Growing up, my family are Char Siu all the time. Funny part is I had no idea what it was called until just a few months ago, I didn’t know its proper name… Our family never looked at the package of powdered marinade that my mom would buy from the Asian grocery store… we simply called it “Pink stuff”. Chicken with pink stuff, pork with pink stuff… Sounds kinda dirty when I look back on it.
More recently in my culinary journey, I’ve been experimenting with this delicious pink powder. I’ve added extra saly/soy sauce and honey… mixed it with water to make a brine. I brined a pork butt overnight before roasting or cooking sous vide.
This weekend, I created my best version of Char Siu Pork. I thought to myself I really like the sweet/salty flavor of this marinade… but what does the “Real” stuff taste like? At the same time, I looked at how western cultures treat a pork butt. Immediately smoke came to mind. Low and slow. So, I combine the two.
I started with a Momofuku recipe for Char Siu, as I do with most recipes I added a few things… Here’s my adjusted Momofuku Recipe.
Char Siu Marinade:
20g Light Soy Sauce.
50g Dark Soy Sauce.
50g Hoisin Sauce.
4g Five Spice Powder.
1g Star Anise.
1g Sechwan Peppercorn.
1g Fennel Seed.
Toast and grind fresh.
20g Fresh Garlic.
20g Sambal Sauce.
20g Rice Wine Vinegar.
35g Red Miso Paste.
20g Green Onion, chopped.
I’ve provided Amazon links for some of the ethnic ingredients… But I was able to procure all of the ingredients from the Asian isle of my local grocery store. If you want that classic red color seen hanging in windows of Chinese restaurants, look for fermented red bean paste (instead of the red miso) andor add some red food coloring. I opted to omit the food coloring.
Everything got thrown into a ziplock with the pork butt. It sat in the fridge for about a day and a half.
Enter Texas… Low and slow with smoke.
I chose a 50/50 mix of Pecan and Cherry wood to smoke the pork over. I light a fire and kicked back with some St. Arnolds Craft Beer, Daniel Boulud’s Letters to a Young Chef, and a lot of patience…
About an hour and a half in…
I also made a Vietnamese dipping sauce for the pork.
Nuoc Cham (Alvin Style):
5 cloves of garlic, peeled.
4 Thai Chilies, stemmed.
1 Three finger pinch of salt.
Grind Cloves, Chilis, and Salt in mortar and pestal
2 tblspn Honey.
1 cup of water.
Microwave together for 1 minute.
2 tspn Fish Sauce.
1 Medium Carrot, 1/8″ Bruniose.
3 Green Onions, chopped fine.
Mix all ingredients and reserve until service.
I also reduced the left over marinade from the pork to a thick sauce (honey consistency).
Back to the pork… This was the highly sophisticated BBQ timer I used:)
After about 6 hours over indirect heat, I started to brush the reduced marinade over the pork. After another hour it was looking pretty good!
I served this a few ways…Lettuce wraps, rice paper wraps, and scarfed it down with my fingers! The marinade was transformed into a sweet/salty/spicy bark, the smoke had penetrated lightly, flavoring the meat from the inside, and the dipping sauce added another level of heat/sweet/salty (distinctly different from the flavor combo in the marinade/bark) “Texas Style Char Siu Pork Butt” was a raging success!
No fancy plating pics here, just raw graphic food porn. You should note that this isn’t really food that wants to be plated in my opinon… It’s stand in the kitchen and lean over the sink food, perhaps buffet line for a family gathering food. Now go make it, it’s a great way to spend a day by the pool/grill!