Kitchen & Pantry

What to do with leftover grilled meat

We love grilled meat, Asian style. Small cuts of beef, pork or chicken skewered in bamboo sticks, brushed with a marinade rich with spices… Sometimes, it’s thin slices of pork belly seasoned with nothing but salt and freshly ground pepper. Grilling has got to be the perfect illustration of summer. And whether you do it on the beach or in the backyard, the aroma, the smoky flavor of the food, the caramelized natural sugar from the meat… In short, grilled food is just marvelous.

But grilled meat, especially when cut in small pieces or thin slices like it’s done in most of Asia, is only good straight from the grill and while still very, very hot. Like most food cooked with dry heat, grilled meat is tender and juicy while the juices are still trapped between the meat fibers. Once the meat gets cold and the juices evaporate, you’re left with rubbery meat.

And so it happened that, last night, we had grilled pork for dinner and we miscalculated and grilled too much meat. Well, Speedy did the grilling. He always does. The only times I grill is when using the stovetop grill. If grilling with charcoal, he does the job. The grilled pork was delicious but we couldn’t finish everything. I wrapped the leftovers in a piece of foil and put the package in the fridge. Earlier today, we were in the supermarket and Speedy suggested that the leftover grilled pork be cooked with kangkong (swamp / water spinach). And I said great! What to do with leftover grilled meat

He sautéed some chopped onion and garlic, added the cut kangkong, threw in the leftover grilled pork and seasoned everything with light soy sauce. And it was a very, very good dish.

The obvious lesson is that meat that has lost its natural juices can be saved by reheating it with a little liquid. It can be cooking oil (see a two-year-old recipe for fried rice that included leftover pork barbecue) or an oil-based sauce. We use leftover chicken, duck or turkey meat for making salads, don’t we? Same principle. With today’s lunch, the liquid consisted of the soy sauce and the water content of the kangkong.

For more ideas on what to do with leftovers, check the “cooking with leftovers” section.

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