This recipe comes from my performance series Meat My Friends which originated in the gallery, but by popular demand became a regular pop-up event. Meat My Friends is a gathering of artisanal sausages that take storytelling to another stage, the plate. The sausages were developed as a performance, each sausage is inspired by the stories of my family and friends’ lives. The first series of homages are to my father. A variety of sausages are on offer at a series of pop-ups and wholesale and the artist also collects stories and narratives to inspire new sausage homages.
Meat My Friends uses quality meat, local ingredients, organic where possible, and strives to be an ethical sausage from all levels of production, including paying workers a living wage.
Pork My Buns XXXX is made in honor of Christopher Lee, an Asian American transgender filmmaker and founder of the SF transgender film festival (originally called TrannyFest), which continues to this day. A pioneer filmmaker, known for making trans porn, Lee’s death catalyzed a movement for change. To the outrage of friends and community after his death, the coroner’s office deadnamed and misgendered him on his death certificate. Friends were spurred to action and quickly organized to get California legislation “Respect After Death Act” passed. The “Respect After Death Act” mandates that a person’s gender pronouns are respected after death.
Pork my Buns XXXX sounds dirty but it’s just a little char siu BBQ pork. In Lee’s honor, this sausage is made into little chubby, stubby, links that are cooked and serve in buns steamed and splayed open and slathered with hoisin and flogged with scallions and cilantro. Orientalize this!
Pork My Buns XXXX
- 10 pounds deboned or boneless pork shoulder
- 2-2.5 pounds pork fatback
- 1/2 cup honey granules
- 1/2 cup soy sauce or soy sauce powder if available (powder is ideal because when it comes to sausages you want less liquids)
- 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/4 rice wine (huangjiu if you can get it but any mijiu or shaoxing works)
- 1/4 fermented soybeans (tương hột or salted fermented soybean not the Japanese natto)
- 4 tablespoons fermented red bean curd (2 tablespoons liquid and 2 tablespoons beancurd)
- 3 tablespoons five-spice powder
- 2 tablespoons red yeast sea salt (you can also use regular diamond coarse salt if you can’t find red yeast salt)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 tablespoon ginger powder
- marinated and ground pork and pork fatback
- 1-inch pork casing
- steamed bao buns (the folded kind)
- hoisin sauce
- green onions
- firm cucumber
- cilantro leaves
- Mix seasoning ingredients together and blend with stick blender.
- Cut pork and pork fatback into 2-inch square pieces.
- Pour marinade over pork and leave for at least 12-24 hours in the refrigerator.
- Use meat grinder to coarse grind marinated pork. If you are using a lower powered grinder use a few ice cubes to keep the pork cool as you grind.
- Use a sausage stuffer to stuff your sausages. Before you stuff the sausages, cook a little uncased sausage to make sure the flavor is right, should be little sweet and taste similar to xá xíu or char su (red roast pork). Adjust salt to taste and add more honey granules if it needs to be sweeter. The flavor will intensify when cooked in the casing so don’t over salt it.
- Once you are done casing the sausages let them dry a bit in the fridge before linking. Link the sausage in 3-inch-long sausages by twisting every other sausage in the same direction.
- Let the sausages dry in the fridge for a few hours. You want to give the links time to dry so they don’t come undone when you cut them.
- Take the chilled now drier linked sausages and use the sausage poker to poke each sausage a few times and then cut the links.
- To cook the sausages, vacuum seal the sausage in BPA free bag and sous vide for 45 min at 145°F.
- Remove the sausages from the bag and transfer to heavy pan, preferably cast iron, on stovetop to finish off.
- Alternatively, you can cook the sausages directly from raw, but be sure to let the links come close to room temp and put them into the pan without oil slow and low. Don’t put cold sausages in a hot pan, they will immediately explode and leak out the ends.
- Serve the sausages in steamed folded bao buns with sliced green onions sliced lengthwise in 2-3 inch pieces, thin slices of cucumber, also cut lengthwise in 2-3-inch pieces and top with a few sprigs of cilantro and a squeeze of hoisin.
Genevieve Erin O’Brien (they/them) is a Queer Vietnamese/Irish/German artist with 20+ years as a community organizer, trainer, cultural producer, and chef. O’Brien holds an MFA in Performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was a Fulbright Fellow to Vietnam in 2009. O’Brien has been a frequent lecturer in Asian American Studies. Their short film For The Love of Unicorns has screened internationally. O’Brien received the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles’ Creative Economic Development Fund in 2015 and 2016. As a US Dept. of State/ZERO1 American Arts Incubator Artist, O’Brien traveled to Hanoi to develop a digital media project highlighting LGBTQ visibility and equality in 2016. Recent works More Than Love on the Horizon and Sugar Rebels were commissioned by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. The Critical Refugees Studies Collective of the University of California recently funded O’Brien’s current performance series Refugee Resistance Menu. O’Brien, once a butcher’s apprentice, is also a private chef and chef/owner of sausage enterprise Meat My Friends (www.eatmeatmyfriends.com).