Beef Barbacoa

The traditional Mexican or Caribbean barbacoa is a method which a whole sheep are slow-cooked in pits covered with maguey leaves. But since it’s hard to get or cook a whole lamb, we are doing a more modern version which is made with the head of a cow (I know, WTF?) or chunks of cow or lamb.

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You’ll Need:

  • 2 lb beef chuck
  • 1 onion
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 chipotles(smoke-dried jalapeño)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup chili powder

How to make this:

  1. Place the chuck in a dutch oven or a heavy-duty pot, add the chopped onion & bay leaves, then cover half of the meat with smoke-dried jalapeño, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, apple cider vinegar, and water,
  2. Cover and braise the chuck at 120C or 250F for at least 6 hours, add 1/2 cup of water for every hour you add, flip the chuck halfway to ensure even cooking
  3. Once the meat is braised, drain & save the liquid (perfect broth for any soup), discard the bay leaves, then blend the tomato sauce & chili powder until smooth, shred the meat with forks, mix in the salsa
  4. Place the meat back in the dutch oven and roast it in the oven at 120C or 250F for another 2 hours
  5. Server it over some tortillas with cilantro and chopped onion
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Char Siu/Chinese BBQ Pork

If you want to talk about Cantonese food, nothing is more iconic and popular than Char Siu (“叉烧”), a juicy piece of pork shoulder or loin, roasted in a brick oven, brushed with layers of thick, sweet sauces. This dish is perfect by itself and is also used as fillings for dim sums, or as a side dish for fried rice or noodles.

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You need:

  • 1 1/2 lb Pork Shoulder
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/3 cup Honey
  • 1/3 cup Malt or Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Chinese Rice Wine
  • 2 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
  • 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder
  • 1 tsp Red Fermented Bean Curd (Optional)

How to make this:

  1. Mince the garlic, then mix the soy sauce, honey,  Sugar, rice wine, hoisin sauce, Chinese five spice powder, red fermented bean curd (optional, just to add the signature red color to the meat, also helps to tenderize it a little bit) in a saucepan, the heat it up on medium while stirring constantly
  2. Place the meat in a bag or container and pour in the sauce, let the meat marinate for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight
  3. Heat up an outdoor grill to about medium, or an oven to 175C or 350F degrees, place the meat on a baking tray and bake it in the oven for about 1 hour
  4. While the meat is being roasted, heat up a pan on medium, heat up the sauce until it thickens (Like a syrup, takes about 5 min), them brush a layer of sauce on the meat every 10 min
  5. The meat is done when the internal temperature reaches at least 70C or 160F degrees, then let the meat rest for at least 30 min
  6. Serve it by itself in slices, or chop them into small cubes and wrap them in some steam bun or puff pastry, or add them to some fried rice or noodle

Tavuk Şiş (Turkish Chicken Kebab)

If you like vibrant and distinct flavors, Middle Eastern food will definitely be one of your favorites. By combining and mixing different types of fresh or dried spices, you can create many amazing flavors. Tavuk Şiş is a Turkish chicken kebab, marinated in yogurt and spices, and go great with flatbread or rice.

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You need:

  • 2 lb Chicken Thigh (skinless & boneless)
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1/3 cup Turkish Yogurt
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Dried Mint
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 Paprika
  • 1/2 Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 Cardamom Pods

How to make this:

  1. Finely chop the onion, mix with the Turkish yogurt, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, dried mint, dried oregano
  2. Lightly toast the paprika, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, cardamom pods on a pan, then crush them in a pestle & mortar, then mix them into the liquid
  3. Cut the chicken into 1 in wide strips, then place the meat into the marinade for 2 to 6 hours
  4. Place the chicken strips on 2 skewers, if you use wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 min before you use it
  5. Heat up a grill on high, then cook each side for about 5 min, or until the internal temperature reaches 75C or 165F degrees
  6. If you use an oven, heat up the oven to 175C or 350F degrees, then bake the chicken for about 25 min, or until the internal temperature reaches 75C or 165F degrees, then turn on broil for about 1 min
  7. Serve if on top of some flatbread, and some fresh vegetable or fruit, like pomegranate, sliced onion or sliced tomato on the side

Memphis Style Pulled Pork

I spent a lot of time living in Texas and Tennessee when I was growing up, and smoked meat was a big part of my daily meals. After I moved, how to recreate that perfect smoked, tender, juicy meat with an indoor oven became my obsession. This recipe is gonna take a lot of time, so if you want to make this, do it a day(24h) ahead of the time.

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You need (Pulled Pork):

  • 3 lb pork shoulder roast(or called butt)
  • 2 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 20 g apple wood chips

How to make this:

  1. Mix the sweet paprika, ground black pepper, dark brown sugar, salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, dry mustard, ground cumin in a bowl, this will be the dry rub for the meat
  2. Rub the pork shoulder/butt with olive oil, then generously rub it with the dry rub, place it inside a container and let it marinate for 8-12 hours
  3. Preheat the oven to 100C or 210F degrees
  4. Roughly chop the onion, place them on a bottom of a dutch oven or a roasting tray, place the marinated meat in the pan or tray, then burn 1/2 of the applewood chip little bit with a lighter or torch and place them an oven-proof baking dish and place it next to the meat
  5. Place the meat in the oven without the lid for 8 hours first
  6. Lightly burn the other half of the apple wood, replace them with the wood in there, then close the lid and cook for another 4 hours
  7. Take it out and let the meat rest for 20 min, there is a bone in the center of this cut, and you should be able to pull it out with very little force
  8. Pull the meat apart, mix it with any BBQ sauce you like, serve it on a bun with some cole slaw to make a great pulled pork sandwich, or just serve it with some cornbread

Memphis Style Ribs

Like many meat eaters (if you are vegetarian, that’s cool, smoked mushrooms are great), the most comforting way to enjoy a piece of meat is to smoke it; nothing like waiting for a piece of brisket to slowly cook in the smoker while sitting in the shade and having a glass of sweet ice tea. However, if you live in an apartment or in the city, chances are, you don’t have a smoker or the city code forbids you from building/having one. So, how to achieve the smoky flavor, the tenderness and juiciness of a piece of smoked meat without a smoker? Here’s a way to do it.

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You need:

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground white pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup of molasses
  • 1/4 cup liquid smoke (optional)
  • 4 lb of ribs

How to make this:

  1. Mix the molasses and liquid smoke into a semi-paste sauce (you can sub liquid smoke with the same volume of water), brush each side of the ribs evenly
  2. Heat up the oven to 93C or 200F degrees, if your oven’s lowest setting is above that, subtract 5 min from the cooking time for every degree in celsius
  3. Place the ribs on a baking tray, seal it with aluminum foil, try to minimize the water loss during the long cooking process
  4. Bake it in the oven for 4 hours, don’t open them, no matter how good they smell
  5. Once the meat is cooked at low temperature for 4 hours, take them out, brush another layer of the molasses mix
  6. Mix brown sugar, black pepper, paprika, chili powder, ground white pepper, crushed red pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Sprinkle them evenly on the ribs, let the ribs sit for 10 min
  7. Bake the meat in a 205C or 400F degree oven for 8-10 min
  8. Serve it with some roasted corn and some extra hickory BBQ sauce

This recipe is really great for 2 reasons, first, the rub, more commonly known as the “Tennessee Rubdown”, is great for almost any beef or pork dishes, it is very versatile. Second, the indoor “smoker” method, since smoking is basically a long time, low temp cooking process, this is great for almost any meat, as long as the meat is well sealed within the oven so the juice within the meat doesn’t escape.