Indonesian Sweet and Sour Pork
Barbecue Babi Panggang
There must be hundreds of variations to the basic Indonesian Sweet and Sour Pork recipe. This particular Babi Pangang recipe is from the Indonesian mother in law of a friend who always makes it in a saucepan, more like a stew. Although the saucepan method yields very tasty results, my favourite Babi Panggang is on the basis of roasted meat. So I have adapted the recipe and changed it to Barbecue Babi Pangang: delicious Indonesian barbecue!
In the Malay language, "Babi Pangang" (or "Babi Panggang") means Roasted Pork. This dish probably originates from the Chinese community in Indonesia, or from the Christian parts of the country, or both.
To call Babi Pangang an Indonesian version of Chinese Sweet and Sour Pork does not do justice to the unique taste and texture of this fine example of traditional Chinese-Indonesian cooking.
Babi Pangang is quite easy to make on the barbecue and is absolutely delicious.
For our barbecue babi panggang you will need the following ingredients:
|Pork (any kind will do, as long as not too lean);|
|Indonesian Sweet and Sour Marinade|
|Indonesian Sweet and Sour Sauce #1|
|Atjar Tjampoer (or "Tjampur"), drained weight|
|Pineapple (fresh or canned)|
In principle, you can take any kind of pork to make Babi Panggang, as long as it is not too lean. I personally prefer pork belly or pork side, which is the meat shown on the pictures.
Check the meat, removing all loose pieces of meat, bone particles and excess fat.
Put the meat in a sealable non-reactive bowl, plastic container or "zip-lok" bag, and add the Indonesian Sweet and Sour Marinade.
Make sure all sides of the meat are covered by the marinade.
Marinate the meat for at least a couple of hours, but prefereably overnight or longer. Turn the meat frequently to ensure even cover by the marinade.
When you are ready to put the meat on the barbecue, take it out of the marinade.
Don't throw away the marinade - it's the best barbecue sauce you ever tasted! Collect the leftover liquid, onion, garlic and ginger in a saucepan and bring it to the boil a couple of times to sterilize. Set aside until needed.
A word of caution here: when working with raw meat, make sure all work surfaces, utensils and your hands are thoroughly clean before you start, and clean thoroughly immediately after you finish.
Light My Fire!
While the meat is absorbing the marinade, prepare your barbecue for indirect grilling. I top off a Weber starter chimney with charcoal briquettes, although in summer a bit less should do the trick also.
Juancho's Split Grill
Since 2004 or so, I've been setting up my Weber barbecues for indirect grilling in a way which differs from the Weber text-book. My friends call this method for improving Weber smoking performance Juancho's Split Grill, and it works excellent for me, giving me a lower smoking temperature, longer smoking duration, and improved temperature control.
Over the years my "Split Grill" has gone through some stages of development, but it goes roughly like this:
Juancho's Split Grill
To obtain sustained lower heat and improved temperature control, and to increase the grate area and be able to accommodate more meat or larger cuts, I developed an improved hot smoking method whereby the Weber Grill is set up for indirect grilling on one side.
I always use charcoal briquettes because I like their even shape and size.
Advantages of Charcoal Briquettes
For indirect grilling on a barbecue you will need a grill that can be closed - like for example a Weber BBQ - so it keeps the heat inside, like an oven.
About Indirect Grilling
I put a few chuncks of smokewood in the coal pocket before I dumped the hot coal into it.
Alternatively, you could also put a few water soaked sticks of smoke wood (say about 1"-2" thick and 3"-5" long) on top of the charcoal once the charcoal in the barbecue is glowing and grey.
It works either way, but with the smokewood on top you probably have a bit more control.
Because of the fairly high temperature of the charcoal fire during hot smoking, and to prevent the smokewood from burning too fast, I soak my smoke wood in a bucket of water for a couple of days prior to use.
With the glowing briquettes, the smokewood and the drip pan in place, I close the lid of my kettle smoker in order to let the fire settle and pre-heat the interior.
As soon as you see that beautiful plume of Hot Smoke (!) coming out of that little Weber, it is about time to take control of the fire by closing the bottom vent holes half way.
The top vent holes will ALWAYS remain fully open!
Have a break!
From now on, all you need to do is give this baby a good hot and smokey rest. And you deserve a rest too!
Have a(nother) beer, or a coke, take a rest. Enjoy that beautiful smell of fresh burning apple or oak wood mixed with roasting meat... Watch that whisp of Hot Smoke curling away from your barby . . .
Advantages of Indirect Grilling and Hot Smoking
About Hot Smoking Temperature
Since this slowfood pork will have to cook for a number of hours on a slow fire until really well done - without burning and turning black as wet charcoal - I use an electronic thermometer to continuously monitor the temperature inside the barbecue.
By adjusting the bottom vent holes gradually between open and closed, I try to keep the temperature inside the barbecue in between 300F to 350F (about 150C to 180C).
Mostly depending on ambient temperature and wind - and the resulting required burning speed of the briquettes - you may have to add some ten to fifteen glowing briquettes after about two or three hours.
Making Babi Panggang Sauce
For our Babi Panggang we actually make two sauces: One that we put the meat in, and one that we put on top of the meat.
If for whatever reason you don't want to make two sauces, just make either one of these two (both sauce recipes are very good) and put it over the meat.
Prepare Sweet 'n Sour Sauce #1
We call this our Sweet 'n Sour Sauce No. 1 because this was the first babi panggang sauce we made.
Indonesian Sweet and Sour Sauce #1
I got this Indonesian Sweet and Sour Sauce recipe from the Indonesian mother-in-law of a friend. You can use it for Indonesian Sweet and Sour Pork and Chicken.
Sweet 'n Sour Sauce #2 (ex-Marinade)
We call this our Sweet 'n Sour Sauce No. 2, not because No. 1 is better, but because this was the second babi panggang sauce we made.
Indonesian Sweet and Sour Sauce #2
After marinating your meat in the Indonesian Sweet and Sour Marinade, don't throw away the marinade - it's the best barbecue sauce you ever tasted! Collect the leftover liquid, onion, garlic and ginger in a saucepan and bring it to the boil a couple of times to sterilize.
Atjar Tjampur and Pineapple Slices
For this recipe I took the easy way out and bought some ready to serve Atjar Tjampur and Pineapple slices. Drain the pot and heat the Atjar in the microwave. The slices of pineapple can be heated on the barbecue grill.
When to Quit Smoking?
After some three to four hours of hot smoking at a temperature of in between 300F to 350F and without opening the lid too often, this piece of pork side should be really well done.
You could check doneness using a meat thermometer. With the point of the probe stuck in the thickest parts of the meat the thermometer should read at least 175F (80C).
I prefer to use the simple method: take a knife and cut the meat open halfway, prefereably at a point where you were going to cut or slice the meat anyway. Within two seconds you will have all the info you need, without any doubt.
Once you have confirmed the meat is well done, put it on a cutting board and cover loosely with aluminium foil. Let rest for some ten minutes to allow the juices inside the meat to re-distribute, thus making it taste even better!
Serving Babi Panggang
I like to serve barbecue Babi Panggang in the following manner.
The PitBoss Suggests:
This Babi Pangang should be accompanied by plain white rice, fried rice or noodles. Vegetables like stir-fry pointed head cabbage or cooked green beans will go along very well also.
A few examples of suitable side dishes:
Malaysian Rice with Ginger, Garlic and Shallots
Nasi Kampung - Malaysian Fried Rice
Cold beer (!) will go well with any barbecue, but especially with Babi Panggang! Also very suitable: cold mineral water with some thin slices of lemon.
During preparing and smoking of the meat you should have pleanty of time to make yourself a Hot Smoke Long Drink, although - if you have friends and family hanging around - that should not really be a job for the keeper of the fire . . .
Aah yes, and then there's Rianna and Juanita... No need to worry about them. Whatever's on the menu, they will always stick to their red Malbec, Rioja, Merlot . . .