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Siu Yook (Roast Pork Belly)

Chinese

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112 replies to this topic

#1 Tepee

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 08:15 AM

I've attempted to make this 3 times, with 3 different degrees of success/failure. The best try had 2/3 crisp crackling skin, the other third rubber. What I can't understand (or can't accept) is why I can't get the whole piece of skin to crackle and crisp?

Pour boiling water over skin - check

Poke holes all over - check. I think the last I did was 2 million pricks.

Brushed vinegar over skin (a friend's tip) - check

Rest and let dry - check. I've let it dry uncovered in the fridge for 4 - 12 hours.

High initial heat - check

Then lower heat - check

Only consolation is all of them (if not for the skin) tasted so GOOD. Sigh, it looks so lurvely bubbling and blistering in the oven.

Posted Image

Help. :sad:
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#2 junehl

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 09:00 AM

Your siu yook looks soo good.

I'll ask my daddy tonight about siu yook, but when we were younger, he'd used to roast little suckling pigs in the back yard, and the skin was CRISPY and yummy. The only difference is that his skin was red, smooth, and incredibly skinny, not like the siu yook that you get out in the store where they are all bubbly.

I think he said the difference was due to the age of the pig, and the cooking method. He did use a baste of maltose sugar and sugar. Which my mom tells me that they do that to make their duck skin so crispy.

I'll ask him again tonight, and see if he remembers what he did.

#3 Tepee

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 09:04 AM

Ooh, thanks June! :wub:

I did try brushing a maltose solution on it...only made mine worse. The skin burned easier and became hard. Could be the technique...hmm.....
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#4 muichoi

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 12:42 PM

Have you tried using the grill/broiler to complete the crisping? Maltose should only be used at the end.

#5 Prawncrackers

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 01:11 PM

I've tried all those methods too. I love the thin crispy crackling that you only seem to get from the shops. The number of times i've tried to do it at home but to fail miserably! However the last couple of times i think i've nailed it:

Posted Image

The key is direct heat on the skin using a grill (broiler in the US) almost to the point of charring, then scraping to give that even light crispy finish. Works a treat for me.

#6 hzrt8w

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 03:20 PM

Both your roast porks looked lovely!

Do you marinate the pork (on the inner side)? What do you use? Salt? Five spice powder?

I think the skin of a suckling pig from that of a matured pig, in that the suckling pig's skin is much thinner, "babier", and the underlying fat is much thinner. I think it is easier to roast the suckling pig's skin to crispy than regular pig/pork.
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#7 Tepee

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 05:28 PM

Oh, my word! Prawncracker! I'm so coveting your roast. Ahh....I didn't do the grilling part.

muichoi: Right. Will use the maltose right at the end. Another 5 mins? I left mine for half an hour.

Ah Leung Gaw: I just marinated the meat part with salt (lots!) and was light on the 5-spice powder. I'm sure suckling pigs give better results, but, the shops all use mature pigs and the skin is perfect........like Prawncrackers' roast.

Thanks, everyone.
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#8 LuckysticksPRC

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 06:26 PM

Can anyone give me the names (in Chinese) of some recipes which use siu yook? I've only seen this sliced up and thrown in mi fen, which while tasty, always struck me as a waste of good roasted pork belly.

Btw, Tepee, that is a great, gluttony-inducing first photo. The picture in a picture is also very nice.

#9 mizducky

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 07:54 PM

Aha. I had this same problem with trying to get the skin crisp. Didn't solve it, so I'm glad you asked the question, Tepee! Taking notes now ... :smile:

#10 Prawncrackers

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 02:08 AM

All I use for flavouring is a dry rub of five spice and salt on the flesh side, I then poke the skin with this gorgeous looking implement !click! (Well, actually not this one as it’s new and fairly blunt – read the topic for explanation!!)
If your pork belly is of good quality then the skin should be nice and dry anyway, there will be no need to treat it with boiling water/vinegar/lemon juice etc. Besides I’m not sure how effective any of that stuff really is. Rub a mixture of coarse and fine salt onto the skin and roast as normal on a medium heat on a trivet. My idea is just to cook the meat till it’s done ignoring the crackling. I roast mine for only about an hour and fifteen in a 180C oven by which time the meat is still succulent but the crackling is nowhere near done.
Now comes the grilling/broiling part; under a moderate heat, blister the skin evenly all over until it’s just about to char. Too much and you’ll get that acrid burnt skin taste, too little and it’ll still be chewy. In a perfect world your belly will be flat (pork belly that is) and your grill will grill evenly. But the real world isn’t flat and even (literally) so you will be moving your belly around placing shunts underneath to make sure the skin blisters evenly. When you’re done the crackling will have big blisters all over and maybe a little charring – pretty unappetising. But let it cool a little (hot crackling is never crispy) then gently scrape way the top layer with a sharp knife. As you scrape an even layer of thin crispy golden crackling will reveal itself to you.
That’s it, that’s my method! My mother mentioned once that there’s an extra step the pros do with bicarbonate of soda to make the crackling even lighter, but she was hazy with the details so I’ve never experimented.
I’ve never used maltose on pork belly skin, I think that is more for ducks and geese to give that lacquered finish. Maybe it’s used for suckling pig but that is a different beast and method altogether.

#11 CFT

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 03:36 AM

Rub a mixture of coarse and fine salt onto the skin and roast as normal on a medium heat on a trivet.

Just what I was going to post - same as what I saw chef Gary Rhodes doing for 'traditional' roast pork.
Best Wishes,
Chee Fai.

#12 Tepee

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 05:02 AM

Prawncrackers: My mom has that torture instrument, except hers is fully stainless steel and has a protective disk which springs up and down, so that if it is not in use, the spikes are hidden. Sigh...we can't seem to find it in the shops now; she got it 15 years ago. Since I don't have that, I use a thin little knife and my work is multiplied by the no. of spikes in the thingy. Good to let it all out once in a while.

How about a roast pork belly cook-off, guys? :smile:
TPcal!
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Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

#13 junehl

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 10:21 AM

I just talked to my daddy, and he had the same thing to say that everyone else is.

Pour boiling water over the skin, prick it, let it dry, and use really high heat. He always cooked his over charcoal and said he could never get the oven as hot as he needed it. Oh and he said he only used maltose sugar for the sucklng pig, not the mature ones.

Sorry I couldn't have been more help.

#14 Tepee

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 05:30 PM

Thanks, June! That helps to confirm the high heat prerequisite.

Let's roast and post our pork bellies!

Edited by Tepee, 10 October 2007 - 05:31 PM.

TPcal!
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Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

#15 Shiewie

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 05:32 AM

Hey TP

Just saw the post.

The steps we use for siu yook is pretty much what you've listed, with a couple of additional steps.

Remove as much moisture as you can from the skin - just placing it in the fridge to dry out is not sufficient. Salt the skin with lots of salt before placing it in the fridge to dry. Dab off any moisture with kitchen towels and repeat the salting and dabbing process several times to draw as much moisture out from the skin as possible.

You also need to make sure that the oil drips off during roasting - if the piece of sam chang yuk/ fah nam is pretty long, there tends to be an indentation in the middle when it's on the roasting rack. Place something under the middle part of the siu yook (a ceramic soup spoon or an additional smaller rack) so that oil doesn't collect in the middle but drips off to the side. The little puddle of oil on the indentation in the middle stops the skin from blistering evenly all over resulting in crunchy skin on the sides but dismally tough leather in the middle

Hope this works for you.

#16 Tepee

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 10:54 PM

I say! Shiewie! I must have been making my siu yook the same time you were posting this. Prawncrackers did mention that part, but, if I had seen your post (I need people to knock things into my head sometimes), I'd have wised up and do that extra part. As it turned out, I did have a bit of 'leather' but just a bit. Guys! Guys! I'm happy to report that I have finally succeeded! I did 2 things differently this time...

i) Since I didn't have that torture implement nor was I in a great need for some crazy spiking and jabbing work-out, this time I used a gillette blade and made very close and fine scores. No sweat. Literally.

ii) I baked the belly skin side down for an hour. Then flipped it upright and broiled it.

Behold the crackling!
Posted Image

After scraping the charred parts...
Posted Image

Oooh....the feel of the different textures and tastes of the melt-in-the-mouth fats against the light crispy crunchy skin. Yummmmm!!
Posted Image

Thank you, all, for your generous help!
TPcal!
Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

#17 Prawncrackers

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 12:59 AM

BINGO!! Nice one Tepee that crackling looks spot on. Light and crisp, yum.

I would have joined you this week in roasting some but my oven has been on the blink. Maybe this weekend i'll make some and post here, come on the rest of you there's no excuse!!

#18 Tepee

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 01:08 AM

Thanks, prawncrackers! Your detailed steps helped a lot. It especially made me brave to allow part of the belly to char away. Never knew I'd find wonderful crackling underneath.

What a feeling to get this right! :smile:
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Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

#19 Tepee

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 04:04 AM

Forgot to wish your oven a speedy recovery, prawncrackers.


Can anyone give me the names (in Chinese) of some recipes which use siu yook? I've only seen this sliced up and thrown in mi fen, which while tasty, always struck me as a waste of good roasted pork belly.

View Post


Recipes or names? Afraid I can't help you there. I think there's a thread somewhere in the forum about what folks make with siu yook. A favourite of mine is this dish. Today's hunk of pork belly weighed 2 kg plus. What I did was:

1. give a quarter to my MIL,
2. ate a quarter for lunch as it is to really enjoy the crackling,
3. apportion the remainder to 3 packs, all chopped up, 2 to freeze, for whenever I want to make a vegetable/noodle dish more exciting,
4. chop into small slivers to fry with rice and a host of other add-ons for dinner tonight.
TPcal!
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Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

#20 Dejah

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 04:27 AM

Amazing! TP. :wub:

I can't get decent pork belly here in Brandon even tho' we have a hog processing plant right in the city. The price at the supermarket is indecent compared to the Asian butcher in Winnipeg, and it's always about an inch thick only. :wacko: So, I won't be doing any siu yuk until I make a trip to the big city.

Meanwhile, I'll enjoy vicariously. So, siu-on for Sue-On! :laugh: :laugh:

For leftover (possible?) siu yuk, steam pieces with ham ha...crackling and all. This will become infused with flavour and slightly chewy. YUM! :wub:
Dejah
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#21 Tepee

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 04:33 AM

Awww....

When we don't get our pork belly from the wet market, I get them from the nearby hypermarkets. Those on the counters are only about 2-inch thick. But I ask (very nicely) the resident butchers and they bring out their uncut meat for me to choose exactly how much I want. :wub:
TPcal!
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Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

#22 junehl

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 04:55 AM

Congratulations Tepee, it looks great!

I wish our markets around here are nice like that tepee, everything seems to be coming in more and more prepackaged, not as much self portioning at the stores. But I think I found a few butcher shops that I'm excited to try.

#23 muichoi

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 09:50 AM

All I use for flavouring is a dry rub of five spice and salt on the flesh side, I then poke the skin with this gorgeous looking implement !click! (Well, actually not this one as it’s new and fairly blunt – read the topic for explanation!!)
If your pork belly is of good quality then the skin should be nice and dry anyway, there will be no need to treat it with boiling water/vinegar/lemon juice etc.  Besides I’m not sure how effective any of that stuff really is.  Rub a mixture of coarse and fine salt onto the skin and roast as normal on a medium heat on a trivet.  My idea is just to cook the meat till it’s done ignoring the crackling.  I roast mine for only about an hour and fifteen in a 180C oven by which time the meat is still succulent but the crackling is nowhere near done. 
Now comes the grilling/broiling part; under a moderate heat, blister the skin evenly all over until it’s just about to char.  Too much and you’ll get that acrid burnt skin taste, too little and it’ll still be chewy.  In a perfect world your belly will be flat (pork belly that is) and your grill will grill evenly. But the real world isn’t flat and even (literally) so you will be moving your belly around placing shunts underneath to make sure the skin blisters evenly.  When you’re done the crackling will have big blisters all over and maybe a little charring – pretty unappetising.  But let it cool a little (hot crackling is never crispy) then gently scrape way the top layer with a sharp knife.  As you scrape an even layer of thin crispy golden crackling will reveal itself to you. 
That’s it, that’s my method!  My mother mentioned once that there’s an extra step the pros do with bicarbonate of soda to make the crackling even lighter, but she was hazy with the details so I’ve never experimented.   
I’ve never used maltose on pork belly skin, I think that is more for ducks and geese to give that lacquered finish.  Maybe it’s used for suckling pig but that is a different beast and method altogether.

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I just made Siu Yook. I salted/five spiced the flesh in the usual way, but rubbed the skin side with soda and left overnight skin side down. In the morning I washed off the soda with wet kitchen towels and let it dry skin side up. I pricked the skin soon after it went into the oven. The result was miraculous, and clearly what restaurants do. Highly recommended.

#24 Prawncrackers

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 11:39 AM

Ahh so my mother was right! Not that i ever doubted her of course :wink:
How much soda did you use? Will definitely try it out next time.

#25 muichoi

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 12:04 PM

About 2 teaspoons for 3lbs of pork. But I don't think it's critical since it's wiped off anyway.

#26 sheetz

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 12:07 PM

My grandmother says the same thing about rubbing the skin with soda to make it crisper.

#27 junehl

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 05:23 PM

Soda? Baking soda? Eh?

#28 sheetz

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 03:52 PM

Soda?  Baking soda?  Eh?

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Yes, baking soda.

#29 Prawncrackers

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 12:51 PM

Yesterday was the first opportunity i've had to make Siu Yook since i fixed my oven. I am also happy to confirm that a little bicarb on the skin does help to make it a little lighter and crispier. Though unlike muichoi i left the soda on the skin throughout (after getting my mum to admit that this was the right way to do it!). My wife says that it was the best yet, i would have to agree with her as it was also a great piece of pork to begin with. Anyway here it is:

Posted Image
Posted Image

And a close-up of the left-overs:
Posted Image

#30 junehl

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 12:56 PM

noooo, prawncrackers, i'm on a diet...those pictures make me want to go and try and make some now :(





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