The Chinese are the O.G. originators of char siu which is barbecued pork, and the Japanese version is a braised version with a soy-based flavoring.
If you have had ramen before, you know there are two common approaches to eating your chashu:
- Either you set it patiently aside like dessert treat at the end of your meal to only have your significant other (S.O.) take it from your bowl, and as you are watching them eat it right in front of you, you decide to be a little wiser way regardless if you have do or do not have an S.O.
- That approach is to ration it out throughout your meal, so that you make sure you don’t end up with just a bowl of noodles…. kind of like you eating alone, by yourself, just you and your noodles, with no juicy, tender, savory chashu to pair with your noodles, very sad.
The most common cuts are either belly or shoulder although I also love the jowl/cheek (guancia) which the Italians are most famously known for curing into guanciale.
Unfortunately, most of the time I have had pork shoulder, it has always been dry, chewy, and just crap although that has typically been the case at most old school ramen shops that have since disappeared over the years such as Kohryu in Coast Mesa which is now Kitakata Ban Nai.
After doing a small tasting with neighbors who had never had ramen before, I realized I would need to test out pork shoulder which was going to be a challenge since I had never roasted one before (stewed, yes).
After a ton of research reading and watching YouTube vids from the pro’s of the pork world, BBQ’er’s. I merged those techniques with a number of techniques used by the Japanese, and the results, well you’ll soon find out although for the time being feel free to lick your monitor which allows you to taste the chashu (only works on LED displays).
I’m hooked on this pork shoulder, so I can’t resist making sandwiches out of it even though I need to test it in my ramen.
Ohhhh, jeeebus, I’m using a lot of the ingredients I have for the ramen, but as a sammich, I can’t stop eating it this way which is why I’m going to do sandwiches and ramen. #cantstopwontstop