Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Barbecue Sauce

The summer barbecue season is upon us once agin. I promised a number of people that I would post this year's barbecue sauce recipe, so here it is.

Barbecue pork sauce

4 bottles [282 ml] of Lee Kum Kee char siu sauce (available from your neighbourhood Chinese grocery store, occasionally from Sobey's or Loblaws)
1 bottle of [282 ml] Lee Kum Kee spare rib sauce

Combine the bottles of sauce in a pot under low heat. Use a rubber scraper to get all the sauce out of each bottle. Once emptied, use one of the bottles as a measure and add to the pot:

1 bottle [282 ml] water
1 bottle [282 ml] tomato ketchup (I use Heinz because it is what I have available]
Half a bottle [140 ml] of Chinese cooking wine

Combine and allow the mixture to heat slowly under low heat, stirring constantly.
Add the following to taste:
powdered garlic (could also use minced garlic, and in fact that might provide a better result)
white pepper
onion flakes
allspice (only a couple of pinches necessary)

Leave on low heat until the sauce is smooth and all the powders have been blended in.

Add pork pieces so that each piece of meat is coated. I put between 4 to 6 pieces of meat into a ziplock bag with a scoop or two of the sauce. I marinate the meat for a couple of days (but the meat and sauce combo can also be stored in the freezer for a few weeks). The above quantities make enough barbecue sauce to marinate between 16 to 24 pork tenderloin pieces.

New innovation this year -- prior to cooking, I remove the meat from the bags and place on a foil tray or cookie sheet or something similar. Instead of disposing of the sauce, I put it back into a pot and heat it. Since it has been in contact with raw pork, I heat the sauce until it boils and I keep it on a low boil for 5 to 10 minutes.

The sauce is great with the pork after it has been barbecued. It can also be served with Chinese sausage, which will accentuate the flavour of the meat. Leftover Chinese sausage, plus leftover pork, plus the sauce can be combined into an amzingly nice fried rice dish. I have also used the sauce plus water plus pork bouillion to make a soup stock to serve rice noodles plus beansprouts plus leftover pork.

Barbecuing the pork

Note - your own barbecue may well give different results. The cooking process needs to be calibrated to the barbecue (and possibly the barbecuer).

Do each piece on a hot, preheated barbecue at two minutes on high. Flip, cook another two minutes. Then reduce heat to low, and maintain cooking for the next twenty minutes, opening the barbecue lid and flipping the meat occasionally. You can take the opportunity to "paint" the meat with additional sauce which you have previously set aside for this purpose.

After 20 minutes (total 24 minutes cooking time) you should find that the larger pieces will be somewhat rare (for those who like that sort of thing). Another 10 minutes on the upper rack will allow the meat to reach a tender, near done light pinkness. The meat can be served immediately, but it is better to let it sit for another 10 minutes.

Happy Neilsday 2010

Forty one years ago today, the lunar module Eagle undocked from the command module Columbia. After a brief retrofire engine burn, the Eagle descended toward the Sea of Tranquility, a vast lava plain close to the lunar equator. With fuel running out, and the spacecraft descending toward a boulder field, Neil Armstrong took manual control of the lander and brought it down safely.

Later that evening, at 10:56PM EDT, Armstrong would become the first human to set foot on another celestial body, followed shortly after by fellow crew member Buzz Aldrin.

Forty one years later, the Constellation program, along with the Ares launchers, have been cancelled. America has no firm plan to return to the Moon, and the Canadian Space Agency has no lunar exploration initiative. But there are others who may well take on that challenge -- maybe for the wrong reasons of national pride and international prestige at first, but there is always the hope that the door once reopened won't be closed so hastily again.

Earthquake Aftermath

My back yard in Toronto after the earthquake (but before the G20 protests):

Somewhere behind the upended furniture is a bottle of beer that got partially spilled. Careful observers (at least ones who talked to the photographer) might notice that this shot was staged. Guess they aren't going to be sending me any earthquake relief money...