Chinese Barbecue Pork (Char Siu) Recipe – How to Make Chinese-Style BBQ Pork


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  1. >> Pickled fish based "kê-chiap" was invented in China, and tomato based "catchup" was invented in America in the early 1800s.
    Later, Webster's dictionary of 1913 defined "catchup" as: > "A table sauce made from mushrooms, tomatoes, walnuts, etc. Also written as ketchup." -Wiki

  2. chinese have many types of ketchup but we did not invent tomato ketchup. I think it was either the US or British that made the tomato ketchup after trying other ways to make ketchup. I remember some channel made a video of ketchup origins have to look it up.

  3. This is one awesome video that I really enjoyed watching. I will definintely be trying this recipe. Fortunately for me I have all of the ingredients except the curing salt. I have been wanting to try some Char Siu pork for quite a while now. And so far yours impress me the most.

    I wonder if I can add a little liquid smoke to give it that outside grill taste?

  4. Actually, not all restaurants use red fermented bean curd as we all have different recipes. We used ground bean sauce/paste (brown color with huge umami flavor)with equal parts of Hoisin, that alone is enough to salt the meat. Also, fermented bean curd is sometimes used to flavor, but NOT used to color the meat red, despite all these arm chair quarterbacks in here that have to say about the subject. That is a huge misnomer. If you actually cooked pork over a wood charcoal fire (traditional method of Cantonese cooking), the meat will turn naturally reddish. It doesn't matter what red or white meats you cook over a charcoal fire, whether it is pork, brisket, chicken, or steaks it will turn red and has that smoke ring. Remember, if you want authentic, avoid using briquettes, as it is American made (invented by Henry Ford and Kingsford). Briquettes does impart a distinct flavor and smell that is NOT good for Char Siu.
    Most modern Chinese restaurants now depend on offset gas and water cooking to make Char Siu to not necessarily speed up the process, but for convenience to avoid bags of charcoal that takes up valuable space in a restaurant and to avoid making smoke (the smoke ring will be severely diminished or gone altogether)but must rely on the red food coloring to color the meat. What little smoke ring that exists is caused by any sauce or meat juices being splashed and being burnt from any metal contact during the cooking process. The red food coloring just enhances the look to entice people to buy. That is part of the mystique of Chinese BBQ sellers when they hang the meat behind the window, as it will usually sells itself.
    Maltose syrup is generally used to coat and sweeten the meat as a finishing coat to give it a shellac look as well to help offset the other two salty ingredients: Hoisin and ground bean sauce. Honey can be substituted in a pinch. We used straight white sugar instead of John's brown sugar at twice the weight of hoisin and ground bean paste as our main sweet ingredient. 12 hours minimum to marinade the pork shoulder, 24 hours of marination is not unheard of either, 4-6 hours marination time is nonsense, not enough time to let the marinade penetrate the thick cuts of pork butt/shoulder. Typically we made about 100lbs batches of Char Siu a couple of times per week. For that amount, we typically used about 2-3 cups of red food coloring for that enticing look. We actually used ground bean sauce for beef and pork flavored dishes, that most people don't know to how to use. Ground bean sauce is actually an industrialized ingredient best suited for restaurant use.
    For home cooking, we use dried fermented black beans as a main flavoring component for beef based dishes, a little goes a long way. About 10-15 beans quickly re-hydrated in a bit of water and mashed with a fork before using it as a ingredient for a umami bomb. The flavor is deep and musty but in a good way. Like a concentrated dried mushroom flavor, but much more intense. Char means "fork". Siu means "burnt". Literal translation is burnt fork. But as you see, it is skewered by roasting spits, so it is not far from the truth. The nooks and crannys of the fatty pork butt really lends itself to have that nice char, or in your case: "burnt ends", for that concentration of flavor. Fat means flavor and it provides juicy results, so if you are on a diet… either avoid or eat smaller amounts. If you trim all the pork fat away, it will be tough, very dry and chewy.
    Funny enough "Ketchup"… yes it a Chinese word. "Ke" means eggplant, but if you put "Faan" in front of it, it means tomato. So, put it together: "Faan Ke" is tomato. "Chup" is sauce. The Ketchup that we know and use everyday is the Chinese word, but the sauce is far away from what we use, that is a white people invention. Cantonese sauces are usually based on more natural flavors and more simple and light tasting. It is not heavy as in Americanized Chinese (Cantonese immigrant based food) food, but we cater to what Americans want: sweet, salty and sometimes fried with lots of sauce. Sound familiar?
    We actually use the #10 can of American Heinz ketchup to make a batch of about 5 gallons of sweet and sour sauce as one of our main ingredients and for that red orange food coloring.
    Hope that clarifys the subject a bit. Despite my handle, I am an American born Cantonese Chinese and my folks have been in the restaurant business for over 40+ years. I grew up in restaurants and prepped and made all these dishes that you Americans so eagerly chowed down. We actually don't eat it much except for quality assurance purposes. We eat the traditional stuff that most Americans don't really eat (but getting a bit better and more adventurous) like: steamed whole flounder with bones, eyes and fins intact with shredded ginger and scallions with a light soy sauce based sauce: light soy sauce with a pinch of sugar and with 1/3 value of soy sauce of pork/chicken soup stock. Most Americans will NEVER experience the best part of the fish… fish cheeks: more moist and soft than any part of the fillet of any fish. You guys waste all the best stuff.

  5. Going back through watching videos I haven't seen. Aside from loving the simple ways you go through these recipes that makes me feel likw I could pull them off perfect the first time, I wat h these videos because you neve fail to bring a smile to my face with those ridiculous rhymes and some of the things you say. I don't know why it still surprises me, but it does and I love it! Love your videos!

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