My dad made the best homemade char siu. That’s Chinese-style bbq pork. It usually has a sweet red glaze and lovely black scorch marks from the oven or grill. You can find bbq pork in bulk at family-owned Chinese hot-foods outlets.
Where can you find char siu in slab-form?
|Photo Credit: Creative Commons Chinese Hot Foods Shop|
You’ll be able to identify such places by the hanging roast ducks and rack of ribs in the windows. If you don’t speak Chinese or can’t read Chinese writing, don’t worry. The prices are handwritten on tags at the shop and all you have to do is point at what you’d like to purchase. Tell them SmartyGirlRenee sent you.
|Photo Credit: Creative Commons Char Siu Bao|
Is this a seasonal food item? No, it’s available year-round in Chinese plazas. However, my childhood memories associate char siu with cold weather.
Do you need a commercial grill or restaurant-style oven? Nope. In the winter, Dad Peter, would prepare char siu in the oven in a glass baking dish. It was so good that it could be served plain with steamed jasmine rice and that would be a sumptuous meal. How I miss Dad! He was also the best lotus root soup maker I know. More on that in future posts.
What if my family can’t agree on the seasonings? I have one roast pork recipe that is so versatile and cost-effective that you can feed two people for nine meals from eight pounds of pork shoulder blade.
Where can I find the traditional char siu glaze? This pork without the bbq glaze can be transformed into pulled pork with Mexican seasonings, paired with carmelized onions or stuffed into bread. Unfortunately, my dad’s recipe left with him to heaven. This means I can only guess, this side of heaven how he made perfect char siu. You can buy pre-made char siu glaze in glass jars at Asian markets or the ethnic aisle of some mainstream grocery stores.
|Photo Credit: Creative Commons Pulled Pork|
8 pounds pork shoulder
1 oven-safe roasting bag
1 rectangular baking pan 2″ deep
3 TB minced onions
1 TB seasoning salt
2 TB bread flour
4 cups cooked brown rice (optional)
Step 1: Unwrap pork from its foam tray and plastic. Place the meat in the oven bag with the flour. Season the meat with salt, apple and onions. Tie the bag or use the oven-safe twist tie and pierce a small hole in the plastic to allow steam to escape. Wash your hands with warm water and soap.
Step 2: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the filled oven-bag onto the rectangular pan for easy removal from the oven later. Bake for 3-4 hours.
|Photo Credit: Creative Commons Pork Roast|
Step 3. Test to see if the pork is cooked through with a meat thermometer. You can also tell that it is done when the meat falls off the blade bone easily when you prod the roast with a fork.
Step 4: Lift the cooked roast onto a non-slip cutting board on top of a cookie sheet. The sheet with catch the drips. Shred or slice when cool.
Step 5: Freeze the meat in zip-top bags for later use. Use the cooked brown rice to soak up the wonderful drippings. This takes brown rice from bland to scrumptious. Package and refrigerate the rice properly for later use.
|Photo Credit: Creative Commons Baked Apples|
Note: The roasted apple will melt into a rich apple butter adding natural sweetness to the sauce.
Contact me when you make your first batch or make your first visit to a Chinese hot-foods shop. I’d like to post your story.