Bak Kwa – barbecue meat jerky

makes 20
45 minutes


Bak kwa

  • 650g of pork belly, minced
  • 100g of honey
  • 150g of caster sugar, (light brown)
  • 3 tbsp of rice wine
  • 3 tbsp of fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • 1 dash of red food colouring, (optional)


Put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and, using your hands, mix well. Once it has been mixed well and looks like a firm dough, punch and whip it viciously and pick it up with both hands and slam it back into the mixing bowl repeatedly (if it helps, imagine your boss, ex-girlfriend, mother-in-law, that bully at school – whatever it takes) until it turns into a gooey / gluey paste. It may take anywhere between 5 or 15 minutes depending on the level of brute force berserk-ness exerted on the meat clump
Now spread the meat paste thinly (about 3mm) onto a greased baking sheet or large flat baking tin. I use the back of a spoon to flatten it. And leave it uncovered in the fridge to dry out and also marinate overnight
The next day, you need to dry out the meat. If you are lucky enough to be in a hot country with constant sun, you can leave it out in the sun to dry out, hiring a local gap year student to fan any flies. If however, you are stuck in some forsaken part of the world which never sees the sun, invert the meat paste sheet onto a wire tray and put into a preheated oven at 100˚C for 20 minutes with the oven door slightly ajar
When it is relatively dry, remove from the oven and cut into required shape – strips, squares, circles, oblongs, pig... (You can now store these in the freezer for at least 3 months)
If you are lucky enough to have access to a barbecue, grill the strips over a hot charcoal to give them a good smokey flavour and good char marks. Alternatively, if you don’t, fear not. Grill them in the oven grill at 200˚C or the highest setting you have for 10 minutes, until they are slightly charred