I decided to buy spare ribs instead of the normal baby back ribs I usually smoke. One of the reasons is that I planned on trimming them St Louis Style and then using the off cuts to make Char Siu riblets.
Refine nothing! I found the recipe I'll use from now on, thanks to Jessica Gavin on her Test Kitchen site. While I substituted some of the ingredients I didn't have (Sherry for the Mirin Wine and a bit of sesame oil in the marinade instead of Sesame Paste or Tahini) and a different cut of meat, this recipe turned out sticky, savory and sweet and as good as I have had in any restaurant. I have reproduced the recipe below, but I'd encourage you to follow the link above or below, read her tips and definitions and give her a thumbs up.
CHAR SIU RECIPE
(CHINESE BARBEQUE PORK)
Traditional Cantonese style barbeque pork recipe (Char siu). Roasted to perfection with savory and sweet Chinese spices and flavors.
Cook time: 50 mins
Total time: 1 hour 50 mins
- 1 ½ pounds pork loin or shoulder (trimmed weight)
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons mirin wine (Aji-Mirin sweet cooking rice seasoning)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- ¼ cup dry sherry (Shaoxing or sake if sherry not available)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame paste (Tahini may be substituted)
- 1 tablespoons black bean paste (or black bean and garlic sauce)
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon five-spice powder
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
1. Use off cuts from the spare ribs or trim fat and silver skin from your chosen meat and cut into 2 X 2 X 10 inch strips.
2. Combine all marinade ingredients; mix well. Add pork and toss to cover with the marinade. Cover and set a room temperature for at least 1 hour or refrigerate 3 hours, or overnight. Either use a ziploc bag or turn every 30 minutes or so.
4. Turn oven to 450°F. Mix the honey and mirin. Brush the strips of pork with the honey mixture, then sesame oil. Roast 5 minutes, then turn the strips over, brush the other side of the meat. Roast additional 5 minutes.
5. The meat should be cooked until an internal temperature of at least 135-140°F is reached.
6. Serve the char siu with your favorite vegetables and white rice.