Aug 1, 2009

Alrighty, so this next post isn’t exactly a restaurant review… nor is it defined as beyond the borders of hope.  In fact, it’s at my parent’s house right in the heart of East Vancouver.  But I insist on sharing with the world how my family does barbeque at home!

a precursor to a feast!

a precursor to a feast!

First of all… it’s ALLLLLL about the meat!  You have your obligatory green salad and Momma’s specialty potato salad… but the rest of the meal is meat.  Vegetarians are not welcomed.  And it’s REAL meat.  If you’re looking for a hotdog or a hamburger patty… keep on walking!  You won’t find that crap at this party!

I happily snapped away with my camera throughout the meal to the amusement of everyone present.  As soon as food was plucked off the grill and placed onto the serving platter I had to literally beg everyone to give me a moment alone with the meat… (wait… that didn’t quite come out right… heh heh heh).

drumsticks and porksteaks and skewers... oh my!

drumsticks and porksteaks and skewers... oh my!

There was so much food we had to keep two grills going simultaneously.  Lemongrass porkball skewers (my Dad’s own specialty), lemon garlic chicken wings, charsiu style pork steaks, sweet and salty pork belly skewers, savoury and saucy baby back ribs AND short ribs… MMmMmMmm!!

So I’m gonna do something sacrilegious and share the recipe to my Dad’s skewers.  Now, as with most asian cooking there isn’t really any specific amounts of ingredients used so you’ll have to reach for the inner chef within you and go with the flow.  But for simplicity sake, I’ve also included a rough estimate of the ingredient amounts that you can use as a baseline and just add accordingly to suit your own taste.

lemongrass porkball skewers

lemongrass porkball skewers

  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 1/4 c lemongrass, minced
  • 5-10 garlic cloves, chopped finely (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp seasoning salt
  • 1-2 tsp pepper

Throw the whole mess into a very large and sturdy bowl and, using your hands, thoroughly blend everything together.  Once everything is well incorporated, you’ll have to scoop the entire amount of meat out of the bowl and throw it forcefully back down into the bowl.  Work fast otherwise the meat will go flying all over the place, and it’ll create a very loud bang on impact so make sure your pets, young children, and any highly strung adults aren’t in the vicinity when you do this.

Repeat this process a few more times… the more you do it the more smooth and paste-like the meat will become.  This allows for the meat to hold its shape better once they are rolled out.

Alright, now that you’ve worked your aggression out on next dinner, we’re gonna slow things down a bit and allow the seasonings the marinate its way into the meat.  Cover and set aside in the fridge for a few hours.  In the meanwhile, throw some wooden bamboo skewers into a pitcher full of water to let the wood soak.  About an hour before dinner, take the meat out and start to shape them into bite-sized balls.  Make sure they’re uniform in shape so that they all cook evenly.

Ahh… this reminds me of  the old days of sitting around the kitchen table with my sister, mom and whatever aunt that just happened to be around, encircling a GINORMOUS bowl of this stuff.  We were a meatball making factory!  I used to dread it… the call for my name when it was time to roll those damn balls!  But as I matured into the young woman that I am (hey it’s my blog, I can say what I want) I grew to appreciate family gossip for the fun past-time that it is.

But I digress…

Depending on the size of skewer, carefully thread on 5-7 meatballs evenly, making sure not to squish them together too much, otherwise they’ll take longer to cook.  Barbeque them over a well greased grill until it’s thoroughly cooked through and becomes a nice golden colour on the outside.  Serve and enjoy!  This recipe should make enough for 4 people as a main course, or 6-8 people as an appetizer.

X x X x X

All good things do come to an end though… we noticed that the platters began to take longer to empty as everyone started to slow down and it seemed that as soon as one person would push themselves away from the table, the rest followed like a line of dominoes.  Oh there was still so much food to eat… I felt almost guilty for becoming full.  Seeing all the leftovers made me sad because I wasn’t able to take any home with me… (the 6 hour drive makes it pretty inconvenient for any take-away.)

There’s no dish easier to make the next day than leftover barbecued meat served over a bowlful of vermicelli, shredded lettuce, fried onions and drizzled over lightly with some salty nuoc mam.  Yummy!!

ribs ribs ribs!

ribs ribs ribs!

  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp vinegar
  • 5 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced or 1 tbsp carrot, finely grated
  • 1 small chili pepper, finely sliced (optional)

Combine the water and sugar in a small bowl and stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.  Then stir in the remaining ingredients and use as pleased.  I like to keep mine in a glass jar and it stays in the fridge for up to 3 months.  Incidentally, this is the same sauce you’d use for any Vietnamese fare.