I spent Monday at mom’s house again and we decided, well I decided, that I wanted to learn my grandfather’s two favorite dishes. My grandpa, on my dad’s side, lived till he was 96! I remember what a bad example that set for us kids. He never ate veggies and yet he was as healthy as a pup, taking walks every day. Well, his walks were to Baskin Robbins.

Besides the Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream cone each day, his favorite dish was Tee Pong. It’s a Red-Cooked or Red-Braised Picnic Shoulder, and it’s all about the skin and fat. Brace yourself. The fat and skin can be more than an inch thick, and that’s the part my grandpa wanted to eat, sometimes leaving the meat behind.

Red Cooked Tee Pong (picnic shoulder)

I don’t recommend leaving the meat behind though. I think it’s such a great mix of flavor and texture to eat all of it. The meat pulls apart into tender shreds. The fat melts in your mouth and the flavor of the sweetened soy sauce is concentrated in the skin. I like to drizzle the sauce over rice too. It’s Chinese comfort food at it’s best, yet it makes an impressive centerpiece at any dinner you’d serve to guests.

Red Cooking or Red Braising is such a basic and essential part of Chinese cooking that this dish is very similar to the Red Braised Pork Belly I did a year and a half ago. After you make either one, you can use the sauce to cook bean curd and/or eggs.

Tee Pong with rice and spinach 2

Also, don’t get bogged down with the measurements here. Try this a few times and you’ll get the hang of red-cooking. Adjust the sweetness (rock candy) and saltiness (soy sauce) to your own taste, and then you’ll be red-cooking everything. Yes, you can do this to pretty much any kind of protein.

Tee Pong: Red Cooked Picnic Shoulder
~6 to 8 servings

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3.3 lbs skin-on pork picnic shoulder, washed and pat dry
  • 1 block (about 2.5″ to 3″ square) rock candy, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine
  • 2 knobs (about 1″ cube each) peeled ginger, smashed
  • 1 scallion, cut into three segments
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • blanched spinach for serving
  • rice for serving

Instructions –

1. Find a pot that fits the picnic shoulder so that it can be turned but doesn’t leave too much space on the sides.  Heat oil in the pot on medium heat.

browning picnic shoulder

2. Fry the picnic shoulder, turning to get all sides until it is a even golder all around. Remove to a plate. Set aside.

browned picnic shoulder

3. Turn flame down to low. Dump out most of the oil, leaving about 2 teaspoons in the pot. Melt and brown the rock candy (using a smaller or bigger piece depending on how sweet you want it).When it is almost all melted, you can add the soy sauce and stir until sugar is completely melted.

browning rock candy

4. Return shoulder to the pot and turn to medium heat. Rotate the shoulder allowing all of it to be browned with the sauce.

5. Add rice wine, ginger, scallion, an dark soy sauce. Stir. Add 4 cups of hot water and bring to a boil, covered. Allow to boil for another 5 minutes. Turn down to a low boil and cook covered for an hour. Turn the shoulder over, and cook for another 90 minutes, covered. Check for done-ness. Depending on how soft you want the meat, you can cook for another hour to 90 minutes.

6. When it’s close to the doneness you want, uncover, and allow sauce to thicken for 20 minutes.

7. Serve shoulder on a bed of blanched spinach. Serve with rice. Serve the sauce in a bowl on the side so guests can drizzle extra.

Red Cooked Tee Pong (picnic shoulder) 4

posted by jessica at 08:29 AM Filed under Chinese, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.