Corinne Trang: Asian Pulled Pork Sandwich 3 Ways

Corinne Trang

L to R: Raw, Rubbed, Smoked

Corinne Trang, author of The Asian Grill, and local Fairfield County resident, is back with some sensational summer smoking. These week she is serving up recipes for ASIAN PULLED PORK SANDWICH including her famous ASIAN FIVE-SPICE DRY RUB, ASIAN BBQ SAUCE, and ASIAN COLESLAW. Get smoking tips for your next cookout, or just enjoy her tasty take on this American classic 

My Asian-inspired pulled pork sandwich...yes, I dared!

I finally did it. After a few weekends of barbecuing on my Weber Performer (the last time, smoking a chicken), I got up the courage to use their massive 22-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker. I must admit to have been a little overwhelmed by its appearance. Intimidating, it looks like no other BBQ equipment I’ve ever used before. The encouraging thing is that I’m in good hands when it comes to barbecuing, my pitmaster friends always ready to offer some good tips at a moment’s notice.

Taking the bull by the horns, I decide to tackle the task at hand on my own at first. Following the instructions in the manual, I study Smokey from the bottom up, building the fire in the pit, filling the water pan with equal parts water and 100% fruit juice, and placing the spice-rubbed pork butts (top part of the shoulder), fat side down on the grates directly above. There is nothing more simple, quite frankly. It’s maintaining the temperature at 250°F for 12 hours for each of the 9-pound butts that can be tricky.

For someone like me who is extremely tactile and curious, keeping the lid closed throughout the cooking is definitely challenging. I want to see what’s happening, but any pitmaster will tell you “if you’re looking, you’re not cooking!” That makes sense, because if I wanted to check out the butts, as often as I do, the meat would be raw after 12 hours of cooking, from opening the lid too often. I’m not used to not looking, but this time, I decide to be patient, which definitely pays off in absolutely delicious pork butts, buttery in consistency with meat falling off the bones effortlessly. Registering at 195°F internally, I pull the meat, chop it, and stack it on a bun, topped with my hoisin-based BBQ sauce and Asian coleslaw, for my version of the classic American pulled pork sandwich.

CT’S ASIAN FIVE-SPICE DRY RUB
(enough for two 9 to 10 pound pork butts)

1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
CT’s secret spice(s); every pitmaster has at least one!

Mix together well and sprinkle generously all over the pork butt or shoulder.

CT’s ASIAN BBQ SAUCE
(makes 2 cups; enough to moisten 24 pulled pork sandwiches)

1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin (sweet sake)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons sriracha (smooth chili sauce)
1 ounce ginger, freshly grated
1 large garlic clove, freshly grated
1 scallion, minced
CT’s secret ingredient!

Whisk together well and drizzle over pulled pork sandwich

CT’s ASIAN COLESLAW
(makes a lot, enough for a small crowd!)

1/4 cup shiro-miso (white miso)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce
2 pounds shredded green cabbage
One 12-ounce bag shredded broccoli and carrot mix
1 small to medium onion, minced
1/2 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
CT’s secret ingredient

In a large bowl, stir together the miso, vinegar, mirin, chili-garlic sauce, oil, and honey. Add the cabbage, broccoli and carrots, onion, bell pepper, and toss well. Let macerate for 2 hours, tossing occasionally to redistribute the ingredients and dressing.

I can tell you that the recipes above are delicious even with a few ingredients missing. This wasn’t my idea, but I was told it is necessary and just the way it is in the BBQ world. You just never know when I might compete, and I wouldn’t want to come up against you with my recipes.

Beverage of choice…a cold beer!

Check out Corinne's web site for more great tips.