Char Siu

May 16: National Barbecue Day

Many people think that barbecues involve a grill. This recipe for char siu involves an oven.

Char siu, Chinese-style barbecue pork, is one of Islander’s comfort foods. After church on some Sundays, her family would go to Chinatown in Honolulu and buy a piece of red pork meat hanging by the Peking ducks in the windows of Asian grocery stores. Sunday dinner was simple: char siu, sticky white rice and a vegetable side dish (see Notes). Char siu is also chopped up as a filling in manapua (Hawaiian word for char siu bao—Chinese buns) or sliced as a garnish for saimin and fried egg noodles.

While it may be simple to buy it ready-made at the store, it is quite easy to make char siu at home. Meat is marinated in an auspiciously red sauce (which freaked out Highlander the first time he saw it in our refrigerator looking like something from a horror movie/insane asylum). It is then baked in the oven (which makes this seem more of a roast than a barbecue). Islander especially loves the char in char siu—the blackened parts of the juicy pork from being caramelized!

Try this baked BBQ recipe for Chinese barbecue pork as something different on National Barbecue Day. Char siu is also appropriate throughout National Barbecue Month in May.

Recipe

(Adapted from Foodland and Serious Eats)

Ingredients

  • 3-5 pound pork (loin, shoulder, ribs, butt or belly)
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sherry or rice cooking wine
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
  • few drops of red food coloring (optional)

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the hoisin sauce, honey, soy sauce and sherry or rice cooking wine.

Stir in the sesame oil, Chinese five spice powder and red food coloring. Mix well. Cut up the pork and place in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for a few hours (overnight is best).

Remove pork from the marinade and let the sauce drip back in the bowl. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet (easier for cleanup). Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for around 45 minutes or until the pork is cooked through (adjust cooking time for different pork parts). Remove from the oven and let the pork rest for a few minutes. Slice and serve.

Notes

 

Kalbi (Korean BBQ Shortribs)

Kalbi

August 7: National Barbecue Day

Kalbi is king when it comes to Islander’s favorite Korean barbecue short ribs! Her Daddy would make his own marinade and cook kalbi on a little, portable charcoal hibachi in the backyard or at the beach for the family (he has a big gas grill now at home). He often helps party hosts barbecue short ribs as well, which are included in the menu of a generous spread at friends’ local-style gatherings held in their garages and carports. Islander also orders kalbi at Korean and Hawaiian barbecue or grill types of restaurants (Yummy Korean BBQ, Loco Moco, L&L Drive-Inn, etc.) for quick cheap eats. She even admits to using a bottled sauce and packaged seasoning mix (Noh of Hawaii brand) whenever she and Highlander would barbecue kalbi at home on the mainland. But now she has gone back to her childhood basics and sought the traditional tastes from the marinade her Daddy used on his barbecue short ribs.  With minor tweaks to sweeten the sauce, our kalbi can be considered as a crown contender among common burgers and hot dogs when commemorating National Barbecue Day!

Recipe

(Inspired by Daddy)

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds flanken beef short ribs, about ½ inch thick
  • ¼ cup soy sauce (we used Aloha Shoyu brand)
  • ¾ cup lemon-lime soda (we used 7-Up)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1-inch piece ginger, crushed or grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 5 green onion stalks, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Directions

Rinse the meat and pat dry with paper towels. Lightly score the meat with a sharp knife.  Make the marinade by mixing in a large bowl the soy sauce, lemon-lime soda, honey, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, green onions, black pepper and sesame seeds.

Kalbi

Dip the meat in the marinade, coating well. Cover and refrigerate at least overnight. Barbecue the meat to desired wellness, at least five minutes per side. Baste with marinade frequently. Serve on a platter atop shredded leafy greens. Sprinkle with extra chopped green onions or sesame seeds as a garnish.

Kalbi

Notes

  • We marinate our meat for 2-3 days to get the most flavor from the sauce.
  • Although the words “barbecuing” and “grilling” have been used interchangeably, technically the former cooking technique is a slower method with lower heat whereas the latter is quicker with higher heat. Click here for a more detailed description of “barbecuing” vs. “grilling.”
  • National Barbecue Day is observed by Americans on July 4 and by Canadians on August 7. Since we already posted barbecue recipes on the U.S. Independence Day, we are featuring kalbi on the Canada BBQ date. Highlander is Canadian and Islander is American.