August 18, 2009
Char Siu is simply a Chinese Roasted Pork but it is not used as a main dish but as part of something bigger like Fried Rice or Egg rolls, that being the case it is meant to have a strong flavor, stronger than you would normally want for a whole main dish but as an ingredient it is perfect with an intense flavor that shines through. The problem with Char Siu it creates a big mess when you cook it on a rack and even if you use foil and water under the rack it still is a big mess. I suspect there are special adapters in China to allow for this and I came up with one that works and it is very simple to impliment and worth the effort, it will take you less time to make the mechanism to roast the pork than one clean up.
Char Siu Skewers
I just got tired of all the clean up and had to come up with something better. Unfortunately I can't actually show you them in action but will when I can because it is 90+ today and I am not going to use the oven. However I have posted some recipes that use Char Siu and it leaves you a bit hanging when I don't explain how to make it. The skewers are so simple. They are just the same width as your oven rack, consisting of a thin piece of metal that slots into the same grove as the oven rack, thin enough so it will pierce the meat and allow you to slide several pieces on each skewer. Just go to your hardware store and they will fix you up, I got mine at Home Depot and just used a hack saw and cut them to length, took about 5 minutes total. The metal rods will be shipped with a lot of machine oil on them, this is not a mistake, it keeps them from rusting. Clean all of this off, it could take 1/2 and hour to get it all off, then I use a scrub pad to make them shinny, coat them with vegatable or peanut oil like you would any cast iron cookware. After each usage, make sure you coat them with a good amount of oil. One thing to consider is when you load these up they will loose a little length in the bow of the piece, add 1/8 or so, I learned this the hard way mine are a little tricky to get to stay and they make a mess when they fall down.
All the recipes I have seen use either Pork Chops or Pork Tenderloin. The Master chef class used Pork Chops which seemed dry and rather tasteless to me. I use the Pork tenderloin. You use which ever you wish. The tenderloin generally comes packaged with two appx. 1 lb halves, which is just fine for our purpose, I make it and use it until it is gone not even sure how many dishes it makes, but I can usually tell when I have one or two left.
2 lbs of Tenderloin or Pork Chops which ever you like. The tenderloin is easy to cut long thin slices length wise, make them pretty thin but if they vary a bit it won't hurt a thing.
1/4 cup of alcohol, what ever you have, I use Brandy because I generally have it on hand, but you can use Jack Daniels if you have it or wine or whatever, the alcohol breaks down the proteins in the meat and tenderizes it.
¼ cup sugar, I like using brown sugar but white will work equally as well
2 TBSP Hoisin Sauce
½ to one tsp of Red Food coloring, if you don’t have it that is fine it doesn’t do a thing for the flavor it just looks better and more like what you get in a Chinese Restaurant, I always like the look of the red but it is quite optional.
Mix well and add to meat or add meat to marinate in a bowl ensure that each piece of meat is covered with marinate, cover somehow and marinate in fridge for roughly 3 hours
Take out the remaining racks and preheat oven to 450 F
Slide sliced meat onto the skewers as close to one end of the meat as possible. Retain marinate you may need it to baste if the meat gets dry looking during cooking.
Slide skewers on the slots for the top rack
Check at about 7 minutes if they need a little basting, do so with a silicon brush and the retained marinate.
Cook another 8 minutes or so, this isn’t exact, you may want to take them out if they start to turn black which they will if over cooked, although a little of this won’t hurt much.
Use for all recipes requiring Chinese Roasted Pork, it will have an authentic Chinese flavor in Fried Rice and Egg rolls, which is what I primarily use it for.
This recipe makes a lot of Char Siu, the recipe is easily halved if you don't think you will use it all timely enough. But on the other hand it is a lot of work and still some clean up although a ton better than using a rack, I have never frozen any, but I assume that wouldn't be a problem.