Each week, we’ll be publishing a recipe from I Like Pig, the official cookbook of New York’s Pig Island festival. Here’s the catch: Each recipe will focus on a different and glorious part of the pig, so you can cook your way through the whole swine. Today’s rib recipe is a riff on Cantonese barbecued pork, courtesy of The Art of Eating In author Cathy Erway, and her friend Noah Berland.
The following has been excerpted from I Like Pig: Recipes and Inspiration from NYC’s Pig Island (Jimmy Pots and Pans Promotions, 2014) with permission.
Erway and Berland share a fondness for Asian food. The duo made this dish—a red dye-free riff on Cantonese barbecued pork—for Pig Island in 2012. Traditionally, says Noah, Chinese cooks cut the pork into smaller pieces and cook them over a real fire on skewers or forks, “hence the char (“fork”) in char siu.” You could use this glaze, as the Chinese do, on almost any cut of pork you roast or grill depending on your goal—a lean slice of loin atop a rice bowl or a fatty piece of belly in a bun with cilantro and scallions.
Cathy and Noah originally used boneless pork butt and belly, and you can too; we found applying the glaze to country style ribs—which are actually not ribs but lean rib-size slabs cut from a bone-in loin—was a good way to use an inexpensive and lesser-known cut. At Pig Island, they served their char siu pork butt on steamed Chinese buns with homemade sauerkraut; we served these ribs with white rice dressed with vinegar and scallions and bok choy with chile-oil.
Country-Style Ribs Char Siu
serves 2 to 4
- 2-3 pounds country style ribs (about 4 big ribs)
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- ¾ cup hoisin sauce or garlic hoisin
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup rice wine
- 2 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- ⅓ cup honey
Preheat the oven to 250°F.
Meanwhile, make the glaze: Combine hoisin, soy sauce, rice wine, five spice powder, white pepper, and honey.
Put the ribs in a single layer in a medium-sized baking dish. Baste the ribs very liberally with the sauce, making sure to coat all sides. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil or a tight-fitting lid and bake at 250°F for 2½ hours.
Remove foil or lid, baste ribs with more sauce, and cook uncovered for 30 minutes more or until ribs are tender, basting often. The ribs should be both tender and lacquered with glaze when done. Let ribs rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
The I Like Pig cookbook can be downloaded in multiple digital formats for $1.99, thus avoiding your lardy fingerprints all over its pages.