seeds have a slightly citrusy note, and toasting them intensifies the flavor.
  • Cumin seeds – Adds warmth and depth that complements the sweetness.
  • Garlic – For a pungent kick and more aroma.

Cooking instructions

In Thailand, we skip the dehydrator. Instead, we marinate our pork and let it dry out in the sun on a basic meat rack. Simple, but oh-so-delicious!

Tip: If you’re short on sunshine or just want a quicker method, a dehydrator works well too. Simply place the marinated meat strips on the dehydrator trays, making sure they don’t overlap. Set the dehydrator to a meat-appropriate temperature, usually around 145-160°F (63-71°C), and let it work its magic for about 4–8 hours.

  1. Roast the spices

    Close-up of roasted coriander seeds, black peppercorns, and cumin in a wok.

    Roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and black peppercorns for 20 seconds or until fragrant.

  2. Pound the spices

    Close-up of crushed herbs and spices in a granite mortar.

    Pound the roasted spices in a mortar and pestle. Then, add garlic and pound into a fine substance.

  3. Marinate the pork

    Top-down images of a large mixing bowl with a marinade sauce and the other image is showing marinated pork slices.

    Transfer the pounded spice mix to a large mixing bowl. Add palm sugar, fish sauce, and salt and mix into a marinade sauce. Add pork slices and coat thoroughly. Marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

  4. Dehydrate the meat

    Thai woman placing pork slices in a blue net to sun dry them.

    To see if the meat is done drying, touch it lightly. It should feel dry and firm, but not hard. If it’s still a bit soft or wet, let it dry longer in the sun. I let it rest for a full day under the scorching Thai sun. If you prefer dryer meat, you can dehydrate for longer.

  5. Cook the meat

    Top-down images of grilled pork slices on a charcoal grill.

    For deep-frying the meat: Make sure your oil is hot, around 350-375°F (175-190°C), for best results. Generally, it takes about 3 minutes to deep-fry pork jerky until it’s cooked through and golden brown.

    For grilling the meat: Place the meat on the grill with a little space between each piece. Flip the meat occasionally until it has a slightly charred appearance and cooked-through meat.

Kitchen tools

  • Cutting board and chef’s knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Drying rack for meat
  • Large mixing bowl

How to serve muu haeng

Moo dad deaw can be served as a tasty starter, perhaps along with tod mun pla, or a tasty snack. It also makes a great side-dish, or complete meal when paired with Thai sticky rice.

Optional pairings

  • Fresh vegetables: Add an array of fresh vegetables like cucumbers slices, long beans, lettuce, Thai eggplants, or even carrots.
  • Spicy chili sauce: Serve with nam jim jaew, a traditional Thai spicy dip sauce.
  • Spicy salads: In Thailand, sun-dried pork and beef is often paired with a spicy salad like this long bean salad and som tam pla ra.

How to store

The leftovers, plus the sauce leftovers, will last for up to a week in a separate airtight container, just pop them into the fridge.

Freezing instructions: If you make a large batch, you can freeze some for later. Transfer the cooked pork to a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Reheating instructions: Toss it on the grill until warm, or simply reheat in a hot skillet.

Fun facts

  • While less common in the west, sun-drying is an age-old practice in Thailand, especially in the Northeastern Isan region. It was initially a preservation method before the days of refrigeration.
  • Like many Thai recipes, there’s no “one true recipe” for this moo dad deaw. Families have different variations, each with their unique ingredients. This is my authentic family recipe, enjoy!

Frequently asked questions

How long to dehydrate pork jerky?

The dehydration for pork jelly varies depending on the thickness of the pork slices, humidity, and temperature. Generally speaking, sun-drying can take anywhere from 4 to 12 hours. If you’re using a dehydrator, it may take around 5 to 7 hours at 145-155°F (63-68°C).

How to tell if pork jerky is done?

The meat should be firm but still flexible when bent. If it snaps or crumbles, it’s overdone. A well dehydrated piece is tender and juicy.

How to tell if pork jerky is bad?

Your porky has gone bad if it has an off-smell, mold, or a slimy texture. The meat might also be discolored. It’s best to store your pork jerky in an airtight container in the refrigerator, to extend its shelf life.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, this recipe is gluten-free if you use a gluten-free fish sauce.

More Thai pork recipes you’ll love

If you love this authentic moo dad deaw recipe for Thai pork jerky, please leave a star rating and/or a comment below!

Authentic Moo Dad Deaw Recipe (Thai Pork Jerky)

Aerial view of moo dad daew, Thai pork jerky, with nam jim jaew dipping sauce, sticky rice, and a wooden mortar and pestle on banana leaves.
Delicious sun-dried pork, charcoal-grilled to perfection. Serve with rice and a dipping sauce of your choice.
Praew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Serving Size 3 people

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces pork
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds roasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds roasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns roasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 tablespoon palm sugar
  • 1.5 tablespoon fish sauce

Instructions

ROAST THE SPICES

  • Roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and black peppercorns for 20 seconds or until fragrant.

POUND THE SPICES

  • Pound the roasted spices in a mortar and pestle. Then, add garlic and pound into a fine substance.

MARINATE THE PORK

  • Transfer the pounded spice mix to a large mixing bowl. Add palm sugar, fish sauce, and salt and mix into a marinade sauce. Add pork slices and coat thoroughly. Marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

DEHYDRATE THE MEAT

  • To see if the meat is done drying, touch it lightly. It should feel dry and firm, but not hard. If it’s still a bit soft or wet, let it dry longer in the sun. I let it rest for a full day under the scorching Thai sun. If you prefer dryer meat, you can dehydrate for longer.

COOK THE PORK

  • For deep-frying the meat: make sure your oil is hot, around 350-375°F (175-190°C), for best results. Generally, it takes about 3–5 minutes to deep-fry pork jerky until it's cooked through and golden brown.
  • For grilling the meat: place the meat on the grill with a little space between each piece. Flip the meat occasionally until it has a slightly charred appearance and cooked-through meat.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • The leftovers, plus the sauce leftovers, will both last for up to a week in a separate airtight container, just pop them into the fridge.

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