May 23, 2024

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Delicious food

Easy Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)

A delicious, savory, homemade Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) recipe that couldn’t be easier! We love serving this thinly sliced over rice, noodles, in a sandwich, steamed in bao buns, the options are endless!

Char siu pork on a cutting board.

One of my favorite things to eat is Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork). I remember when I was a kid, heading down to chinatown with my parents a few times a year. We went to specifically pick up a huge tray of char siu pork and peking duck from our favorite spot, to enjoy with relatives. It was always a special occasion sort of thing for my family and my love for Chinese BBQ pork started then and never left.

Not only is char siu incredibly delicious, but it’s surprisingly easy to make at home! I love making a double batch and enjoying half over a few days incorporated into few different dishes like fried rice and noodles, then mincing up the rest to stuff into bao buns then freeze. It’s the best snack or quick lunch on the go ever!

What Does Char Siu Mean?

The Chinese words Char siu literally translate to “fork roasted”. This refers to the traditional method of roasting (or barbecuing) skewered strips of meat. Pork is the most common protein used, so when ‘char siu’ is mentioned it’s usually assumed to be pork, unless otherwise noted.

Our homemade version doesn’t involve skewering the strips of pork. We also don’t use an open flame In our recipe. Even still, we think the results are as close as you can get to restaurant style Chinese bbq pork with easy to find ingredients and basic cooking equipment!

Char siu sliced on a cutting board.

How to Make Our Easy Char Siu Pork Recipe

Char siu pork ingredients on a kitchen counter.

Process

  1. Pour honey, soy sauce, hoisin, vinegar, brown sugar, oyster sauce, Chinese five spice, sesame oil, and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper into a saucepan and stir together.
  2. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  1. Set aside 6 tablespoons marinade.
  2. Season pork shoulder strips with salt and remaining white pepper.
  1. Place seasoned pork strips in are-sealable plastic bag, pour remaining cooled marinade over pork, and shake bag around to ensure pork pieces are fully covered.
  2. Remove as much air from bag as possible, seal and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
  1. Preheat oven to 425˚F. Remove pork strips from marinade and place onto a baking sheet covered in foil, with a wire cooling rack on top (sprayed with cooking spray), spacing pieces about 1 inch apart. Baste pork with reserved marinade/char siu sauce.
  2. Roast pork for 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 375˚F and continue to roast for an additional 25 to 30 minutes (or until the internal temperature reaches between 145˚F and 160˚F.). Generously baste with marinade every 15 minutes.
  1. Once pork has reached its internal temperature remove from oven and glaze once more. Transfer pork to broiler and broil on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until pork caramelizes. Remove pork from heat.
Char siu with marinade on top baking right out of the oven.
  1. Transfer to cutting board and rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Slice char siu pork and serve.
Char Siu on a cutting board.

Tips and Tricks for Success

  • Don’t skimp on the marinating time! The pork needs sufficient time to marinate, to really impart all the delicious flavor associated with char siu pork. We think a minimum of 12 hours is very important to really get the flavor and texture you’re looking for, but 24 hours is better if you have the time!
  • Use a wire rack (inserted into a rimmed baking sheet) while roasting! This ensures even roasting.
  • Spray your wire rack with cooking spray or generously brush with oil. This will help to prevent the pork strips from sticking to rack (from the sugar).
  • Line the rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, before inserting the wire rack. This will make the cleanup much easier from the marinade/basting liquid that drips from the pork onto the baking sheet.

How to Get the Subtle Red Color

Traditionally the red color of char siu pork comes from fermented red bean curd. Not only does it impart the red color, but it also adds a really nice salty, umami flavor to the pork! We left it out of our recipe because it’s not the easiest ingredient to find, but if you have it on hand or are interested in using it in this recipe here’s how:

  1. First, reduce the amout of soy sauce used to 1 tablespoon.
  2. Mash 1 ounce of bean curd and 2 tablespoons of the sauce together into a rough paste.
  3. Stir paste together with the other sauce ingredients and make the recipe as written.

The more modern way to color the pork is to add a few drops of red food coloring into the marinade. We don’t love this method, since you’re just altering the color, but if you really want the red color without incorporating fermented red bean curd, then this will do it!

What to Serve with Chinese BBQ Pork

One of my favorite things about char siu is how well it tastes in a variety of dishes. Some of our favorite serving suggestions are:

  • Garlic Noodles or Chow Mein – either sliced and served on top or chopped and tossed together.
  • In fried rice – diced and tossed into the rice over high heat for an amazing flavor!
  • In a banh mi sandwich! – thinly sliced and stuffed into a French baguette with pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro leaves, sliced cucumbers, and sliced jalapeño.
  • Simply sliced and served over steamed rice with some stir-fried vegetables on the side.
  • Stuffed into bao buns with cilantro leaves and sliced cucumbers. Love and Lemons has a great recipe for steamed bao buns on her site!

More Delicious Pork Recipes You Will Love

Char siu on a cutting board.
Char Siu recipe sliced on a cutting board.

Easy Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)

A delicious, savory, homemade Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) recipe that couldn’t be easier! We love serving this thinly sliced over rice, noodles, in a sandwich, steamed in bao buns, the options are endless!

PRINT RECIPE

Prep Time: 5 mins

Cook Time: 45 mins

marinating time: 12 hrs

Total Time: 12 hrs 50 mins

Servings: 6

  INSTRUCTIONS  

  • Pour honey, soy sauce, hoisin, vinegar, brown sugar, oyster sauce, Chinese five spice, sesame oil, and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper into a saucepan and stir together.

  • Simmer over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

  • Set aside 6 tablespoons marinade into a small bowl.

  • Season pork shoulder strips with salt and remaining white pepper.

  • Place seasoned pork strips in are-sealable plastic bag, pour remaining cooled marinade over pork, and shake bag around to ensure pork pieces are fully covered.

  • Remove as much air from bag as possible, seal and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

  • Preheat oven to 425˚F. Remove pork strips from refrigerator and marinade and place onto a baking sheet covered in foil, with a wire cooling rack on top (sprayed with cooking spray), spacing pieces about 1 inch apart.

  • Baste pork with reserved marinade.

  • Roast pork for 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 375˚F and continue to roast for an additional 25 to 30minutes (or until the internal temperature reaches between 145˚F and 160˚F.), generously basting with marinade every 15 minutes.

  • 1.     Once pork has reached its internal temperature, glaze once more and broil on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until pork caramelizes. Remove pork from heat, transfer to cutting board and rest for 3 to 5 minutes.

  • Slice and serve.

  NOTES  

Tips and Tricks for Success
  • Don’t skimp on the marinating time! The pork needs sufficient time to marinate, to really impart all the delicious flavor associated with char siu pork. We think a minimum of 12 hours is very important to really get the flavor and texture you’re looking for, but 24 hours is better if you have the time!
  • Use a wire rack (inserted into a rimmed baking sheet) while roasting! This ensures even roasting.
  • Spray your wire rack with cooking spray or generously brush with oil. This will help to prevent the pork strips from sticking to rack (from the sugar).
  • Line the rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, before inserting the wire rack. This will make the cleanup much easier from the marinade/basting liquid that drips from the pork onto the baking sheet.
How to Get the Subtle Red Color Traditionally the red color of char siu pork comes from fermented red bean curd. Not only does it impart the red color, but it also adds a really nice salty, umami flavor to the pork! We left it out of our recipe because it’s not the easiest ingredient to find, but if you have it on hand or are interested in using it in this recipe here’s how:
  1. First, reduce the amout of soy sauce used to 1 tablespoon.
  2. Mash 1 ounce of bean curd and 2 tablespoons of the sauce together into a rough paste.
  3. Stir paste together with the other sauce ingredients and make the recipe as written.
The more modern way to color the pork is to add a few drops of red food coloring into the marinade. We don’t love this method, since you’re just altering the color, but if you really want the red color without incorporating fermented red bean curd, then this will do it!

Calories: 228kcal Carbohydrates: 18g Protein: 27g Fat: 5g Saturated Fat: 1g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 68mg Sodium: 1137mg Potassium: 483mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 16g Vitamin A: 4IU Vitamin C: 1mg Calcium: 23mg Iron: 2mg

CUISINE: Chinese

KEYWORD: char siu pork, chinese bbq pork

COURSE: dinner, lunch, Main Course