Pork Asado: How to Serve, Store, and Cook the Perfect Meal
In the Philippines, there are 2 types of Asado dishes.
One is the asado that came from Spaniards and means “grilled.” Then there’s this version of asado that came from Chinese settlers in the country.
The meat needs to be well marinated in the soy sauce and spice mixture before cooking. This ensures that the taste is rich and the meat is flavorful and tender.
After cooking and while serving, you’ll realize that besides being a Pinoy dish, asadong baboy still tastes oriental. After all, it’s a dish influenced by the Chinese!
It’s also a delicate dish because you’ll have to slice the slab after cooking.
You’ll also need to thicken the sauce so you can top it on the meat. It’ll take about an hour or so before you can prepare it.
It’s also popular in restaurants, not only in Chinese restaurants, but in Pinoy ones as well.
But the best way to eat it is at home when you’re with family because you’re forming a close and irreplaceable bond with them!
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 Origin
- 2 Cooking Tips for Delicious Pork Asado
- 3 How to Serve and Store Pork Asado: Tips and Tricks
- 4 Quality Pork: The Key Ingredient for Perfect Pork Asado
- 5 Chinese-Style Pork Asado vs Char Siu: What’s the Difference?
- 6 Conclusion
Back in the day, when Filipinos and merchants traded goods, people from China brought over a tasty dish that no one could resist. They gave Filipinos the pork asado recipe, which is a sweet and salty combination.
Pork asado (full Filipino recipe here) is actually based on a Chinese dish called “char siu” or “叉燒”. It’s a popular dish in Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
The literal translation of “char siu” is “fork roast” because in the old days, this dish was skewered with long forks and placed in front of an open fire to cook. It’s a grilled recipe, not braised pork.
In the Philippines, pork asado is usually marinated with soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onions, brown sugar, and Chinese spices like star anise and five spice.
People sometimes falsely assume that this dish is asado de puerco, which is the Spanish dish. But it’s not!
Pork asado is a Chinese-Filipino dish that has become one of the most popular comfort foods in the Philippines.
Cooking Tips for Delicious Pork Asado
Marinating the pork is an important way to ensure that the meat is flavorful and tender. The acids in the marinade help to denature the fibers in the meat, making it easier to cut and cook. Here are some tips for marinating pork asado:
- Marinate the pork overnight to allow the flavors to fully penetrate the meat.
- Use a marinade that contains acids like vinegar or citrus juice to help tenderize the meat.
- Add a little bit of red food coloring to the marinade to enhance the appearance of the finished dish.
Cooking the Pork
Cooking pork asado can be a little tricky, but with the right technique, you can ensure that the meat is perfectly cooked and juicy. Here are some tips for cooking pork asado:
- Cut the pork into smaller, uniform chunks to ensure that it cooks evenly.
- Remove any excess fat from the meat before cooking to prevent it from becoming too dry.
- Sear the meat in a hot pan to enhance the color and flavor of the pork.
- Braise the pork in a covered pan with potatoes to speed up the cooking time and ensure that the meat is tender and juicy.
- Rest the meat for a few minutes before serving to allow the juices to redistribute.
How to Serve and Store Pork Asado: Tips and Tricks
Here are some simple tips to make sure your pork asado dish is served properly:
- Slice the meat into uniform pieces: This will ensure that the meat is cooked evenly and looks pretty on the plate.
- Spread the sauce: Pour the reserved marinade over the sliced meat and spread it evenly. This will give the dish a great flavor and make it more hearty.
- Add sides: Pork asado goes well with steamed potatoes, bay leaves, and stir-fried onions. Make sure to add these to your dish to complement the flavors.
- Serve hot: Make sure to serve the dish hot, as it tastes best this way.
Quality Pork: The Key Ingredient for Perfect Pork Asado
When it comes to making a delicious pork asado, the quality of the pork you select is crucial. The dish is all about the meat, and using high-quality pork will ensure that your asado turns out perfectly tender, juicy, and flavorful. Here are some reasons why quality pork is important for pork asado:
- Quality pork is more tender and juicy, which is essential for a filling and satisfying main dish.
- High-quality pork has a better nutritional profile, with more vitamins and minerals than lower-quality meats.
- Pork from independent farmers and groups is often raised in a more humane and sustainable way, which is better for the environment and for animal welfare.
How to Find Quality Pork for Pork Asado
Now that you know why quality pork is important for pork asado, you may be wondering how to find the best pork for your recipe. Here are some tips for selecting high-quality pork:
- Look for pork that is labeled as “harvested in the United States.” This ensures that the pork was raised and processed in the U.S., which has higher standards for meat production than some other countries.
- Check the color of the pork. It should be a light pink color, with no dark spots or discoloration.
- Choose pork shoulder or tenderloin for the best results. These cuts are perfect for pork asado because they are tender and flavorful.
- Look for pork that is marbled with fat. This will help keep the meat moist and juicy during cooking.
Chinese-Style Pork Asado vs Char Siu: What’s the Difference?
Pork asado and char siu are two popular Chinese-style pork dishes that are often confused with each other. While they may look and taste similar, there are some key differences between the two.
Ingredients and Preparation
- Char siu is made with a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, hoisin sauce, and spices, while pork asado uses a combination of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar.
- Char siu is typically marinated for several hours before being roasted or barbecued, while pork asado is simmered in a mixture of water, soy sauce, and sugar until tender.
- Char siu uses red food coloring to give it its signature color, while pork asado is a bit lighter in color and uses a mixture of cornstarch and water to thicken the sauce.
- Both dishes use similar spices such as five-spice powder and bay leaf, but pork asado may also include ground white pepper and garlic.
Taste and Texture
- Char siu has a sweet and savory flavor with a slightly sticky texture, while pork asado has a more savory taste with a thicker sauce.
- Char siu is often sliced thinly and served as a main dish or as a filling for baozi or steamed buns, while pork asado is usually served as a side dish or as a topping for noodles or rice.
- Char siu is a Cantonese dish that originated in southern China, while pork asado is a Filipino dish that has Chinese roots.
- Char siu is often found in Cantonese-style restaurants, while pork asado is more commonly found in Filipino restaurants.
- Char siu is also commonly used in other Chinese dishes such as roasted duck and chicken, while pork asado is mainly used as a standalone dish.
So there you have it- everything you need to know about pork asado. It’s a delicious Filipino dish that you can easily make at home. Just remember to use quality pork, and to marinate it overnight. You can also use some of the tips I’ve mentioned here. So go ahead and give it a try!
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.