Beer-Braised Pork Steamed Buns
Richly savory pork tucked in a soft, slightly sweet steam bun with a kicky sriracha mayo and plenty of fresh cilantro and green onion — this might be the perfect bite! Yes, the recipe might be a bit of a project, but every step is simple and 100 percent worth it. Do we need to sear the pork in a cast-iron skillet after braising it in beer, chiles, garlic, and citrus? Yes, it gives the tender meat a golden brown finish and a wonderfully crispy-chewy texture. Similarly, the steam buns are next-level good — so light and fluffy they seem like little pork-filled clouds. We could eat about 10 of them without batting an eye, which is why they’ll make an amazing game day snack and why we recommend making a double batch. You will not regret it!
Beer-Braised Pork Steamed Buns
Preheat the oven to 400º.
To braise the pork: Combine the salt and ancho powder, and season the pork shoulder on all sides, rubbing the spice blend into the pork.
Heat a large pot over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil and sear the pork on both sides for about 7 minutes, or until golden brown.
Add the onion, garlic, orange, beer, and chicken stock to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Braise the pork for 2 to 3 hours or until the pork is fork tender and falls apart easily. Reserve the pork in the braising liquid until ready to use.
To make the Sriracha mayonnaise: In a small bowl, stir together the Sriracha and mayonnaise. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
While the pork is cooking, make the steamed buns: In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the dough hook, whisk together the water, yeast, and sugar.
Add the flour, milk powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and vegetable shortening, and mix on low speed until fully incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough forms a smooth ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Transfer the dough to a clean surface, and using a bench knife, divide it into 20 portions. Using your hands, roll the portions into balls. Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Using a rolling pin, roll each dough ball into a ⅛”-thick oval. Grease a chopstick with oil and fold each piece of dough in half over the chopstick. This allows the dough to create a pocket, like a sandwich, without sticking to itself. Transfer the folded buns to a sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise once more until slightly larger, about 20 minutes.
To steam the buns: Fill a medium shallow pot half full with water and bring to a simmer. Fit the pot with a basket steamer and line the steamer with perforated parchment paper. Working in batches, place the buns in the steamer and cook with the lid on for 8 minutes, or until fluffy and bright white. Remove the buns from the steamer and keep warm.
Once the pork is cooked, remove the pork from the braising liquid and shred with a fork or tongs.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining vegetable oil and sear the shredded pork until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the pork to the warm steamed buns, distributing the pork evenly between them.
Drizzle the Sriracha mayonnaise over the pork in each steamed bun. Garnish the buns with the green onions and cilantro and serve immediately.