It’s called Char Siu. (Pronounced “Char Sue”) But we know it as Chinese BBQ Pork, and it’s of the most popular items on a Chinese Restaurant menu. I never thought of making it at home—it seemed complicated and intimidating. But when I finally decided to give it a try, I quickly found it is neither. It’s a fun, simple dish that ends up tasting exactly like the restaurant version! While it seems as though there are a lot of ingredients, it’s mostly inexpensive bottles of things like soy sauce, molasses, honey, rice wine vinegar—all things you can keep in your refrigerator so you can make this dish many times, which, I think you will! As far as the steps, it’s basically whisking the marinade ingredients, pouring it over the pork, refrigerating it overnight and then cooking it up! It’s that simple. The most important step is making sure you buy pork shoulder, as tenderloin is too lean. Char Siu may be your new favorite!
Watch my How To Video for Chinese BBQ Pork here!
- 3 pounds bonelss pork shoulder/butt (select a piece with some good fat on it)
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon hosin sauce
- 2 teaspoons molasses
- 1/8 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)
- 3 cloves finely minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- Cut the pork into long strips or chunks about 3 inches thick. Don’t trim any excess fat, as it will render off and add flavor. Combine the sugar, salt, five spice powder, white pepper, sesame oil, wine, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, molasses, food coloring (if using), and garlic in a bowl to make the marinade (i.e. the BBQ sauce). Reserve about 2 tablespoons of marinade and set it aside. Rub the pork with the rest of the marinade in a large bowl or baking dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours. Cover and store the reserved marinade in the fridge as well. Preheat your oven to the highest setting (475-550 degrees F or 250-290 degrees C) with a rack positioned in the upper third of the oven. Line a sheet pan with foil and place a metal rack on top. Using the metal rack keeps the pork off of the pan and allows it to roast more evenly, like it does in commercial ovens described above. Place the pork on the rack, leaving as much space as possible between pieces. Pour 1 ½ cups water into the pan below the rack. This prevents any drippings from burning or smoking. Transfer the pork to your preheated oven and roast for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, flip the pork. If the bottom of the pan is dry, add another cup of water. Turn the pan 180 degrees to ensure even roasting. Roast another 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the reserved marinade with the maltose or honey (maltose is very viscous––you can heat it up in the microwave to make it easier to work with) and 1 tablespoon hot water. This will be the sauce you’ll use for basting the pork. After 40 minutes of total roasting time, baste the pork, flip it, and baste the other side as well. Roast for a final 10 minutes. By now, the pork has cooked for 50 minutes total. It should be cooked through and caramelized on top. If it’s not caramelized to your liking, you can turn the broiler on for a couple minutes to crisp the outside and add some color/flavor. Remove from the oven and baste with the last bit of reserved BBQ sauce. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing.