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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.

Picture of Babi Panggang

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.


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Ingredients

For our barbecue babi panggang you will need the following ingredients:


1.5 pounds
1 cup
1 cup
1/2 pound
slices
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.


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Preparation

Photo of Marinade for Indonesian Sweet and Sour Pork or Chicken You'd best do the following activities one or two days in advance of your planned barbecue.

Prepare the Indonesian Sweet and Sour Marinade in accordance with the Hot Smoke BBQ recipe;

Check the meat, removing all loose pieces of meat, bone particles and excess fat.

Photo of piece of pork belly swimming in Indonesian sweet and sour marinade 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.

Picture of piece of pork belly, just taken out of Indonesian sweet and sour marinade Use a spoon to scrape off any excess marinade and any pieces of onion, garlic or ginger that might stick to the meat. Keep the meat cool until you put it on the grill.

By cooking the used Indonesian sweet and sour marinade you will obtain a wonderful barbecue sauce 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.


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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.

Weber 23inch kettle barbecue set up for indirect grilling in SPLIT-GRILL mode Pour about half an inch of water in the drip pan. Some fanatics will replace the water with beer or wine. It may sound idiot, but you will notice the difference!


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

Photo of Juancho's Split Grill by Blue Smoke BBQ. 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.

Charcoal Briquettes

I always use charcoal briquettes because I like their even shape and size.

Advantages of Charcoal Briquettes

Photo of Charcoal Briquettes by Blue Smoke BBQ. Learn how I found out the hard way that with briquettes it is easier to control and maintain the fire and temperature inside the barbecue than when using regular "lump" charcoal.

Indirect Grilling

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

Photo of Barbecue set up for Indirect Grilling - by Blue Smoke BBQ. Check out how during "indirect grilling" the meat is roasted by the hot gasses of the fire, at medium temperature, and as far away as possible from the direct radiation heat of the flames.

Smoke Wood

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.

Click HERE to read more about SMOKE WOOD


Juancho's BBQ Tip
Smoke is like a condiment, adding a specific taste to your food, like salt and pepper. And just like you don't want your food to get too salty or too spicy, you don't want too much smoke either.
Too much smoke will leave a bitter and/or creosote taste on your food. In general: do not exaggerate on the smoke.
                                            Just a whisp should be enough.

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.


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Let's Smoke!

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!

Picture of a piece of pork side that was just taken out of the marinade and put on the barbecue smoker grill Once everything has heated properly I put the meat on the grate above the drip pan, away from the hot direct radiation of the fire.


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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!

Hot Smoke Barbecue - Juancho's Split Grill: Fire and Beer!!! 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

Photo of Grilling Spare Ribs and a Boston Butt by Blue Smoke BBQ. Discover the advantages of indirect grilling in combination with hot smoking, such as juicier meat, a special smoky taste, no toxic fumes or charring of meat, plenty of time, etc. etc.


About Hot Smoking Temperature

Hot Smoke Barbecue - Thermometer 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).

Picture of a piece of pork side that has been on the barbecue smoker grill for about one hour 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.

Picture of a piece of pork side that has been on the barbecue smoker grill for about two hours Try to resist peeking under the lid too often. Each time you open the lid you will lose heat, which will delay the cooking of the meat. (On the other hand, what the heck! Relax!)


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

Indonesian Sweet and Sour Sauce No. 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

Indonesian Sweet and Sour Sauce No. 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.


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Atjar Tjampur and Pineapple Slices

Photo of Atjar Tjampoer by Conimex and Inproba 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.

Photo of hot smoked pork side.

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!


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Serving Babi Panggang

I like to serve barbecue Babi Panggang in the following manner.

-

Photo of hot smoked Pork Side cut into 1/4inch slices.Cut the meat in 1/4" thick slices;

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Photo of sliced hot smoked Pork Side put on top of Indonesian Sweet 'n Sour (Marinade) Sauce #2. Spread the Indonesian Sweet 'n Sour Sauce #2 (ex-Marinade) on a pre-heated plate; Lay the sliced pork on top of the sauce #2;

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Photo of Atjar Tjampur spread over slices of hot smoked Pork Side. Spread the pre-heated Atjar Tjampur on top of the sliced meat;

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Picture of Indonesian Sweet 'n Sour Sauce #1 over the Atjar Tjampur. Spread the Indonesian Sweet 'n Sour Sauce #1 over the Atjar Tjampur;

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Picture of Indonesian Sweet 'n Sour Pork a.k.a. Babi Panggang. Finish the Babi Panggang dish with the pre-heated Pineapple Slices, making sure every guest has at least one slice.


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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

Photo of Malaysian Rice with Garlic, Ginger and Shallots - by Blue Smoke BBQ. This Malaysian Rice Dish is a wonderful companion for your Asian barbecue like grilled satay or roasted Oriental chicken.

or:

Nasi Kampung - Malaysian Fried Rice

Photo of Nasi Kampung Malaysian Fried Rice with green beans and shallots by Blue Smoke BBQ. This Nasi Goreng Kampung is a Malaysian Fried Rice Recipe which goes along very well with Asian barbeque like grilled satay, barbecue chicken or smoked spareribs.


Favorite Drinks

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 . . .







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