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Siu Yook (Roast Pork Belly)

Chinese

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112 replies to this topic

#31 Prawncrackers

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 01:26 PM

Mwahahaha!!! You know you shouldn't have opened this thread if you're on a diet :biggrin:

Now you have, you might as well try to make some for yourself. It's really quite sraightforward, i promise!

#32 muichoi

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 01:50 PM

That looks magnificent. No residual soda taste?

#33 Prawncrackers

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 02:16 PM

That looks magnificent. No residual soda taste?

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None at all, I gave it a good scraping at the end so there would have been virtually no soda left on it anyway. Besides i didn't use much, maybe just under a level teaspoon or so.
It would be interesting next time to see how effective it really is, maybe treat one half the pork with it and the other half without. Whose next in line to try it?

#34 hzrt8w

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 03:13 PM

This topic is becoming a "cook off" of siu yook. Marvelous! :cool: :laugh:
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#35 Tepee

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 05:25 PM

Tks, muichoi, for the heads-up. Yum yum yum, prawncracker, it looks so good! Next time I'm going to try will be in a fortnight's time. Can't wait! And make it again for gaw doong (winter solstice) reunion dinner. Can you feel my excitement?
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#36 Dejah

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 04:48 AM

That looks magnificent. No residual soda taste?

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Whose next in line to try it?

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I'm itching to try, but can't get good belly until I get into the city again - probably during December sometime. The prices at local supermarkets are way out of range for the amount and quality I'd want.

All the preceeding slabs look incredible! :wub:
Dejah
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#37 milgwimper

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 06:39 AM

Oh this thhread is terrible for my hips. I was thinking of getting pork belly to make samgyup sal but I think now I need to get two! I will be trying this sometime this month. Thanks! Yumm Porky goodness! :wub: I will report here after it is done. If I am lucky it will happen this week.

#38 origamicrane

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 04:53 PM

hi all
after reading this thread and the pork belly thread in the cooking forum
decided to do a little experiment on how to get the best crackling.

So everyone agrees main prerequisites are dry skin, good fat layer, scored/pierced skin, salt and lots of heat.
But after reading the two threads I learnt that sometimes the reason we don’t get good crackling is that we haven’t denatured the skin enough as the tough skin prevents the blistering and crackling from forming.
So we can denature the skin by scoring, piercing, heating or using chemcials to attack it :smile:

So here I have two pieces of pork belly and I plan to divides these into 8 pieces and prep each one slightly differently to see which gives the best cracking results.

bellies
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overview
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so here's the fat layer on my pork bellies.
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it’s a little hairy so used a blowtorch to just singe off the bristles .
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then I scraped the skin with a sharp knife a few times to removes the burnt bristle ends
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then I made 5mm score lines using a clean craft knife.
For sui yuk we have that spiked hammer thing but for some reason I can’t find mine anywhere :huh: so I just settled for score lines instead
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I boiled 5 litres of water
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put the pork bellies on a wire rack in the sink and slowly pour the boil water on to scald the skin. the skin contracts a lot when you do this.
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lots of steam :smile:
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I pat dry the skin with paper towels and then sprinkle 2 teaspoons of salt over the skin of each belly and rub it in
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I cut the flesh in 1 inch sections down to the first fat layer
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rubbed in my marinade of
1t salt
½ t sugar
1t five spice powder
½ t white pepper
5 clove minced garlic
1 T meen see/miso
1T hoisin sauce (but I didn’t have any in the house today)


so far this is a pretty typical siu yook preparation.

Now I divide the pork bellies into 8 pieces for my 8 tests
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so the 8 tests are

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Test 1. make more score lines both horizontal and vertical, this will be my control piece.

Test 2. use a blow torch and lick the surface of the skin with the flame until I see the skin dry and change colour but I don’t burn or blister the skin.

Test 3. brush lemon juice on. As it is acidic it should denature the skin.

Test 4. brush vinegar another acid to denature the skin.

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Test 5. brush lye water (kan sui) or 50% potassium carbonate in solution. An alkali used to denature the skin and is the traditional Chinese method I believe.

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Test 6. brush baking powder/ bicarbonate of soda – 50% sodium bicarbonate in solution. Probably the most common alkali in a western kitchen and you are more likely to have this then lye water.

Test 7. brush alcohol – 40% vodka – dehydrates and denatures proteins, although I read that I actually need a 70-80% solution to really do the job.

Test 8. brush kiwi juice - contains a protein digesting enzyme called Actinidain and i use this to tenderise tough cuts of beef.

so here are the 8 piece on a platter
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these go back into the fridge uncovered for 24 hours to dry some more.

I will cook these tomorrow :wink:
stay tuned and fingers crossed I get some success.

oh and happy new year!! :biggrin:

Edited by origamicrane, 11 February 2008 - 05:35 PM.

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

#39 heidih

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 05:20 PM

Wow- thanks for taking one for the team. Looking forward to your results.

#40 muichoi

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 05:46 PM

Me too-er, baking powder is different to baking soda!

#41 origamicrane

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 06:02 PM

Me too-er, baking powder is different to baking soda!

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yep didn't have any plain soda in the house
but baking powder has baking soda in it so hopefully this will work.

the one i am betting on to work well are the lye water and the lemon as they are the most alkaline and acid of the lot.
But the one i be most interested in seeing are the kiwi and the vodka because as far as i can tell no one has tried either of these.
"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

#42 CFT

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 06:03 PM

OC, your first name wouldn't be Heston by any chance? :wink:
I look forward to seeing the results.

Edited by CFT, 11 February 2008 - 06:04 PM.

Best Wishes,
Chee Fai.

#43 Dejah

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 08:02 PM

Where have you been, origamicrane? What a great "re-entry"! Looking forward to the results!
Dejah
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#44 origamicrane

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 12:30 AM

Where have you been, origamicrane? What a great "re-entry"! Looking forward to the results!

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hiya
yeah i haven't been posting much for a while guess i've been busy :smile:
back now :wink:
"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

#45 Prawncrackers

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 02:30 AM

Fantastic experiment can't wait to see the results. It's shame you couldn't find your spikey implement as i think it gives a very different finish to scoring. Mind you it gives you an excuse to run another tasty experiment!

#46 origamicrane

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 03:21 AM

Fantastic experiment can't wait to see the results.  It's shame you couldn't find your spikey implement as i think it gives a very different finish to scoring.  Mind you it gives you an excuse to run another tasty experiment!

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yeah will be repeating this experiment until i get it right
all in the name of science of course :wink:

yeah there is definitely a difference between spiking and scoring the skin
but hopefully we be able to tell which method gives the best results.

I've been wondering where my spiked hammer has gone actually
maybe my dad taken it down to the shop.. hmmm..... :huh:
anyway i ordered a 35 blade jaccard the other day so I definitely will be repeating this within the next few weeks using only spiking.

Just had a peek this morning and the torched, lye and lemon sections defintely looked a lot drier then the rest followed by the vinegar, soda, vodka.
The wettest looking where the plain scored one and the kiwi one.

just 10 more hours in the fridge and then i can cook them, can't wait to get home from work today. :smile:
"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

#47 sheetz

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 07:29 AM

Great experiment! BTW, baking powder is pH balanced because it includes an acid along with the soda.

Edited by sheetz, 12 February 2008 - 07:29 AM.


#48 origamicrane

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 08:09 AM

Great experiment! BTW, baking powder is pH balanced because it includes an acid along with the soda.

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good point
hmmm... oh well... scrap one piece.
will get the proper stuff for the next attempt. :smile:
"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

#49 origamicrane

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 04:51 PM

ok
just cooked my pork bellies.

so took the bellies out of the fridge and then lightly sprinkled some more salt on the top.
I used a salt shaker and probably used less then a teaspoonful of salt on the 8 pieces.

Cooking times and temperatures:

put in middle rack of a preheat oven
start with 20 minutes at 240C
then 20 minutes at 200C
then 10 minutes at 240C
followed by 5-10 minutes under the grill
whilst carefully monitoring that crackling isn't burning.

Even before i finished cooking i could already see which ones were working and which weren't. After the initial 20 minutes at 240C you could see that the lye, torched, soda and vodka was already blistering and the kiwi one looked like it was burning.

so the results are as follow :biggrin:

here's a picture of all of the pieces after being in the fridge for 24 hours
you can see which ones have dried more by the slightly dark skin tones the white ones are the ones that are still more wet.
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here's what they looked like after cooking
a little bit of burning but nothing a good knife scrap won't remove.
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and here is a cross section off all of them together
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TEST 1 - BLOW TORCHED SKIN

torched skin after 24 hours in the fridge
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out of all the pieces this was pretty much the driest skin, touching it you could tell if was very dry and hard.

torched crackling
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had a pretty even bubbling and colour

torched cross section
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Verdict: very even colour and even crackling, good crunch with a little resistance.

TEST 2 - LEMON JUICE

lemon skin after 24 hours in the fridge
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this looked dryish but the skin still had some suppleness.

lemon crackling
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good crackling again not as even but good colour

lemon cross
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Verdict: a harder crunch then the blow torched and slightly chewy.

TEST 3 - VINEGAR

vinegar skin after 24 hours in the fridge
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similiar to the lemon skin but seemed wetter still.

vinegar crackling
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pretty similiar to the lemon in colour and blistering

vinegar cross
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Verdict: this crackling was lighter and had a softer crunch compared to the lemon crackling.

TEST 4 - KIWI

kiwi skin after 24 hours in the fridge
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the skin was the wettest out of all of them

kiwi crackling
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err..... picture says it all, it didn't form crackling but instead turned into burnt plastic skin.

kiwi cross
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Verdict: complete failure i guess a protein digestive enzyme is no good for crackling, maybe it digested so much of teh skin that there was nothing to blister? I know that if I use kiwi juice to tenderise meat for more then 6 hours it turns the meat into meat paste.

TEST 5 - VODKA

vodka skin after 24 hours in the fridge
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this was surprising, as the skin seemed pretty dry

vodka crackling
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very even crackling and colour whilst this was cooking i could see this was the one that was forming the most uniform crackling

vodka cross
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Verdict: a very good crackling, light crunch, very even blistering and colouring.

TEST 6 - BAKING POWDER

baking powder skin after 24 hours in the fridge
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skin was pretty dry and seemed hard, not very supple.

baking powder crackling
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This looked like it was forming good crackling at the end of the designated cooking time but the middle still hadn't blister completely so I left it under the grill for a further 3 minutes. End result was not as even colour or blistering.

baking powder cross
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Verdict: reasonably crunch but was noticably more chewy then the previous ones.

TEST 7 - LYE WATER

lye skin after 24 hours in the fridge
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this skin was very dry and took on a hard waxy appearance

lye crackling
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hehehe :smile: a picture says a thousand words? this was easily the best crackling in colour and blistering,
the crackling actually rose and seperated from the fat layer.
In fact this was already blistering in the initial 20 minutes of cooking.

lye cross
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Verdict: easily the best looking crackling and crunchiest but also had a very slight chewiness.

TEST 8 - SCORED

scored skin after 24 hours in the fridge
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this still looked pretty wet in comparison to the torched and alkaline brushed pieces.

scored crackling
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this one had the best golden colour and even blistering but might have been due to the fact it was the middle piece. I scored this one a lot more in both horizontal and vertical directions.

scored cross
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Verdict: this crackling was tougher and chewier then the rest although having said that it would still be acceptable to most people.

:biggrin:

This was great fun :) and the winner of the best crackling was easily won by the Lye Water. The baking powder did surprisingly well and next time i will use pure bicarbonate of soda rather then baking powder and see if i get an even better crackling.

So it looks like the chinese restaurants were right about lye water.
Lye water did produce the best crackling but it didn't produce the best siu yook in my opinion as siu yook should have the crackling still attached to the meat. :wink:

Surprisingly the best siu yook in my opinion was my wild card vodka as it had the best colour and crunch and most even blistering and still had the crackling attached to the meat. Think i will repeat this using a 60-80% alcohol solution next time and pit it against pure baking soda and lye water.

the worst one was the kiwi as it just started burning rather then blistering.

so my order of preference

1. vodka
2. lye
3. baking powder
4. torched
5. vinegar
6. lemon
7. scored
8. kiwi - not really counted as it completely failed

BTW just to clarify apart from the kiwi all the other 7 were really sucessful.
If I had to taste all 7 cracklings in a blind taste test, the lye and vodka would have been clear winners but for the remaining 5 it would have been very hard to distinguish between them.
So basically all the different methods do work very well but the lye and vodka do have the edge on lightness and crunchiness. :smile:

I will repeat this experiment again next month with the following changes
I will just use a spiked hammer to pierce the skin rather then score it
and i will do three tests

1. lye water
2. a 60-80% alcohol solution
3. a 50% bicarbonate of soda solution

and leave them for 2 days in the fridge.

If anyone has any observation or suggestions please let me know :)

Edited by origamicrane, 13 February 2008 - 03:52 PM.

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

#50 canucklehead

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 07:21 PM

This is really excellent - another step towards trying to make this at home. Really - fantastic.

#51 Tepee

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 11:06 PM

WB Sam! And, thanks for sharing The Great Crackling Experiment. Although I'm quite pleased (understatement) with my baking soda/vinegar method, I'm quite drawn to try the vodka and lye methods too. Soon, soon....

Pix of Saturday's siu yook.

Posted Image
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

#52 origamicrane

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 04:09 AM

hiya tepee
thanks haven't posted in a while but back now.

Please give them a try as need to know if others can replicate the same results.

I think that next time I will try using different types of alcohol too.
I wonder if using a brandy or a whiskey will add a detectable flavour or colouring to the crackling?

Might try overkill next time and triple up on some of the methods like flame it then, pierce it, then multiple score, then brush alcohol/lye and dry for 2-3 day in the fridge :biggrin:

also just added this to recipegullet
full recipe
"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

#53 CFT

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 04:27 AM

I wonder if your "lifting" crackling is due to scoring the skin too deeply? It's curling up like scored cuttlefish would do. Good job so far!
Best Wishes,
Chee Fai.

#54 origamicrane

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 04:53 AM

I wonder if your "lifting" crackling is due to scoring the skin too deeply? It's curling up like scored cuttlefish would do. Good job so far!

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it's possible as usually when i make siu yook with the spiked hammer the crackling never lifts off the meat....
but then again previous to last night i never made siu yook this way :)

maybe the lifting is a result of scoring instead of piercing?

Test 8 the scored piece had the most scoring of all the pieces and you can see that it has lifted a bit but not as much as the lye water piece.

I need some people to repeat these recipes to confirm if they get the same results as I had my fill of roast pork for at least a few weeks
my own roast pork sampling menu :)
hehehe :smile:
"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

#55 miladyinsanity

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 05:54 AM

I don't know how you do it, origamicrane, because after all that roast pork I'm not sure that I'd ever want to see another pig in my life. LOL.

But bravo!
May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

#56 muichoi

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 03:13 PM

Thanks for a brilliant and fascinating report. I shall try a combination of torching and lye water at the weekend. How much lye did you use?

#57 origamicrane

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 03:28 PM

Thanks for a brilliant and fascinating report. I shall try a combination of torching and lye water at the weekend. How much lye did you use?

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just enough to wet a pastry brush and brush the skin lightly and evenly.
Enough so you can definitely see there is thin layer of lye water all over the skin but not soo much that you can see it dripping off.
I look forward to hearing your results :smile:

Edited by origamicrane, 13 February 2008 - 03:39 PM.

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

#58 Prawncrackers

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 04:14 PM

So generally the old tried and tested ways faired well in your experiment which is a good sign. The surprise being Vodka. I remember my uncle telling me he uses brandy for his crackling. I've never tried his but i too thought it would affect the taste.
As for your crackling lifting, I've noticed in these past few months that mine does that when i've over treated with soda. So i'm using less and less each time especially if i've got a good piece of pork to begin with.
It might be an obvious statement but I've found that the quality of the pork really affects the quality of the crackling. If you start with a flaccid wet piece of pork then you need to treat the skin more to get the desired affect. So here's another set of variables for your next set of experiments: different types of pork!! :wink:
If you can get them have a go with some rare-breed stuff like Tamworth or Old Spot pork. I've tried all sorts with some mixed results. The best results i've had are from a good butchers close-by that stocks just ordinary commercial British pork but i'm convinced it's the way they prepare and store their meat that makes it so good for Siu Yook. It always seems like it's been hung well, the meat is dark and firm, with a clear contrast between meat and fat and the skin is parchment dry.

Oh and Tepee, you've been holding out on this thread because that is some fantastic looking pork!!

#59 origamicrane

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 04:39 PM

  So here's another set of variables for your next set of experiments: different types of pork!!  :wink:

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oouuhh!!!! different types of pork :smile:
never thought of that.
Think i will have to take a visit to the Ginger Pig buthcers. :smile:

My parents actually said last night that although the crackling was good they have made better. They been in the restaurant trade for over 30 years now and they said that back 20 years ago they could get the most amazing crackling with the minimum of effort. They said they just pierced the skin, rubbed salt and hung it to dry for a few days and the whole piece would blister perfectly.
One of the reason i started this experiment was that they complained that when they make siu yook nowadays the result are quite variable sometimes good sometimes bad and they are convinced it because of the quality of the pork available to us.
"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

#60 Tepee

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 06:56 PM

Prawncrackers: Yes, that was a roast I was proud of...my guests couldn't get enough. I used a gillette blade to score the skin in criss-crosses very close together, around 2mm. It's actually quite effortless with a new blade. The denaturing was done by rubbing baking soda on the scored skin and leaving it to dry in the fridge overnight. After around 12 hours, I brushed rice vinegar on it. Lovely bubbling sight it was. I then dabbed off as much as I could with paper towels.

Origamecrane:
After pouring boiling water over the meat, we get a half cooked half raw chunk of meat. Even rubbing copious amount of salt on it left me wondering how safe it was. And you're thinking of stretching that to 2 or 3 days? Reassure me, please.
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





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