Red-Cooked Taiwanese Pork Shank

Posted Friday, January 31, 2020 by Sri. Tagged MEMO
EDITING PHASE:first draft

Red-cooked Taiwanese-style Pork Shank

Reconstruction by Sri!

FIRST, acquiring the meat. You can sometimes find a "whole fresh picnic shoulder" at the supermarket, but availability varies. You will want them to cut it in half if you can (the butcher will do it) so the fatty skin-covered part is on one side, and it's all unskinned meat on the other. You can use that side for making pulled pork separately. It cooks differently, so I like to separate it.

The recipe I use is a variation of Irene Kuo's version, though I stop turning the meat after the 2nd hour elapsed, and braised every 30 minutes. Her recipe also seems to have the entire pork shoulder (7.5 pounds).


Summarized version:


2T oil 6 quarter-sized slices of peeled ginger 4 large whole scallions, cut in half

SAUCE 1 cup dark soy sauce 3/4 cup dry sherry 5 cups boiling water 1 tsp salt 4-5 tbs crushed rock sugar 2 whole star anise 1 stick cinnamon, broken in towo.

PREP Heat a heavy pot until hot, add oil and swirl bottom and sides. Toss in ginger and scallions, pressed into oil, then add ham and sear it, turning, until surface has whitened.

Add soy sauce and 1/4 cup dry sherry. Turn ham side to side to color it all over. Add the boiling water, then scatter in the salt, sugar, sticks, and stir until. until liquid boils again.

Adjust heat to maintain gentle simmering, cover for 5 hours. Turning every hour. basting it with spoon.

Add the 1/2 cup of dry sherry. Add salt to taste, adding remaining sugar to taste.

Cover and simmer for 30 minutes more.

Then raise temperature to simmer, and baste continuously to deepen color of meat and thicken sauce.

Skim fat, anise, sticks, scallions. Serve!

From Wei-Chuan Cookbook

This looks authentic, but also simpler (uses 5spice powder instead of cinnamons sticks + anise if you don't have it.)


2.5lb whole pork shoulder

(1) 5T soy sauce 4T sweet bean paste 2T cooking wine 2T sugar

(2) 6C water 12 green onion sections 4 slice ginger 1/2 t five spice powder

(3) 4 green onion sections 2 slice ginger root

rinse pork shoulder, pluck out hairs, place in boiling water with (3) cover in pot and boil for 10 minutes. remove shoulder

mix (1) well, combine with (2) in deep pot. cover with lid and bring to boil. turn to low heat and simmer for 2 hours until meat is done and sauce is slightly reduced. remove lid and continue to cook until sauce reduced to about 1C. Remove shoulder, keep sauce for later.

wait for pork shoulder to cool, then cut into thin slices. pour sauce over and serve.

Lacqured Pork Shoulder

From this recipe. This looks nice, but is more involved.


1 pork shoulder with bone and skin intact 3 star anise 1 3-inch piece of Chinese cinnamon 1 piece of ginger (about 1 inch), cut into slices 3 scallions, cut into 2-inch segments 4 Tbsp dark brown sugar 5 Tbsp naturally brewed soy sauce 2 Tbsp dark soy sauce 4 Tbsp vegetable oil 1 cup rice wine water


  1. Clean pork under cold water. Ensure all hair has been removed.
  2. Thoroughly dry the pork. Place pork in a bowl and rub pork all over with dark soy sauce. Marinade for 1-2 hours. Let pork expose to air and let the sauce dry on the pork. Re-rub with dark soy sauce every 20 minutes.
  3. Dry pork with a paper towel. Heat oil in a deep stock pot over medium heat. Brown pork on all sides until skin is golden brown.
  4. Set pork aside. Remove excess oil until only ~ 1 Tbsp is left in the pot. Over medium-high heat, saute scallions and ginger until fragrant.
  5. Deglaze the pan with rice wine. Add all remaining ingredients except water and bring to a boil.
  6. Place pork in a heat-proof bowl. Pour the sauce over it. Add enough water to just covering the pork. Place this bowl into a steamer over boiling water and steam for 2.5-3 hours. Let cool and store in the fridge overnight.
  7. Next day, skim off solidified fat on top of the sauce. Reheat the pork and the sauce on the stove over medium-low heat.
  8. Baste the pork every now and then. Cook until sauce is reduced to a syrupy consistency.
  9. Place pork on a platter over a bed of cooked baby bok choy or broccoli. Pour sauce over the entire dish and serve.

Momofuku Bo Ssam

David Chang's take on this dish Bo Ssam.