Category Archives: Pork

Low ‘n Slow Pork Chops


That's one monster chopA quick post for a Monday night. As if weren’t enough that we ate our faces off over the weekend, I had 4 pork chops in the fridge that needed to be sorted out. What better way than to use a tried and tested method of “reverse searing” and come up with an amazing dish?

When you’re ready to prep, take your chops out of the fridge, give them a rinse under cold water and pat them dry. Drizzle a bit of vegetable oil on the chops and sprinkle a good helping of your favourite rub. Last night I used a pre-made rub (I know, I know…I just couldn’t be asked to make my own!) The rub I used was Cape Herb & Spice, Smoky BBQ Braai seasoning. Braai is the South African style of grilling and I suppose this spice was meant to reflect a typical Braai rub which included brown sugar, coriander, paprika, black pepper and something quite dodgy called “flavour.”  Give it a good coating and pop it back in the fridge until you’re ready to grill.

Set up your grill for indirect heat and stabilise at 225F (107C). When ready, place your chops on the grid and make sure you’ve got a good probe thermometer to track your progress. I had a few chops that were different in size and thickness so to be extra sure, I used my Thermapen which gives you lightning fast readings without you losing too much knuckle hair.

Flip your chops ever 15 minutes or so until they all reach about 125F (52C) then pull them off and tent them with some aluminium foil. Now the fun part….

Remove the plate setter or simply turn up the grill to maximum temperature. I removed the plate setter and inserted my trusty “Grill Grates” to get that extra special sear! When you hit “stupid hot” paint your pork with your favourite sauce and place the chops on the grid. 2 minutes later, give them a quick 45 degree spin for another two minutes. Now flip and do the same thing adding a bit more sauce. Grill for 2 minutes, 45 degree turn and then grill for another 2 minutes. Check your temperature with a probe thermometer as you’re finishing the sear. Note that you should remove your wired probe when you’re searing. The heat off the grid will render your probe absolutely “kaput!” This is where a thermapen comes in really handy.

Pull the chops off at 143F (62C) and let them rest for about 5 minutes under a lose tent of aluminium foil.

We served up these chops with some garlic fried rice and cheesy broccoli. Absolutely easy and absolutely tasty!

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Overall Heather Rating: 8/10 (her personal preference, not the recipe…so she says!)

That’s one monster chop


Char Siew (Ribs) – 叉燒


_MG_0027Once in a while you’ll come across a recipe that will blow your noodle and definitely make your top five list of the most amazing thing you’ve ever eaten. Last Sunday, just such a recipe made our list on the Big Green Asian Egg blog! We were really happy to use our good pal James Watkins as our guinea pig…. thanks Jimmy boy!

Char Siew Ribs, (pronounced Cha-Siew, drop the R sound) is a staple here in the tropical paradise we love to call home, Singapore. I adapted Meathead Goldwyn’s Amazing Ribs recipe to test out the authenticity and flavour profile of one of my favourite foods. I was amazed on both fronts! The great thing is that you can also make these ribs indoors in an oven if you don’t have the ability to grill outside.

In Singapore, you’ll see Char Siew hanging in most hawker stall windows. They tend to use the pork collar instead of ribs. The collars are loaded with fatty tissue that melts when slowly roasted. The flavour is intoxicating and you’ll line up for more! You can get a plate full of this delicious pork with steamed rice and veggies or my favourite, won ton noodles and broth with a healthy dollop of chili sauce. Needless to say, if you’ve ever been through Singapore, this is a dish you’ve got to try. My local hawker centre sells the above mentioned for $3.50 (SGD) or $2.60 (USD), a bargain if you’re on a budget!

So the ingredients list for the marinade goes a bit like this:

  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 cup vodka (or rum or brandy or even red wine)
  • 1/4 cup quality honey
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons powdered ginger
  • 2 tablespoons powdered onion
  • 1 tablespoon powdered garlic
  • 1 tablespoon five spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon red food colouring

Mix all of the above in a metal bowl (as you may run the risk of staining a plastic bowl with that red food colouring) and set it aside. Let it sit for about an hour in the fridge and when you’re ready to pour it over the ribs, give it a good whisk!

I used three racks of baby back ribs and cut them into individual ribs. Not something I normally do but for this recipe, you want each rib to be fully coated with that lovely marinade! When ready, place your ribs into a heavy duty zip-top bag, add the marinade and give the bag a good massage, trying to get as much air out of it as possible.  Be mindful not to puncture the bag with the bone ends and so just to be careful, place your bag into a bowl that can catch any of the marinade should it escape. I marinated these ribs for roughly 30 hours, occasionally turning the bag and giving it a bit of a squeeze as and when I was in the fridge.

Like I said, you can do these ribs indoors but since this is a blog about the Big Green Asian Egg, there was no way I was going to use the thing we call an oven. That’s where pavlovas are made!

Set up your grill for 2-zone or indirect cooking, easily achieved with a BGE plate setter. Don’t add any wood chips as you want to minimise the smoke here. Stabilise your temperature at 225F (1017C) and hold it there using an ambient temperature probe. For these ribs, you’ll be cooking to time and not temperature so it’s really important you keep your ambient temperature just right. I also set up a multi-tiered grid that sat over a drip pan full of hot water. The grid was amazing for this set up and highly recommended to produce a high yield of rib goodness!

Place the ribs meat side up and make sure you space them out, not touching each other. Close the dome and set your watch for 2 hours. Once there, have a quick peek, spin the grid to ensure even cooking and have a good look at the ribs. They should look like they’ve got a nice char starting to form and they’ll sweat a bit, showing you how juicy and moist they are. At 2.5 hours, remove the ribs and place them into a big metal bowl. Grab about a 1/3 cup of quality honey, zap it in the nuker for about 30 seconds then coat the ribs. Toss the bowl around, ensuring you’ve coated all the ribs. This provides a wonderful glaze and an eye popping flavour that gives these ribs and almost  bak kwa taste! (Bak Kwa is by far the BEST pork dish ever… dare I say even an improvement on bacon!!!!)

Place the ribs back on the grid and roast them for another 15 minutes or so. These baby back ribs were pretty thin so I adjusted the roasting time from 3 hours in total to 2.45. When finally done, place the sticky ribs back in the big metal bowl, sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds (and please do toast them as you’ll release all the wonderful sesame flavour by doing this…just be careful not to burn them as that’s fairly easily done) and finely chopped green onion or chives. Toss the bowl around and get ready to serve.

Our ribs were served with a wonderful soba noodle salad with a sesame and ginger dressing. A bit of Cantonese meets Japanese fusion to be honest. The result was AMAZING!  Thanks Meathead and team at Amazing Ribs for the inspiration!

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Overall Heather Rating: 10/10


Lechon – Villaba Style!


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Now I’ve had my fair share of pork during my 42 years on this planet but NONE has even come close to the Lechon that was prepared for us by the Lucero family in Villaba, Leyte, Philippines! The post’s photos may be a bit much for those that have never seen “Porky” go from wallowing in it’s own filth to the plate, but it must be said, from the word “Go” the process was respectful above all to the wonderful animal that gave it’s life to fill the tummies of nearly 100 people.

We were blessed to visit a very rural part of Philippines this past year and we got way more than we bargained for. From meeting the most wonderful family, the Lucero’s, to surviving a Category 4 Super-typhoon called “Ruby” (and just about everything in between!) One of the most memorable and delectable parts of our visit was the lechon that was prepared for us. The pig, “Porky” weighed in at a massive 68kg (150 lbs) and well, let’s just say it was the largest pig I’ve ever had the pleasure to help devour.

It started at 4:00 am with a very quick and respectful dispatch. It took about 7 grown men to accomplish the task but once done, the crew got to work. They had boiled a few pots of water to help blanche the skin in order to remove all of the top few layers of the dermis. By the time they were finished the carcass was as smooth as silk. She was gutted and nothing had gone to waste. You see, in this part of the world every piece counts and it really helped me realise how lucky we are when we see our pre-packaged meat at the butcher’s counter!

The cavity was then prepped with a variety of spices along with a large number of lemon-grass stalks. She was sewn up with a copper hook and twine and then rotated, by hand, for just over 4 hours. The fire set up was crucial. They basically built two large fires with hard wood about 2 meters across. The pig was spun in between ensuring that it was getting even heat from both sides throughout the roast. It was bloody hot outside as it was and I’ve got nothing but respect for the lads that sat there hour after hour spinning “Porky” to a wonderful end, poking any blisters so that it rendered out some of the fat, keeping the crackling intact!

We were ready to eat at about 3PM. The result was insane! I’ve never had crackling like that before and the pork was as tender as could be with bursts of spice and lemon grass throughout. Did I mention that the crackling was the BEST I’ve ever had? I still dream of it on hungry nights. The lechon fed the entire village and then some. What wasn’t eaten then and there was packaged up in small plastic bags to be distributed to the less fortunate in the village. Again, food for thought!

I wanted to post this story because THIS is what true barbecue is! Its about respect, its about knowledge, its about taste and it’s about love! We were so grateful to Chef “Lito” and his band of merry men for sharing with us the most incredible meal ever! Salamat!

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Overall Roman/Heather Rating: 100/100


New Year – More Food


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Hi everyone, it has been a while since I’ve sat down to “pen” a quick note. I wanted to reflect over the past year and thank everyone who’s stopped in, made a comment or was inspired to try one of our recipes.

I simply want to wish all of you a healthy, safe and fantastic 2015. May it bring new recipes, less bloating and lots of laughter mixed in with a little adventure. So, here are a few photos from our annual New Years Eve party. We hosted over 40 people with the legendary and traditional pulled pork (a 16.3 pound/7.4 kg beast that took 33.4 hours!) A special thanks to Heather, the kids and Yaya for the inspiration and the clean up!  Cheers!

Enjoy!

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“Pavlova” with French Cut Pork Loin


_MG_2665Can I get a “woot woot?” Sunday roast dinner with Ben Lock, Fifi Marée and little man Destin proved absolutely fantastic! A new recipe on the Big Green Egg: a herb encrusted French cut bone in pork loin. This recipe took a bit of preparation so if you do have two days in advance, I’d recommend you do give this a try! You’ll need a 1.6 kg bone in pork roast to start and a few other ingredients to make the magic happen!

The day before you roast this pork you’ll need to brine it overnight. Simply add the following ingredients in a non-reactive bowl:

  • 4 Cups pure apple juice (not the “drink” stuff!)
  • Slightly less than a quarter cup of salt (use the cheap stuff and Kosher salt is too good for a brine!)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh minced garlic.
  • Some freshly cracked black pepper – about 15 turns should do.

Whisk this all up and then add your pork roast to a zip-top bag, add the brine to the bag and put it in a non-reactive bowl in the fridge overnight. The bowl helps as in my case, the bag split at some point and the pork was still fully submerged!

The morning of the roast, take your pork out of the bag, give it a bit of rinse under cold water and pat it dry with a paper towel. Set it aside and get ready to prep the marinade and the garlic into the roast. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced (to insert into your roast)
  • Your brined pork (of course)
  • 2 tbsp of freshly minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp of freshly minced garlic (yes, more garlic!)
  • 3 tbsp of minced shallots
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves removed from their stalks
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, also removed from their stalks
  • 3.4 cup of quality olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

First, take a small sharp knife and pierce the roast about 4cm deep all around the roast. Add a sliver of garlic into each one of the incisions you make. Next, truss your roast with some butchers twine. This ensures that the roast will cook evenly and it presents really nicely as a result. Once done, move to the marinade. Combine all of the ingredients listed above in a blender. Pulse about 10 times until you get a really nice paste. If it looks too dry, add a bit more olive oil. Once done, give it a taste and add only a bit of salt as the brine as already done a lot of the salting for you. Put the roast into a clean zip-top bag, add the marinade and give it a bit of a massage. Make sure you coat the entire roast evenly. Now pop it back in the fridge until roasting time.

For your grill set up you’ll need to get the temperature stable at about 325F (163C), indirect heat.  Get a drip pan filled with warm water and add a small bit of wood. In my case I used cherry wood, but only a little bit to add a hint of smoke to an otherwise delicate meat. Let the smoke turn from white to a very light blue and then get ready to roast! Get a rack over the drip pan, insert your thermometer into your roast and shut the dome. No peeking until the internal temperature hits 140F (60C). That should take about 90 minutes for a roast this size.

Once you reach your internal temperature, remove the rack and tent it with some aluminium foil for about 10 minutes. When ready, remove the butcher’s twine first and then cut the roast into even chops between the bone. Serve with some roasted vegetables and a side salad and you’re done!

As usual the meal was delicious but again I was trumped by Heather’s homemade Pavlova! I’m not sure she’s willing to share her recipe but let me tell you, it was one of the BEST desserts she’s ever made. Full marks for the Pav babycakes!

_MG_2669All in all, a wonderful night with great company and amazing food!

Overall Heather Rating: 10/10

Overall Pavlova Rating: OFF THE CHARTS!

 

 

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Cherry Smoked Pork Collar


_MG_3858Hold the press! We’ve got a brand new winner tonight! In search of the best pork dishes I can muster up I came across a 2.1 kg pork collar at the butcher that only cost $17. With that scored I decided to make our legendary pulled pork in only 1/3 of the time. Normally pulled pork sandwiches at our place are reserved for New Year’s Eve only. Well now that I know I can get these pork collars at a fraction of the price (and the same, if not better taste) we’ll be making up this recipe a few more times a year as it’s a huge crowd pleaser if nothing else.

So what you’ll need to do is first prepare your rub. I’ve borrowed Meathead Goldwyn’s “Memphis Dust” recipe for this pulled pork:

  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary powder (take your dried rosemary and run it through the spice grinder to get the fine powder!)

Now, rinse off the pork collar under cold water. Pat it dry with some kitchen roll and set it in a shallow dish. Now take some vegetable oil and make sure you slather the collar all over, especially in the nooks and crannies if you’ve not tied it up yet. You’ll truss it the next day before smoking. Now give the collar a great big helping of the Memphis Dust rub and don’t be shy. Make sure you’ve covered every square centimetre of this pork. Once done, get your trusty cling film and wrap it up nice and tight and put in in the fridge (in a shallow dish) overnight.

Fast forward to grilling day. Remove the collar, unwrapping carefully to preserve the rub. Now truss the collar with some butcher’s twine which will ensure even cooking. Sprinkle a bit more rub on top and get it moving to the smoker! We had guests coming over for an early dinner at 4:00 pm. I wanted to serve the pulled pork at 5:00-ish so I figured the rule of 1.5 hours per pound. 2.1 kg is 4.6 lbs so then you roughly come up with 7 hours at 225 F. The result was closer to 8.5 due to the stall that took place at 170F internal temperature. More on that later. Set up your grill/smoker for indirect heat with a good helping of cherry wood chips scattered throughout the full compliment of hard wood charcoal. Add a drip pan with a good 4″ of hot water/or chicken stock like I did. Once you’ve stabilised the ambient temperature on the grill at a cool 225, add your collar (with temperature probe inserted) onto a rack and place it over the drip pan. Shut the dome and go do something productive for a half a day or so.

You’ll inevitably hit the stall temperature and it’ll stay there for a good few hours. This can be frustrating for some people not used to cooking pork butt, collar or beef brisket. It’s perfectly normal and it’s part of the magic really. You’ll want to aim for an internal temperature of exactly 203F. That’s the magic number. If you’ve stalled at 170F like I did for a long time, you can gently start to increase the ambient temperature by opening your bottom and top vents a little bit. Once the temperature hit 325F, the collar started to respond instantly, climbing steadily to the magic number 203F.

OK, when the magic number is attained, rest that collar for about 10 minutes with no foil, you want the bark to be nice and crunchy. When you’re ready to pull your pork (ahem) – take two forks, insert, twist and pull. Keep going until you’ve got a dish full of pork lovin’! We served these “sammiches” with a homemade slaw made of red cabbage, apple, cranberries and beetroot on a fresh bun, hollowed out, topped with homemade KC barbecue sauce.

So what was the final result? Silly, cray-cray, awesome goodness!

 

PS – Thanks to the Cowan family for coming over and test driving pork collar “sammiches!” Also, a BIG congrats to Dayne for finally getting his license converted!  Keep off the sidewalks Singapore!!!!

And a final PPSS… Hunny Lee-Ryan… let me know how this goes!

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Overall Rating: 10/10


Garlic with a bit of Pork Loin


_MG_7051Hey there blog fans. Here’s a quick and simple recipe for you to try out on your grill. Its so simple it would be silly not to try it out. We prepped this one on a Monday night and shared it with 5 of us in the house.

Get yourself a decent sized pork loin, not a tenderloin but the big thick bad boy that comes out of the rib cage of poor “Porky” that gave up his life for our tummies. All you’ll need to do is simply this:

  • 4 Tbsp of light soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup of honey
  • 6 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • Save another tbsp of soy and 2 tbsp of honey as a drizzle.
  • 10 more cloves of garlic finely minced
  • a few glugs of olive oil

Take your pork loin and give it a bit of a rinse. Pat it dry and then place it in a zip-top bag. Combine the soy sauce, honey and stir well until combined. Add your minced garlic and mix it all up and then pour the contents into the zip top bag. No need for any oil or other seasoning as the soy will give plenty of sodium whilst balanced out by the honey. Put the bag into a bowl (in case it leaks) and put it in the fridge for anywhere from 8-24 hours.

When you’re ready to grill, set up your cooker for indirect heat and reach for a grid level temperature of 375F. Take the loin out of the bag, discard the marinade and place it fat side up on a v-rack on the grid. I didn’t add any wood chips so as not to take away from the sweet/salty nature of the marinade. Insert an internal temperature probe and you’ll be looking to reach an internal temperature of 145F. That should take about an hour or so.

Once you’re near 145F, carefully take the loin off the grid, and even more carefully, remove your platesetter and get the loin over direct flame and sear it for a few more minutes on every side to get a bit of a crunch going. Once you’ve reached your temperature goal, remove the loin and let it rest, uncovered. No sense in making that lovely crunch soggy by keeping it tented under aluminium foil.

At this point (or a little bit earlier) take the other minced garlic and fry it up in a few glugs of olive oil. Get it nice and crunchy but not burnt. The fried garlic will give a slightly bitter taste that balances the other sweet and salty flavours of the loin. Combine the last of the soy sauce and honey and mix together well. Slice your pork loin on a 45 degree angle, nice and thin and then simply drizzle the sauce and throw on the garlic chips.

We served this pork loin with a wonderfully refreshing feta salad. All in all, this took very little effort and yielded a series of winning smiles around the dinner table.

Let me know if this works for you!

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Overall Heather Rating: 10/10


New Year’s Eve Boston Butt on the Big Green Asian Egg


The finished product!

The finished product!

Hi everyone and thanks for tuning in to the last post of 2013 and a special thank you for the amazing support you’ve given this blog over the past 12 months, it’s been humbling and thoroughly incredible!

This year’s been full of joy, wonder and the odd bit of difficulty thrown in here and there for good measure. But as many things do, this year ends on a high with a packed house full of good friends enjoying the greatest piece of barbecue there ever was or ever will be…. legendary Pulled Pork!

I decided to post my version of things given that there are about a zillion different blogs, recipe books and videos that show you how to smoke the perfect butt! I also won’t go into the etymology or history of the Boston Butt, you can google that any other time you like. Our adventure for this year’s annual pulled pork (and New Year’s Eve) party started with ordering a 6.6 kg (14.7 pound) bone-in and fat cap on, pork shoulder from our friends at The Butcher. Now if you knew what we have to pay for Boston Butt here in Singapore vs. the US or Canada, you’d surely fall off your chair. Suffice it to say, it’s worth every penny even though it makes you cry when I read about people purchasing pork shoulder for dollars a pound. Anyway, I let the shoulder rest up in the fridge from Saturday to Monday and came home eagerly on Monday afternoon to start my prep.

Now, let’s talk about my butt for a bit…(try to read this without snickering…)

I rinsed my butt thoroughly, with cold water and patted it dry with some paper towel. I added another couple of pieces of butcher’s twine to make sure my butt was properly secured for a long smoke. Next I poured a small amount of vegetable oil into a bowl and proceeded to cover my butt, making sure I got every nook and cranny too so that my rub would stick. Next I coated my butt with a serious helping of my standard rib rub (recipe found here.) At this point, I wrapped my butt in cling film nice and snug and popped it back into the fridge for just over an hour. Don’t leave your butt rubbed up for too long as you’ll end up losing a few ounces of water if you leave it overnight. About an hour or two will do just fine before you put it on the cooker.

As my butt was resting in the fridge, all rubbed and wrapped up, I went to set up the Big Green Asian Egg. First, I cleaned it thoroughly, carefully removing both the fire ring and the fire box to ensure I got every last bit of ash and soot out of the Egg. I wanted the last roast of 2013 to be absolutely perfect, so a little extra effort made me feel pretty good. Now I reassembled the Egg with the fire grate, box and ring all put back in place. Next, I had to build my fuel stock to ensure I had more than 24 hours of fuel ready to slowly burn. I used an entire 6 kg box of Topps hardwood charcoal and built what looked like a Viking funeral pyre. The Topps charcoal looks like burned out logs so you can lay them across in one direction, and then again at a 90 degree angle, building it higher and higher as you go. Now in between the layers of charcoal I added a good helping of hickory and apple wood chips. I built up the stack to the top of the fire ring and was now ready to prepare the final pieces for a very long roast. I inserted two fire starters on the left side of the pyre pretty much at the top. The theory goes that as it lights, the fire will travel to the right and then slowly burn down as she goes. I can’t tell you how important it is to make sure you stabilise your temperature before you add your butt to the cooker. Why? Well, if you don’t you’ll be “faffing” about trying to chase the ultimate temperature and you’ll get it wrong. Take your time to do this part right.

When I was finally ready, I lit the starters and let it catch with the dome up for about 5-7 minutes. Then, I added the BGE plate setter in the legs up position along with a water pan with a good 2″ of hot water. On top of that, I added the grate and put two ambient temperature probes in place, ready for a long night of measuring. I closed up the dome, adjusted the baffle and daisy wheel and waited for about 35 minutes to get the BGE to 225F (107C.)

At 4:00 pm local time I removed my butt from the fridge, unwrapped it carefully and added just a small dusting of the remaining rub. I placed the butt on a wire rack with the fat cap down. I inserted two probes into my butt (OUCH!) and then kissed my butt goodbye. This year, my challenge was not to peek at all, until it was ready to pull off the cooker.

The overnight smoking can be a daunting task for many backyard warriors. If you get your temperature stable, this doesn’t need to be a stressful time. Just make sure you’ve got fresh batteries in your thermometers and you’ll be fine!

I got up once or twice throughout the night and that was just to adjust the daisy wheel a smidge. The ambient temperature never exceeded 240F or dipped under 215F. I was really pleased at how incredibly well the Big Green Asian Egg handled the overnight burn. I got up at 7:00 am and everything was stable at 178F internal temp and 226F ambient temperature. Absolutely perfect. So now fast forward a few hours and you’ll experience “the second stall!” It’s nothing to worry about and with a chunk that big, it makes sense. From 7:00 am to 7:00 pm the temperature only had to rise 25 degrees.  Well, that took exactly 12 hours to accomplish. You’ll end up hovering in the 190’s for what seems like forever. Just keep the faith at this point and carry on!

OK, so the official time for removing this butt from the cooker was…27 hours and 44 minutes and 6 seconds – that’s when we hit the target temperature of 203F (95C). I took my butt and wrapped it tightly in 4 layers of aluminium foil then a thick towel and placed it into an empty cooler. I kept the temperature probe in and watched my butt climb up by another two degrees over the next 1.5 hours. At 9:27 pm our guests were ready to dig in, in fact it was our pal Rupert (a 2m hefty German lad) who simply pointed at his stomach and said “It’s time!”

To catch all of that pulled pork lovin’ I set up two bowls. Next, with a slight twist to the left and right, I pulled the shoulder blade out and it came out absolutely clean, a sure sign that the butt was 100% perfectly cooked. I used heavy duty oyster shucking gloves to pull the pork and in about 20 minutes, we had 2 bowls full of chewy bark, smoky, juicy and tender pork that was ready for bunning and saucing!

I won’t go into any more detail as this post is already long enough and I’m really battling a bit of a headache this morning. If you have any questions or if I’ve missed anything really key, let me know and I’ll happily update the post.

Needless to say, we all had a wonderful evening and brought in the New Year with an epic meal. Thanks to my darling wife Heather for going the extra mile to make 4 separate desserts along with the slaw!

Happy New Year world and let’s have a healthy, safe and fantastic 2014!!!

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Overall Heather Rating: OFF THE CHARTS! 

 


Char Siew Pork (Loin)


_MG_6592As this site is based out of Asia, it is only fitting to go back to our roots and feature some local delicacies that can be done easily on any grill. Tonight’s treat….Char Siew Pork, Big Green Asian Egg style.  This recipe is, as all are, dead easy and incredibly delicious! We served our Char Siew with baby Kai-Lan and vegetable fried rice. Don’t bother going down to the local restaurant when you can make tasty treats right at home.

So, what you’ll need to do the night before is simply make up the sauce. 3/4 of it will become the marinade and the other 1/4 will act as the basting and finishing sauce. The sauce goes a little like this:

In a small sauce pan add the following:

  • 3/4 cup of quality honey
  • 1/4 cup of dark soy sauce (that’s the really think gooey stuff!)
  • 1/4 cup of rice wine
  • 2 tsp of 5 Spice powder
  • 4 drops of red food colouring
  • 1/2 cup of Hoisin sauce

Heat over low heat but don’t let it simmer, just heat it up so that all the flavours combine nicely. At this point, let the sauce cool down and when it’s ready, simply add 3/4 of the sauce to your pork loin that’s waiting in a zip top bag. Keep the other 1/4 for the grilling. Squeeze all the air out of the bag and put it in a small bowl and into the fridge over night. The marinade will penetrate a bit but the colour it adds is wicked and you’ll use the rest of the sauce that you’ve reserved as a basting and finishing sauce.

Set up your grill for indirect heat. Add a small container of water to add a bit of moisture and you’re ready to rock that char siew. Stabilise your temperature at 280 F (140C-ish) and when ready add your pork loin to the grill and discard the marinade. Flip the loin every 2o minutes and baste with the remaining sauce that you saved earlier. Keep doing doing this until your internal temperature reaches 145F.  For an extra punch, carefully remove your plate setter or move the loin to the hot part of the grill and crisp up the sauce. Careful here…don’t close the lid and keep turning otherwise you’ll burn the heck out of your pork loin after all that effort.

Now, once done, let the loin rest for about 5 minutes before slicing it thinly on a diagonal. Drizzle a little bit of the remaining sauce and serve with your baby kai-lan, simply fried up with some oyster sauce and loads of minced garlic and of course your fried rice.

Open a bottle of your favourite white wine and off you go….enjoy!

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Overall Heather Rating: 9/10 (could have been better as I forgot to crisp up the loin before I served it… too excited to eat!)

 

 

 


Friends Reunited: SGP “PorkFest” 2013


_MG_6228Many years ago a band of brothers toiled and slaved in Investment Banking IT, arm in arm, day in and day out and  years later, for all respectable reasons , drifted apart as many mates do. Well last night, the brothers, their wives and what seemed like way more kids than was even possible, descended on Roman and Heather’s back garden to participate in a pre-Christmas reunion of sorts. The celebration called for a very special menu: St. Louis cut KC ribs, slow cooked pulled pork and hickory ribeye, complemented by more sides than you could shake a stick at and Heather’s legendary chocolate pavlova!

The ribs were purchased on Saturday morning, the day of the festivities. My buddy Kevin and I went down nice and early to West Coast Market to meet the legendary “Pig Lady”, a purveyor of fine swine from Indonesia. I purchased 6 mammoth racks of ribs and a beautiful pork loin (for the freezer) all in weighing an impressive 6.5 kg.

The prep was pretty standard and easily done. Rinse the ribs under cold water and make sure any and all bone fragments from “Pig Lady’s” knife-wielding are removed. Pat them dry and remove the silver membrane on the bone side. At this point I trimmed the ribs considerably. They’re massive and you can smoke and roast them but it’s tough to do as the thickness of each rack is different and hence the finish time would be as well. So, I trimmed off a lot of meat and saved all of it for slow cooked pulled pork instead. So, back to the ribs.  Apply a coating of vegetable oil and prepare your favourite rib rub, liberally sprinkling both sides of the rib racks, especially between the bones. You want to make sure there’s rub in every bite of rib. Wrap them up in cling film and pop them back in the fridge for about an hour. Now, go set up your grill.

You want to ensure you’ve got a full fire box of charcoal, mixed with about 2 solid handfuls of hickory chips. Set up the grill for indirect cooking and add a water pan that’s about 3/4 full. The resulting humidity mixes with the smoke that adds an almost bacon-like flavour to the ribs when you’re done. Aim to stabilise your internal temperature at 225F (107C) and make sure it stays there. You don’t want to go under 200F or over 250F if you can help it. With a bit of practise, you’ll be able to calibrate your grill to keep it chugging at a low and slow temperature.

I used a two tier rack and rested the ribs meat side up. I shut the dome and let the magic happen. With the larger St Louis cut ribs (not baby back ribs) it took 4.5 hours to get to perfect ribs. Resist the urge to check on your ribs and trust that your grill will do the trick. As they say, “if you’re looking, you’re not cooking!”

So how do you know they’re ready? Well, the ribs will have this incredible dark brown colour. You can take a pair of tongs and do the “bend test.” If the ribs crack under their own weight of the bended side, they’re done! Note that I hadn’t slathered them with any sauce until at the very last few minutes. Once you know they’re done, remove the ribs onto a platter and cover the ribs with one coat (both sides) of your favourite BBQ sauce. I used our family favourite, KC style sweet sauce. Let them sit for a minute or two while you remove your plate setter and get the grill going at a higher temperature, say 450F (232C). Keep the lid open as you place your racks back on to caramelise the sauce. Be careful here as you can easily burn your ribs turning all that time into wasted time. Once your sauce has bubbled up a bit and you see that the ribs have got just a bit of a char, it’s time to pull them off the grid.. I let them rest for a few minutes then cut them into individual pieces, serving immediately.

So what did we do with the off cuts? Remember them? Well, cut them up into even chunks. Grab two onions and slice them thinly, crush 6 cloves of garlic, 1/2 cup of chicken stock, your rib rub and a bit of BBQ sauce. Lay the onions and garlic on the bottom of your slow cooker. Add the stock, and then the pork pieces that had been covered in vegetable oil and rib rub. Add a final squirt of sauce and put the lid on and crank it to high. 6 hours later, you’ve got delicious, juicy and tender pork pieces. Take each piece and simply pull them apart with two forks. It’s a bit of work but well worth the effort. Add the pulled pork onto a bun and squeeze a good helping of your favourite sauce and there you go, cheater’s pulled pork!

Finally, a pair of grain-fed ribeye steaks were put on the grid at 450F (232C) simply seasoned with Kosher salt, black pepper and olive oil. Insert your internal thermometer probe and slip the steaks every 5 minutes or so, moving them to another part of the hot grill. That’ll get a nice crispy bark going for you. You’ll pull them off at 135F (57C), let them rest for about 5 minutes then slice them thinly at a 45 degree angle to the grain. Drizzle with some quality olive oil and sprinkle just a pinch of Kosher salt. Now serve it all up and watch your guests flip out and experience the ultimate “food-gasm!”

I asked some of the lads to send me a note on what they thought…and in no particular order, this is what my buddies thought:

  • “I was amazed at how the meat remained so juicy and moist! It was some of the most succulent steak I’ve ever had. And the ribs literally fell off the bone!  The pulled pork sandwiches were delicious. My 6 year old ate 2!” – Patrick Huang
  • “The ribs and pork were nothing short of amazing. The meat was moist and tender, complemented by a great homemade BBQ sauce. Almost didn’t have enough space for the awesome lightly hickory smoked steak. Shame there was no takeaway leftovers :)” – Ming Wong
  • “One of the best grills. Yummilicious!” – Francis Ong

And my personal all time favourite quote:

  • “Even my sh@t smells delicious this morning…” – Derrick Goh

Thanks all for making last night such a great time! Merry Christmas to all of you and have a safe and healthy New Year (when it comes!)

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Overall Heather Ratings: Ribs 10/10, Pulled Pork 8/10 (the 24 hour pulled pork is waaaaay better!)


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