Friday, May 13, 2016

NC BBQ Dim Sum: Eastern BBQ Pork Buns

<speedrack alt_text="The Cornerstone of our Dim Sum Meal">

I never order chicken off menus.  My mom made a ton of really good chicken at home, so it never felt "special" enough to justify getting at any restaurant trip.  As I've gotten older and cook a wide variety of foods, I just keep thinking "I can make that at home" and the list of special foods has dwindled down to things I either don't have the desire to learn (sushi!), expensive/hard to come by/I-really-can't-justify ingredients (sushi!) or is impossible for me to do at home (Eastern North Carolina style barbecue).

Cooking barbecue right is a process.  Whole hog roasting over wood or charcoal for hours upon hours isn't something you can just do in your backyard for dinner.  I mean, the smell alone means all your neighbors will want some.  Your sauce game needs to be on point too.  There are some things best left to the masters.  Plus, clean up is so much easier.

The barbecue that I used in this recipe is from one of my favorite barbecue places in North Carolina: Allen and Son in Pittsboro. NC.  It's on the side of a highway and you might have to pull a u-turn to get there, but you're probably waiting behind at least one other driver who's there to grab one of the tastiest plates in the region.  For real, these guys are on the North Carolina Barbecue Society Heritage Trail.  Definitely another trip added to the list.

 BBQ Pork Buns dough recipe from Char Siu Bao by Cherry On My Sundae.
1/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups warm water
1 tbsp yeast
6 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp butter
BBQ pork - purchase from a barbecue joint or make your own!  Use a Eastern NC recipe (go team vinegar!) or for a fun twist, use Cakalacky Cheerwine sauce

Let's make the dough.  Warm the water, mix in the sugar and yeast.  Let rest until foaming.  Blend in the other liquid, the baking powder.  Mix in the flour until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Cover and let rise until double (about an hour.)

Tear the dough into small pieces; flatten into disks.  Put a small piece of BBQ into the center of each disk.  Pull up each of the sides creating a pocket.  Pocket making skills may vary.

At this point, you can watch some videos and try to work on folding buns.  Me?  I was never able to master the folds, so I worked on pulling corners to seal the bun.

Keep going until you're out of BBQ or dough.  I ran out of BBQ, so you can make plan buns with the rest of the dough.  Or stuff with cheese!  Or cinnamon sugar...   Let rest for 10 minutes.

Set up your steam situation.  I used the metal steaming basket in my standard set of pots.  Fill the bottom pot with a small layer of water.  Place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom and poke holes through so the steam can get through.  That's how we're cooking our buns!

Boil the water.  Add the buns to the pot without overcrowding.  Let steam for 15 minutes.

Open the lid slowly to not shock the buns.  They will collapse!  Let cool slightly and devour!

They also freeze really well, so you don't have to try to eat all of them in one sitting.  Before steaming, flash freeze, then place in freezer-safe bags.  When reheating, I've always cooked them in the toaster oven at 350.  Delicious!

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