Last week, knowing we had to limit our number of trips to the grocery store, and wanting to have plenty of food in the house in uncertain times (especially for these char siu lettuce wraps), I picked up a whole pork shoulder, one of the most generous cuts of meat you can buy and one of the least expensive. I say generous because from this one cut and preparation (slow-roasting) you can create numerous meals.
Over the course of a week, I made eastern Carolina barbecue, pozole rojo with shredded pork, and char siu lettuce wraps. Numerous versions are in my last cookbook, From Scratch, which looks at all you can learn from just ten different meals (and 175 recipes).
You can make goulash (a paprika based stew on egg noodles), a version of Sloppy Joe's using a tomato sauce and good chili powder served on a bun, a pork ragu on papperadelle).
The below recipe is for a char siu that I love to use with the shredded pork (a variation on a recipe from Andrea Ngyuen in her exceptional book Asian Dumplings--all her books are exceptional, in fact). Serve it in butter lettuce, topped with julienned carrot and radish (and jasmine rice in the wrap or on the side).
To make the pork, cook it for 6 hours covered at 275˚F (or 4 hours at 325˚F), or until you can easily shred the meat, skin and fat. Remove all bones. It's ready to use in any way you wish.
It's so versatile, I created a whole chapter around the slow roasted pork shoulder in From Scratch.
To make amazing pork lettuce wraps, saute sliced scallions, grated ginger and chopped garlic in oil. Add the pork and stir-fry till heated through. Add enough char sui sauce to coat and serve as noted above.
Char Siu Sauce
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup hoisin sauce
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup dry red wine
- 3 tbls sugar
- 2 tbls red wine vinegar
- 2 tbls toasted sesame oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tsp five-spice powder
- Combine all the ingredient in a sauce pan and bring just to a simmer, then remove from the heat till you're ready to use it.