Chinese pork jerky treat for dogs

The dogs surround me when I make Chinese pork jerky (bak kwa), shoving each other out of the way, so I can see their “Gimme, gimme, pleeese” expressions. They always get some but I figured I should make the doggy version a little healthier.

I can’t do away with the sugar and honey as the beauty of bak kwa is the caramelised flavour, but I can tweak the amount of sugar and cut back on sodium. It’s still not a treat dogs should eat every day, but it can’t be unhealthier than pet shop treats that come from dubious sources. At least I know my pork jerky has no preservatives and is made with love.

I hear that commercial bak kwa is made with as much as 30% fat, so it stays springy. I prefer to keep within the 10% fat limit for a chewier texture. This means watching grilling time as the protein can turn too hard.

The bak kwa recipe that everyone seems to follow is from Sonia, nasi lemak lover. It’s an excellent can’t-go-wrong recipe – thank you Sonia!! For the people version, visit http://nasilemaklover.blogspot.sg/2012/01/homemade-chinese-pork-jerky-bak-kwa.html

Can you resist this? I can because I don’t eat meat, but it’s enough to start my carnivore friends drooling.

bak kwa Sonia

Here’s Sonia’s recipe, but customised for dogs.

1 kg minced pork (with at least 10% fat)
120 g sugar (brown sugar will do fine)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
½ tablespoon Chinese rice wine
1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon dark caramel soy sauce or kicap manis
A generous sprinkle of Chinese five spice powder
A dash of Pepper
3 tablespoons honey

Method
1. Put all ingredients in a big bowl and mix with a pair of chopsticks or your hand. Keep turning and stirring the mixture in one direction until the meat feels gluey. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
2. Line a baking tray with aluminium foil (for easy clean-up) and spread enough minced pork to make a thin layer. Use your fingers to press and a small rolling pin to smoothen the top.
3. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 160˚C for 15-20mins. Remove from oven. Increase the oven temperature to 240˚C.
4. When cool enough to handle, cut into small squares with kitchen scissors or pizza cutter (I prefer scissors so as not to damage the foil) and arrange (bottom-side up) on the same baking tray.  If there’s any marinade in the tray, brush this on the jerky squares.
5. Grill (top heat only) at 240˚C for 10 mins. People who like charred edges can flip the pieces and continue grilling for another 7 minutes. Not necessary when cooking for dogs.

4. When cool enough to handle, cut into small squares with kitchen scissors or pizza cutter (I prefer scissors so as not to damage the foil) and arrange (bottom-side up) on the same baking tray.  If there’s any marinade in the tray, brush this on the jerky squares.
5. Grill (top heat only) at 240˚C for 10mins. People who like charred edges can flip the pieces and continue grilling for another 7 minutes. Not necessary for dogs.

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