Sunday, October 5, 2008

Char Siu Pork

As I have said before, I am a big fan of America's Test Kitchen and the recipes they come out with. Not only are many of them designed to be relatively easy for the home cook, but I always like reading about just how the recipes were conceptualized, developed and tested. I'm pretty sure there's no recipe that I have made from them that hasn't come out excellently.

To that end, their recipe for char siu pork (aka Chinese BBQ pork) is one of the most unreal things I've ever eaten. Sweet, spicy and tender, it's everything you'd expect when you order from the Chinese food restaurant, only 20x better. I'm not concerned about copyright stuff - here's the recipe:

4 lb boneless pork shoulder roast
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c soy sauce
6 tbsp hoisin sauce
1/4 c dry sherry
1/4 ground white pepper
1 tsp five-spice powder
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c ketchup
1/3 c honey

Cut your pork shoulder in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 4 strips. Trim away the hard fat, but leave a little to render when you're cooking. Poke each strip with a fork 10 times per side then put in a Zip-Loc. In a bowl, mix everything except the ketchup and honey together until smooth. Take 1/2 c of the sauce and put into the Zip-Loc, then seal it up and throw it in the fridge for 2 hours or so. Put the rest of the sauce into a saucepan, add the ketchup and honey, and simmer until reduced and thick, and glazelike.

Preheat your oven to 300. Foil a baking sheet, put a rack on the sheet, then place the marinated pork on the rack. Add 1/4 c water to the bottom of the baking sheet, and cover the whole thing tightly with foil. Put in the oven for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 45 minutes. Take the pork out of the oven, turn on the broiler. Broil the pork 7-8 minutes until crispy, then brush with the glaze. Put it back under the broiler for 3-4 minutes, until the glaze turns deep brown (BE CAREFUL. You do not want this stuff to burn). Flip the pork and repeat the process on the other side.

Let it rest 10 minutes, then slice and serve with rice and stirfried veggies. This is also a great recipe because I can make a TON of the stuff on Sunday and have enough leftovers to be able to bring for lunch for Monday and Tuesday. That's what my application of bento is all about - lunch-size portions of meals I made the night before. It's efficient and it's economical and it's somewhat healthy.