Monday, January 28, 2013

Life's Better With Bacon - Steamed Bacon Buns With Hoisin

Steamed Bacon Buns, Photo: NK
In keeping with the premise of this blog, when I can't take the heat, I get into the kitchen. 

Cooking is my favorite therapy, so that's just what I did when an exhausting and oddly emotional week peppered with endless snafus crescendoed to an impressive finale. 

Just when we thought we could relish the remainder of a blessedly quiet Sunday, we figured out the pipes in our apartment had frozen, leaving us with no water for hours. Sigh... 

When life gets a bit zany, I always check my moon calendar. Sure enough, it was a full one! Thankfully, the situation finally corrected itself, leaving us free to explore the universally restorative power of carbs and salt-cured meats. 

Grace Parisi's shortcut version of one of our favorite Chinese street food - Steamed Pork Buns - is brilliant. 

Delicious Steamed Bacon Buns with Hoisin, Photo: NK 
With my creative powers sapped from exhaustion, I didn't even attempt adapting this already clever and surprisingly easy recipe. Today, I'll just take you though it step by step and suggest some pointers along the way. Parisi's version simplifies your life by using packaged biscuit dough for the buns, and thick-cut bacon to sub in for harder to find pork belly. Add some zesty garnishes like Radish, Scallion, Sriracha and Hoisin sauce, and you've got a bursting-with-flavor tender steamed Bun filled with smoky-sweet Bacon. 
Trust me, you'll impress yourself. 

Steamed Bacon Buns with Hoisin
Photo: NK 
Recipe by Grace Parisi of Food and Wine
Serves 4 

1/2 Pound Thick-Cut Smoked Bacon, cut into 2 inch pieces 
16 1/8-inch thick rounds of fresh peeled Ginger
1 Cup Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
1/4 Cup Mirin
1/4 Cup Unseasoned Rice Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
One 16 Ounce Tube Buttermilk Biscuits (Pillsbury Grands - 8 Biscuits per tube)
Hoisin Sauce
Sriracha Sauce
Sliced Radishes
Bread and Butter Pickles 
Scallions, roughly chopped 
Special Equipment: 
Heavy-Duty or Regular Aluminum Foil
A Large Broiler Pan  
A 9x13 inch Baking Pan 

Sizzling Bacon and Ginger, Photo: NK 
In a large and deep skillet, cook the Bacon and the Ginger Coins over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. 

Turn the Bacon over once midway through. The Bacon should become lightly golden brown. Spoon off some of the fat from the pan and discard. Next, add the Chicken Broth, Mirin, Rice Vinegar, Sugar, and Soy Sauce. Turn the heat down low and simmer, turning the Bacon occasionally until the liquid is reduced to a syrup-like glaze - about 10 minutes. Cover the skillet and keep warm.

Meanwhile, fill up a large roasting pan with 2 inches of water. Set 4 ramekins in each corner or the pan. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment and spray it down with Vegetable Oil or other non-stick spray. Arrange the Biscuits in the baking pan and set the pan on top of the ramekins in the roasting pan. You are basically creating a makeshift steamer basket. (You could certainly use a traditional metal steamer basket over a pot of boiling water but it would likely only hold 3 to 4 Biscuits at a time.)

Homemade Steamer, Photo: NK 
Now, Cover the roasting pan tightly with foil, heavy duty foil if you have it. The goal is to trap the steam that will rise from the bottom roasting pan so it will flow into the baking pan that's atop it. Set your makeshift steamer over a burner on the top of your stove and turn the flame to medium high. As the water in the pan boils, your buns will begin to steam. Check them at around 8 minutes, being careful of the escaping steam that will flow out (neurotic danger!). The original recipe says the bun steaming should take 8 minutes. My Buns took about 12 ( I think my foil wasn't sealed tightly enough). Just keep an eye on them. When they are finished they will be fluffy rather than doughy and cooked through. 

Remove buns and let them cool for a minute. Carefully split them in half and lay on a cutting board. Spread the bottoms with Hoisin and the tops with Sriracha. Portion out even amounts of Bacon on each Bun, and pour some of the pan glaze on top. Finish with sliced Scallions, Radishes, and Pickles. Close the buns and serve right away. 

I hope you swoon over these the way we did! Wishing a calm and happy week to all! 

Photo: NK


  1. Thanks for posting this! I saw the recipe in Food & Wine, but really needed these pictures. Going to give it a try!

  2. Wonderful to hear! It's a great recipe. My best advice is to really try to assemble the steamer setup well so the steam flows from bottom to top. When in doubt just keep steaming and keep an eye on it. Enjoy!

    1. Success! I made them last night, and steamed the buns for 12 minutes. It was a big operation, as I was using the size of roasting pan used to roast a turkey. My husband was impressed, and surprised that the buns were Grands Biscuits. I didn't have mirin, so I substituted the same amount of a dry white wine with a tablespoon of sugar mixed in. Fun to try something different. Thanks!

  3. That is great! Yes, it was 12 minutes for me too.. Really super idea on how to sub in for the mirin too. So glad you both enjoyed!!

  4. I saw your comment on F&W and had to come over for a look. These sound so interesting and glad they turned out for you. Pinned.

    1. thanks Lea Ann! They were quick tasty and the biscuit shortcut is pretty clever. If you try them I hope you enjoy! Thanks for talking the time to comment.