Candied Pork

I'm usually a fan of Asian food because it's quick, fairly healthy, and loved by me and my family. This time around, I'm not as concerned about the first two reasons and really focused on that last one. A marinated pork dish that's slow-roasted, then broiled with a sticky-sweet glaze renders bits of country ribs into something that tastes like savory candy. And it's what's for dinner!

You begin with pork country ribs that get sliced into bite-sized pieces and get a bath in a marinade consisting of sugar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, wine, garlic, ginger, and pepper. Reserving a little of it to make the foundation of a glaze you'll be using later, the rest gets a chance to flavor and tenderize the pork. Then a slow roasting of the pork in the oven for an hour is followed by broiling, both without and with the aforementioned glaze, which you'll make while the pork is roasting. The result is melt-in-your-mouth bits of pork that you'll love served with scallions and rice, as recommended in the recipe, but you'll also be tucking them into Asian tacos, fried rice, or just popping them into your mouth when you walk by the serving bowl!

A crisp cucumber salad, spring rolls, or dumplings are all delightful accompaniments to this complex savory-sweet dish. And feel free to serve some of the dry white wine you used in the marinade alongside to wash it all down. Cheers!

Candied Pork

  • 2 pounds pork country ribs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3 T. hoisin sauce
  • 2 T. dry white wine
  • 2 T. toasted sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 pieces candied ginger, minced
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 T. ketchup - I prefer to use a brand with no high fructose corn syrup in it
  • 2 T. honey
  • Sliced scallions for garnish

Using a fork, prick the pork all over to help the marinade penetrate the meat.

In a bowl, mix the sugar, soy, hoisin, wine, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and pepper. Remove half a cup of marinade and set aside. Place the meat in a large resealable bag and pour the marinade over. Press out the extra air, seal the bag, put it on a plate, and place it in the refrigerator for at least a half hour and up to four hours.

Place the reserved marinade in a small saucepan and bring to a boil to reduce by half. Once reduced, add the ketchup and honey to make a glaze; set aside.

Preheat the oven to 300° F. Line the bottom of a broiler pan (or a sheet pan) with foil and then place a wire rack on the pan. Remove the pork from the marinade and lay it on the rack. Pour ¼ cup water into the bottom of the pan and cover the pan tightly with foil. Roast, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue roasting until the meat begins to brown, 30-40 minutes. Remove the pan and allow the pork to rest while you prepare the broiler.

Heat the broiler and broil 7-9 minutes until the meat is fairly dark. Use a brush to paint the pieces of pork with a generous layer of the glaze; return to broiler. Watch carefully; broil for 3-4 minutes until the glaze is bubbly and dark brown in spots. Flip the meat and repeat the process.

Cool slightly and serve with the remaining glaze, sliced scallions, and steamed rice.

  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 90 minutes, plus marinating time

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