Why It Works
- Cutting boneless pork shoulder into steaks increases surface area, which allows for more bark and smoke flavor.
- The marinade is reserved and briefly reduced while the pork smokes, transforming it into a no-effort char siu glaze.
There's been a lot of talk of New York City barbecue coming into its own. Some pitmasters are taking creative freedom and churning out slow-smoked dishes that may not define New York as a style, but give it a unique character nonetheless.
Case in point, Fletcher's Brooklyn Barbecue showcased flavor profiles that stood apart from those of the Southern United States. The day I was there, I tried out the char siu pork, which had the sweet, salty, and earthy qualities of Chinese char siu, set on a backdrop of smoky tender meat and bits of luscious fat. I asked pitmaster Matt Fisher how they make them, and he said it's simple—just cut a pork shoulder into steaks, cover them with char siu sauce, and smoke 'em for six hours. I figured I could do that.
I mostly followed his instructions, but added in a Chinese five-spice powder rub and marinated the pork shoulder for a day prior to cooking. Six hours in the smoker with a final brushing of thickened sauce, and I had something along the same lines of the delicious char siu pork that served as its inspiration—not to mention a great example of the type of distinctive smoke meats that may just give New York City a rightful place on the barbecue map.
June 07, 2013
For the Char Siu Sauce:
2/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup dry sherry
2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
For the Rub:
2 tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder
1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 boneless pork butt, about 7 pounds, cut into steaks about 2-inches thick
2 to 3 fist sized chunks of light smoking wood, such as cherry or apple
For the Char Siu Sauce: Whisk together hoisin, honey, soy sauce, sherry, and 2 teaspoons of Chinese five-spice powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.
For the Rub: Mix together 2 tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder, brown sugar, and salt in a small bowl.
Coat shoulder steaks all over with rub. Place shoulder steaks all in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour in char siu sauce, seal, and toss to thoroughly coat pork. Place in refrigerator and marinate overnight.
Fire up smoker or grill to 225°F (105°C), adding chunks of smoking wood when at temperature. When the wood is ignited and producing smoke, place pork in smoker or grill, reserving marinade, and smoke for 5 1/2 hours.
While pork is smoking, pour reserved char siu marinade into a small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce has thickened and reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Brush pork with reduced sauce and continue to smoke for 30 minutes more. Remove pork from smoker and let rest for 15 minutes. Slice and serve.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 10 to 12|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 8g||10%|
|Saturated Fat 3g||14%|
|Total Carbohydrate 21g||8%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||4%|
|Total Sugars 17g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||3%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|