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Char Siu Ribs Recipe

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Char Siu Ribs Recipe

Everybody loves Chinese restaurant "BBQ" ribs. They have a distinct pork flavor, a glossy sheen that implies the sweet glaze beneath, and a glowing red-pink color that penetrates the surface. Here's a simple recipe for making Chinatown char siu ribs at home on your grill or in the oven featuring a flavorful marinade.

Serves. 4

Takes. 20 minutes to make the marinade, 1 to 12 hours to marinate, and 3 hours to cook.

Ingredients

The Meat

Ribs: 2 slabs of baby back ribs, cut into individual bones

or

Pork: 4 pounds pork loin cut into strips across the grain, about 1" wide, 2" tall

The Marinade

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup brandy (or dark rum or bourbon)

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons hot sauce such as Tabasco

1 tablespoons ground/powdered ginger

1 tablespoons ground/powdered onion

1/2 tablespoon ground/powdered garlic

1/2 tablespoon five spice powder

1 teaspoon red food coloring

About the ribs. Many Chinese restaurants use spareribs that are chopped into 3-4" riblets with a cleaver. If you want, your butcher can make you riblets with her band saw. If not, you can do them whole. I like baby backs for this recipe because they are meathier on top of the bone.

About the Chinese ingredients. There are no substitutes for hoisin saucefive spice powder, or sesame oil. They are responsible for most of what we think of as the flavor of Chinese and Asian-inspired food in the US. Five spice powder is easy to make at home (click the link above for my recipe), but the others are not easily made. Click on the links for more info on these ingredients. If you have trouble finding them in your grocery store, try Amazon.com.

About the hot sauce. If you have an Asian-style chili sauce you can use it, but any old hot sauce will work fine in this marinade since it provides more heat than flavor. The recipe above produces mild heat. Add more if you love pain.

About the food coloring. Food coloring is necessary for the authentic color. I am told by readers that you can substitute beet root powder for the red food coloring or fermented bean red curd, but I've never tried them. There is very little used in this recipe and most is discarded with the unused marinade. There are natural food colorings made from achiote and its seeds annato, or cochineal (a.k.a. carmine), an insect. If you want to leave it out, the food will still be great, but it won't have the traditional festive color.

Serve with. The classic accompaniments are Chinese beer or jasmine tea. If you can find it, try hibiscus tea or Pinot Grigio from Oregon (most of the California Pinot Grigios are borrrrring).

Optional. After about 2 1/2 hours, paint the meat with a glaze of honey and roast an additional 30 minutes

Garnish. Sprinkle sesame seeds, orange zest, and/or chopped chives or chopped green onions.

Method

1) Mix the marinade thoroughly in a bowl. Don't skip the booze. It helps penetrate, and even if you're a teetotaler, don't worry, there isn't any measurable alcohol in the meat. Yes, I know alcohol can dry meat out, but I just think it works well in this case. If you must skip it, substitute apple juice or water. You can substitute fresh ginger and garlic for powdered ginger and garlic if you wish.

2) Marinate the meat for 1 to 2 hours in a metal bowl or zipper bags. Discard the used marinade. It is contaminated with meat juice. Don't marinate in a plastic bowl if you use the food coloring. It might stain.

3) As much as I am a fan of outdoor cooking, this meat also tastes great cooked in an indoor oven. Either way, heat your cooker or oven to about 225°F in the idirect zone. If you are grilling, set up in a 2-zone or Indirect system. Make sure the meat is not directly over the flame on a grill. Indoors, put a pan of water with a rack on top of it under the meat. This is important or drippings will burn in the pan. Roast ribs for about 3 hours, loin strips for about 1 1/2 hours. If you grill, skip the smoking wood. I think it is cleaner and brighter sans lumber.    https://amazingribs.com/tested-recipes/pork-ribs-recipes/chinatown-char-siu-ribs-recipe-tastes-great-cooked-indoors-or-out

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