Recipe

Chinese Barbecue Pork (Char Siu)

The smell of fatty, sweet, slow-roasted Char Siu defines my memory as a kid visiting Chinatown on the weekends with my Dad. Char Siu means “fork roast”, since it is usually skewered with long forks and roasted over a fire or in an oven. Traditionally, cooks used red bean paste and even red yeast rice to impart a reddish color, but today’s shops have turned to more modern methods of coloring. With a little thoughtful prep and TLC, we came up with an approachable version you can whip up at home to wow your meat-loving friends, family, or even your next Tinder date.  

Yield
Serves 6
SFS_Chinese_20BBQ_20Pork_057.jpg
Ingredients
2,000 g boneless pork butt
260 g soy sauce
220 g hoisin sauce
200 g sugar
114 g Shaoxing Chinese rice wine
60 g grated fresh ginger
25 g toasted sesame oil
20 g garlic, minced
15 g red food coloring
5 g five-spice powder
2 g ground white pepper
1 g pink curing salt #1
263 g honey
20 g cornstarch (if filling Pineapple Buns)
4 pounds boneless pork butt
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
¾ cup hoisin sauce
½ cup Shaoxing Chinese rice wine
¼ cup grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
4  garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon red food coloring
2 teaspoons five-spice powder
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
⅛ teaspoon pink curing salt #1
¾ cup honey
2 tablespoons cornstarch (if filling Pineapple Buns)
Essential Equipment
Instructions
    • 2,000 g boneless pork butt
    • 260 g soy sauce
    • 220 g hoisin sauce
    • 200 g sugar
    • 114 g Shaoxing Chinese rice wine
    • 60 g grated fresh ginger
    • 25 g toasted sesame oil
    • 20 g garlic, minced
    • 15 g red food coloring
    • 5 g five-spice powder
    • 2 g ground white pepper
    • 1 g pink curing salt #1
    Cut pork into 4 pieces and butterfly to create ¾-inch-thick pieces. Divide pork between 2 one-gallon zipper-lock bags. Whisk soy sauce, hoisin, sugar, Shaoxing, ginger, sesame oil, garlic, food coloring, five-spice powder, and pepper together in large bowl. Measure out 200 grams (about 1 cup) marinade and set aside. Whisk pink curing salt into remaining marinade; divide equally between bags and rub to distribute evenly over pork. Press out as much air as possible from bags and seal; refrigerate pork for at least 10 hours or up to 16 hours.
    • 263 g honey
    While pork marinates, whisk honey and reserved marinade together in medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until glaze is reduced to 350 g (about 1 cup), 4 to 6 minutes. (Glaze can be prepared up to this point and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

    If filling Pineapple Buns: Reserve 50 grams (about 2 tablespoons) glaze and set aside.
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees F/121 degrees C. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set wire rack in sheet. Spray rack with vegetable oil spray.
  2. Remove pork from marinade, letting excess drip off, and place on prepared rack. Cover sheet tightly with aluminum foil, crimping edges to seal. Bake until pork registers 195 degrees F/90.5 degrees C, 2 to 2½ hours. Remove pork from oven and discard foil. Let pork rest on rack for 30 minutes.

    If filling Pineapple Buns: Pour pan juices into fat separator and let settle for 5 minutes. Pour off and reserve 200 grams (about ¾ cup) defatted juices; discard remaining juices.
  3. Heat broiler. Brush both sides of pork with half of remaining glaze; broil until top is mahogany, 2 to 6 minutes. Flip pork and broil until second side is mahogany, 2 to 6 minutes. Brush both sides with remaining glaze and continue to broil until top is dark mahogany and lightly charred, 2 to 6 minutes longer (second side does not get broiled again). Transfer pork to carving board, charred side up, and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice pork crosswise into ½-inch-thick strips and serve. 
    • 20 g cornstarch
    If filling Pineapple Buns: Combine reserved defatted juices with reserved 50 grams glaze in small saucepan and whisk in cornstarch. Bring to boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, and cook until mixture is thickened and glossy, about 1 minute. Transfer to bowl with 350 grams chopped pork and toss to combine; set aside until ready to use. (Pork filling yields 550 grams and can be refrigerated for up to 7 days.) Click here for Pineapple Buns with Chinese Barbecue Pork recipe.
Instructions
    • 4 pounds boneless pork butt 
    • 1 cup soy sauce 
    • 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar 
    • ¾ cup hoisin sauce 
    • ½ cup Shaoxing Chinese rice wine 
    • ¼ cup grated fresh ginger 
    • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil 
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced 
    • 1 tablespoon red food coloring 
    • 2 teaspoons five-spice powder 
    • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper 
    • ⅛ teaspoon pink curing salt #1 
    Cut pork into 4 pieces and butterfly to create ¾-inch-thick pieces. Divide pork between 2 one-gallon zipper-lock bags. Whisk soy sauce, sugar, hoisin, Shaoxing, ginger, sesame oil, garlic, food coloring, five-spice powder, and pepper together in large bowl. Measure out 1 cup marinade and set aside. Whisk pink curing salt into remaining marinade; divide equally between bags and rub to distribute evenly over pork. Press out as much air as possible from bags and seal; refrigerate pork for at least 10 hours or up to 16 hours.
    • ¾ cup honey
    While pork marinates, whisk honey and reserved marinade together in medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until glaze is reduced to 1 cup, 4 to 6 minutes. (Glaze can be prepared up to this point and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

    If filling Pineapple Buns: Reserve 2 tablespoons glaze and set aside.
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees F/121 degrees C. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set wire rack in sheet. Spray rack with vegetable oil spray.
  2. Remove pork from marinade, letting excess drip off, and place on prepared rack. Cover sheet tightly with aluminum foil, crimping edges to seal. Bake until pork registers 195 degrees F/90.5 degrees C, 2 to 2½ hours. Remove pork from oven and discard foil. Let pork rest on rack for 30 minutes.

    If filling Pineapple Buns: Pour pan juices into fat separator and let settle for 5 minutes. Pour off and reserve ¾ cup defatted juices; discard remaining juices.
  3. Heat broiler. Brush both sides of pork with half of remaining glaze; broil until top is mahogany, 2 to 6 minutes. Flip pork and broil until second side is mahogany, 2 to 6 minutes. Brush both sides with remaining glaze and continue to broil until top is dark mahogany and lightly charred, 2 to 6 minutes longer (second side does not get broiled again). Transfer pork to carving board, charred side up, and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice pork crosswise into ½-inch-thick strips and serve. 
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    If filling Pineapple Buns: Combine reserved defatted juices with reserved 2 tablespoons glaze in small saucepan and whisk in cornstarch. Bring to boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, and cook until mixture is thickened and glossy, about 1 minute. Transfer to bowl with 12 ounces chopped pork and toss to combine; set aside until ready to use. (Pork filling yields 1¼ pounds and can be refrigerated for up to 7 days.) Click here for Pineapple Buns with Chinese Barbecue Pork recipe.
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