Sliced Pork Bak Kwa made even more delicious with superior texture than their ground pork counterpart. A must try for the Lunar New Year!!
While I have been making Bak Kwa using ground pork, I always preferred the sliced pork version. In my opinion, the latter has superior texture and flavor. So, today I am going to share with you the real deal and how you can make it in your own kitchen.
Getting The Right Cut of Meat For Sliced Pork Bak Kwa
Admittedly, it is easier for the home cook to use ground pork to make these wafer thin bites. With ground pork, you can form each slice into perfect squares with no need to cut the pork into thin slices. Unless you have a meat slicer, this task can be very challenging using a knife but it can be done. It just needs a little patience and concentration.
The first thing is to get the right cut of meat. I used a chunk of pork shoulder roast which has some fat in it. The tricky thing though is most of the time the fat and veining goes through the chunk of meat making the slices you cut break into smaller pieces. It will still work but you may end up with small irregular pieces. Fortunately, that is not a big deal at our house. 😉
Cutting The Meat
It is not easy to cut a chunk of totally defrosted meat into thin slices. If your meat is frozen, allow it to thaw but keep an eye on it so that it does not thaw all the way. You want to cut it when it is still slightly frozen. If your meat is not frozen to begin with, then you will have to wrap it up with parchment paper and allow it to freeze slightly. For a 2 pound pork shoulder roast, you will need to stick it into a freezer for about 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours before you can cut it.
The best thickness for each slice of raw meat is approximately 1/8 inch (3.18mm). This thickness will yield the best texture when the meat is cooked – not too chewy but thin enough to give it that characteristic translucent appearance when held up to the light.
Fat Content of Meat For Sliced Pork Bak Kwa
When using ground pork, you want to use ground pork with 20% to 25% fat. For a chunk of meat, that percentage is not always consistent. As such, you may need to brush some oil on the slices of partially cooked meat during the final grilling. Otherwise, it will look more like beef jerky. It also takes a little longer to grill when using sliced pork versus ground pork. Yes, it is definitely more challenging to make but the results speak for themselves.
Tools Used in Making This Sliced Pork Bak Kwa
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Large Broiler Pan and Rack, 12-3/4 x 16-1/2-Inch
Stainless Steel Wire Cooling Rack
Ultra Sharp Premium Heavy Duty Kitchen Shears
Sliced Pork Bak Kwa
- 2 lbs pork should boneless roast (slightly frozen) (900g)
- ⅔ cup sugar (145g)
- 2 tbsp Shao Hsing cooking wine
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- ½ tsp five-spice powder
- 1 to 2 tbsp vegetable oil for grilling
- If your boneless roast is not frozen, wrap in parchment paper and place in freezer for 2 hours to freeze it slightly. Cut pork with a very sharp knife into thin slices, approximately 1/8 inch thick. Place sliced pork in a large bowl.
- Add sugar to the bowl.
- Combine Shao Hsing rice wine, dark soy sauce, fish sauce,
- sesame oil, ground pepper, and five spice powder in a small bowl or cup. Mix well with a spoon.
- Pour mixture over sliced pork and sugar.
- Mix well to get all sliced pork coated with the sauce. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Prepare 4 to 5 sheets of parchment paper the size of a jelly roll pan (15.5in x 10.5in).
- Spread out 6 to 8 slices of marinated meat onto parchment paper.
- Place a large piece of shrink wrap over the meat. Using a rolling pin, roll over meat to smoothen and even out the thin slices of meat. Remove shrink wrap. Repeat until all meat is used up.
- Transfer sheets of meat to jelly roll pans and bake in a 250°F (120°C) oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and dab excess juices with paper towels.
- Increase oven temperature to 425°F (220°C). Return trays of meat to the oven and grill for approximately 8 minutes. Meat burns easily at this stage. Adjust time accordingly.
- Remove pans from oven. Flip slices of meat over with a pair of tongs. If meat is too dry, brush some vegetable oil over the meat before flipping. Also brush some vegetable oil onto the meat after flipping.
- Return pans to the oven for another approximately 8 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Store in sir tight container and consume within a week.
Lunar New Year Charcuterie Board
These slices of Bak Kwa tasted very good and looked great on my Lunar New Year Charcuterie Board. If you have not seen my large serving tray for Lunar New Year, please do check it out. It is a great way to serve a feast for your CNY Reunion Dinner.
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