Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

When I first switched to eating Paleo in 2010, the foods I missed eating the most weren’t pizza, pasta, or cake. Even then (waaaay back in the ancient, pre-Instagram era) I knew I could run Internet searches for Paleo-fied substitutes for those dishes. The stuff I craved the most—but couldn’t find adequate replacements for—were the Cantonese dishes of my childhood. To be clear, these weren’t the barely-recognizable Westernized versions of Chinese recipes; I’m talking about the plates of steaming-hot, perfectly seasoned meats and vegetables that my mom created in our family kitchen in Menlo Park, California, night after night.

My mom—cooking as usual.

My mother isn’t one to share her secret recipes. (Or, as she says with a shrug, “I don’t know exactly what I put in that dish. Just a little bit of this, and a little bit of that.” Thanks, mom!) But over the years, I’ve cracked the code on a number of my childhood faves, making them Paleo-friendly to boot. (Want examples? Check out the Salt + Pepper Fried Pork Chops and Chinese Chicken in a Pot in our upcoming Ready or Not cookbook, the Paleo Chicken Chow Mein in our One and Done bonus e-book, the Siu Yoke (Crispy Roast Pork Belly) and Walnut Prawns in our first cookbook, and the Wonton Meatballs and Watercress + Chicken Soup on this blog.)

Still, there were some family recipes that I’d long ago decided were impossible to make Paleo, let alone Whole30-friendly. Many of these dishes demanded non-compliant ingredients (like store-bought hoisin sauce, which contains gluten, sugar, and other non-Paleo ingredients) or required overly complicated steps. I’ll admit that my laziness kept me from attempting a few of these recipes, too.

One of these dishes kept nagging at me: char siu, Cantonese roasted pork lacquered with a sticky-sweet marinade. You know what I’m talking about: the bright red hunks of meat hung in the display windows of Chinatown BBQ joints. I missed it like crazy—especially my mom’s version. As a kid, I would linger at my mom’s elbow every time she sliced up her char siu, panting like a puppy desperate to catch a scrap of leftovers. I wasn’t subtle, and wouldn’t budge until my mom slipped me a juicy piece of pork right from the cutting board. Fueled by these happy food memories and the reminder that persistence pays, I made it my mission to come up with Paleo version of this porky delight.

It took longer than I thought it would.

I’ll spare you the details of my many failed experiments (including the batch that looked amazing, but stunk like skunk), but I’m happy to report that after weeks of testing, I finally came up with a char siu recipe that garnered unanimous approval from my finicky kids, visiting in-laws, and even the pickiest eater of them all: Me. My Paleo version of char siu is even Whole30-friendly if you use fruit-sweetened jam and leave out the honey!

Note: It’s important to use a high-quality, 100% fruit jam in this recipe. I buy St. Dalfour brand (not a sponsor—I just like it, and it’s pretty widely available) and the plum, apricot, and peach spreads work equally well.

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

No more jibber-jabber. Let’s make some Paleo char siu!

Serves 8

Ingredients:

Equipment:

Method:

First, make the marinade and cool it to room temperature. Add the jam, coconut aminos, tomato paste, almond butter, honey (if you’re not doing a Whole30), fish sauce, Chinese five spice powder, and ground ginger to a small saucepan.

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Whisk the marinade as you heat it to a simmer over medium heat.

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Once the sauce is smooth and bubbling, transfer it to a measuring cup and cool to room temperature. (You can store the marinade in the fridge for up to 4 days and use it when you’re ready to roast the pork.)

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Next, prepare the pork. Blot the pork shoulder dry with a paper towel and slice the meat into 2-inch strips of even thickness.

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The pork strips should be roughly uniform in size. It’s cool to have fatty pieces of pork because you don’t want want to end up with dry char siu.

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Sprinkle the kosher salt all over the pork pieces. Place the pork in a large bowl or zippered storage bag…

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and pour all except ⅓ cup of the cooled marinade onto the pork. Cover the reserved marinade and store in the fridge.

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Use your hands to coat the marinade all over the pork strips.

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Cover the bowl with a silicone lid or plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 2 to 24 hours.

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

When you’re ready to roast the pork, preheat the oven to 350°F with the rack in the middle position. Place the pork on an oven-safe wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet.

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Roast for 30 minutes, flipping the pork pieces at the halfway point.

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Remove the pork from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 400°F.

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Brush half of the reserved marinade on the top of the pork pieces.

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Pour enough water into the bottom of the pan so that you have a thin layer coating the bottom. This will keep the drippings from burning while the pork cooks.

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Roast for 25 minutes, and then flip the pork pieces over and brush on the remaining marinade.

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Roast for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the pork is slightly charred on the edges.

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Rest the pork for 10 minutes, and then slice against the grain into chompable slices!

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Arrange the pork on a serving dish…

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…garnish with sliced scallions, and serve!

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days or frozen for 4 months.

Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)

Prep 10 mins

Cook 1 hour, 20 mins

Inactive 2 hours

Total 3 hours, 30 mins

Yield 8 servings

Here’s my authentic Whole30-friendly, Paleo Char Siu recipe: Cantonese roasted pork lacquered with a sticky-sweet marinade.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Make the marinade and cool it to room temperature: add the jam, coconut aminos, tomato paste, almond butter, honey (if you’re not doing a Whole30), fish sauce, Chinese five spice powder, and ground ginger to a small saucepan. Whisk the marinade as you heat it to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. Once the sauce is smooth and bubbling, transfer it to a measuring cup and cool to room temperature. (You can store the marinade in the fridge for up to 4 days and use it when you’re ready to roast the pork.)
  3. Next, prepare the pork. Blot the pork shoulder dry with a paper towel and slice the meat into 2-inch strips of even thickness. The pork strips should be roughly uniform in size. (It’s cool to have fatty pieces of pork because you don’t want want to end up with dry char siu.)
  4. Sprinkle the kosher salt all over the pork pieces. Place the pork in a large bowl or zippered storage bag and pour all except ⅓ cup of the cooled marinade onto the pork. Cover the reserved marinade and store in the fridge.
  5. Use your hands to coat the marinade all over the pork strips. Cover the bowl with a silicone lid or plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 2 to 24 hours.
  6. When you’re ready to roast the pork, preheat the oven to 350°F with the rack in the middle position. Place the pork on an oven-safe wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet.
  7. Roast the pork for 30 minutes, flipping the pork pieces at the halfway point (15 minutes).
  8. Remove the pork from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 400°F.
  9. Brush half of the reserved marinade on the top of the pork pieces. Pour enough water into the bottom of the pan so that you have a thin layer coating the bottom. The water will keep the drippings from burning while the pork cooks.
  10. Roast the pork for 25 minutes, and then flip the pieces over and brush on the remaining marinade. Roast for an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until the pork is slightly charred on the edges.
  11. Rest the pork for 10 minutes, and then slice against the grain into chompable slices. Arrange the pork on a serving dish and garnish with sliced scallions, and serve! Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days or frozen for 4 months.

Courses Dinner

Cuisine Paleo, Chinese, Whole30, Gluten-free, Cantonese. Pork

The post Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) appeared first on Nom Nom Paleo®.

Original Source: Paleo Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)

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