Sticky Chinese BBQ pork served in lettuce cups with crunchy vegetables is a great, healthy dinner and will have your family licking their plates.
So here’s the deal with this Chinese BBQ pork recipe. I’ve been dying to make a version of it for the longest time and I don’t know why, but I had it in my head that it was going to be super complicated and difficult and that I wouldn’t be able to do it (Oh, hi there self-doubt!) and I just kept putting it off. Until a few weeks ago when I had a beautiful roll of pork neck in the fridge, screaming at me to turn it into sticky, barbecuey (that’s totes a word now), porky goodness.
And you guys, this is embarrassingly easy to make. I promise. The hardest part is not dipping your finger into the scorching hot BBQ sauce because believe me, you don’t want to do that but I know it’s hard to resist because it’s so glossy and aromatic and just yum. But be patient. Let it do its thing and you will be rewarded. You could serve Chinese BBQ pork in a number of different ways but I wanted it to be a light, healthy but utterly delicious dinner and so I served sliced of the sticky pork in lettuce cups along with thin slices of cucumber, carrot and radish, a few sesame seeds and some finely chopped chilli.
I honestly thought my non-pork-loving-kids would turn their noses up at this but I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did they both eat 3/4 lettuce cups, they asked for more and couldn’t stop licking their plates afterwards. That sauce is magic, yo.
Chinese BBQ Pork lettuce wraps
for the BBQ sauce
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar I used muscavado
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/3 cup oyster sauce
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1 kg pork neck cut into lengths of around 10cm wide / 1kg pork fillet/tenderloin
for the lettuce wraps
- baby gem lettuce washed and separated
- 2 cups cucumber julienned
- 2 cups carrots julienned
- 1 cup radish thinly sliced
- sesame seeds
- finely chopped chilli optional
- To make the BBQ pork, combine all the marinade ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes until the sugar has dissolved then remove from the heat.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°c and line a baking tray with foil/parchment paper.
- Place the pork on the prepared tray and brush with the marinade.
- Place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and generously baste with the marinade.
- Place back in the oven and repeat this process until the pork is cooked to your liking (approximately 20-30 mins for pork fillet and 30-45 minutes for pork neck). When basting the pork, be generous and almost "press" the marinade onto the pork so it really clings and caramelises nicely).
- When the pork is cooked to your liking, switch on the grill of your oven and allow the pork to caramelise for 3-5 minutes until the marinade is sticky and dark.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Slice the pork and serve in lettuce cups with julienned vegetables, chilli and sesame seeds. Drizzle over extra BBQ sauce if needed.
- Serve immediately.