Tuesday, 9 July 2013

BBQ Cooking - Week 5: Chinese BBQ pork!

I have been waiting for this week's class since the beginning of the course, and finally, I got to learn how to make Cha Shao (Mandarin), or Char Siu (Cantonese), or you may know it as the Chinese BBQ pork-the China town style! At first I was pretty sceptical about learning how to make a traditional Chinese dish from my Canadian chef. It would be like learning pop culture from your parents. But then I had to bite my tongue really hard after I tried his cha shao, which is the most amazing cha shao that I've ever had in my 20 some-odd years of existence! The key to success lies in the marinade. I have tried to replicate the marinade at home, compared to the chef's gold standard, and I can say this with confidence: if you follow the recipe below, you will get the BEST cha shao ever!

3 lb pork shoulder (or sometimes it's called the pork butt, same thing)

300 mL hoisin sauce
200 mL oyster sauce
100 mL honey
50 mL light soy  sauce
30 mL Chinese cooking wine/brandy
5 g ground cinnamon
5 g ground Sichuan peppercorn
5 g ground star anise
3 cloves of whole garlic
We hang the meat in this industrial oven in class, but you can also cook it in your own oven in a roasting pan. 

1. Mix everything together and marinade the pork overnight

2. Take a deep roasting pan with a rack in it. Add about 1 cm of water to the tray. Put the pork on top of the rack. (I don't have a baking rack, so I just rolled some aluminium foil into rods with a diameter of about 2 cm. I raised my pork above the water using the rods). The water in the pan will create some steam in your oven to tenderize the meat, as well as to collect the drippings from the marinade. The flavourful liquid will eventually become the sauce that you can serve with the meat and rice. 

3. Bake the meat at 300F for 1.5hr, basting the surface of the meat repeatedly every 15min or so. After 1.5 hr, increase the temperature to 450F and bake another 10 min. During the final high-temperature stage, the sugar coated on the pork surface will caramelize and give you a natural red colour (unlike the red food colouring used in many restaurants). 

4. Let the meat rest for a few minutes and slice thinly. 

If you ever try this recipe at home, let me know how it turns out. Really excited to hear about your experience with this recipe! 

Thursday, 4 July 2013

BBQ Cooking - Week 4: it's all about chicken!

Just like last week's fish-themed class, this week's class was all about chicken! The two main courses were: Roasted BBQ Chicken with Sichuan Peppercorn Rub, and Jerk Chicken Legs. During the same week, I also made Tandoori Chicken in my Indian class. So basically, I was eating chicken for a week straight. I was chicken-saturated as much as a brine solution, but thankfully, each chicken dish was good in its own way, and distinct enough from the others.

Roasted BBQ Chicken with Sichuan Peppercorn Rub
Dry rub mix
30 g Sichuan peppercorns
30 g dried orange peel

Stock ale BBQ sauce
300 mL Millstreet stock or Tankhouse ale
750 mL ketchup
100 mL dijon mustard
5 cloves of garlic
1/2 onion, diced
20 g prepared horse radish
50 mL malt vinegar
10 g chili powder
5 g cayenne pepper
salt, pepper, brown sugar to taste

Butterflied whole chickens that look like being hit by a bus

1. Cut the whole chicken into halves from the back side, leave the chest side attached
2. Season the chicken with salt/pepper, and rub its surface with olive oil
3. Use a food processor to grind the Sichuan peppercorns and the dried orange peel. Rub the chicken surface with the Dry rub mix
4. To make the BBQ sauce, heat some oil in a pan and sweat the onion and garlic. Add all the other ingredients, stir and reduce to a desired consistency. 
5. Grill the chicken at medium heat for about 15min until it's 80% done. Then brush the chicken surface with the Ale BBQ sauce. Grill each side for a few minutes while repeatedly basting the chicken with the BBQ sauce. 

BBQ chicken with roasted finger potatoes and grilled veggies
Jerk Chicken Legs
 4 large chicken legs
1 can of coconut milk

2 bunches of green onions, chopped coarsely
1 bunch of picked thyme
1 large piece of ginger, chopped
3 scotch bonnet peppers (with seeds), halved
20 g crushed black peppercorns
30 mL white vinegar
10 g allspice
5 g ground cinnamon
30 mL molasses
water, used in dilute to get the desired consistency

1. Mix everything in the marinade together and purée them in a food processor
2. Take some of the mixture to marinade the chicken, at least for a few hours, and save some of the marinade for basting later.
3. Cook the legs slowly on the grill at low heat, baste them with the uncontaminated marinade repeatedly. 
4. During the last ten minutes, brush the legs with coconut milk

I know they look the same, but this is the Jerk. You will just have to take my word for it.