Chinese Barbecued Pork
For a Chinese barbecued pork recipe suited to the home kitchen, we started by slicing a boneless pork butt into strips. Our marinade of soy sauce, sherry, hoisin sauce, five-spice powder, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic introduced traditional Asian flavors, especially after we pricked the meat with a fork to enhance penetration. For optimal browning and intense flavor, we needed a two-heat process—first cooking the meat, covered, at a low temperature to render fat and then cranking up the heat to develop a burnished crust. The classic lacquered appearance was achieved by applying a ketchup-honey glaze right before broiling, which also gave our Chinese barbecued pork recipe its traditional red color.
- 4 pounds boneless pork butt (Boston butt), cut into 8 strips and excess fat removed
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 6 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (from 4- to 6-inch piece)
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup honey
Adapted from cooksillustrated.com
To facilitate cleanup, spray the rack and pan with vegetable oil spray. The pork will release liquid and fat during the cooking process, so be careful when removing the pan from the oven. If you don't have a wire rack that fits in a rimmed baking sheet, substitute a broiler pan, although the meat may not darken as much. Pay close attention to the meat when broiling-you are looking for it to darken and caramelize, not blacken. Do not use a drawer broiler--the heat source will be too close to the meat. Instead, increase the oven temperature in step 5 to 500 degrees and cook for 8 to 12 minutes before glazing and 6 to 8 minutes once the glaze has been applied; flip meat and repeat on second side.
This recipe can be made with boneless country-style ribs, but the meat will be slightly drier and less flavorful. To use ribs, reduce the uncovered cooking time in step 4 to 20 minutes and increase the broiling and glazing times in step 5 by 2 to 3 minutes per side. This dish is best served with rice and a vegetable side dish. Leftover pork makes an excellent addition to fried rice or an Asian noodle soup.
Using a fork, prick pork 10 to 12 times on each side. Place pork in large plastic zipper-lock bag. Combine sugar, soy, hoisin, sherry, pepper, five-spice powder, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic in medium bowl. Measure out 1/2 cup marinade and set aside. Pour remaining marinade into bag with pork. Press out as much air as possible; seal bag. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
While meat marinates, combine ketchup and honey with reserved marinade in small saucepan. Cook glaze over medium heat until syrupy and reduced to 1 cup, 4 to 6 minutes.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set wire rack on sheet.
Remove pork from marinade, letting any excess drip off, and place on wire rack. Pour 1/4 cup water into bottom of pan. Cover pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, crimping edges tightly to seal. Cook pork for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook until edges of pork begin to brown, 40 to 45 minutes.
Turn on broiler. Broil pork until evenly caramelized, 7 to 9 minutes. Remove pan from oven and brush pork with half of glaze; broil until deep mahogany color, 3 to 5 minutes. Using tongs, flip meat and broil until other side caramelizes, 7 to 9 minutes. Brush meat with remaining glaze and continue to broil until second side is deep mahogany, 3 to 5 minutes.
Cool for at least 10 minutes, then cut into thin strips and serve.