What is Char Siu or Chinese BBQ Pork?
BBQ pork or “char siu” (also spelled as “char siew”) is a famous Chinese dish that everyone loves.
Char siu (char siew) is of Cantonese origin where skewers of pork meat are marinated in a honey hoisin sauce, and then roasted in the oven to charred, savory, and sticky sweet perfection.
If there is a pork recipe that defines Chinese cooking, I think char siu (char siew) would be it.
My Secret Ingredients for the Best Char Siu
The secret ingredients to the best-ever char siu (char siew) are:
- Choice of meat – if you love your char siu (char siew) tender, juicy, moist, and a little fatty, use pork belly. If you prefer a meaty char siu (char siew), then go for pork loin. If you like it somewhere in between, then pork butt will be a great choice.
- Maltose – called ” 麦芽糖” in Chinese, maltose is the secret ingredient that gives char siu (char siew) that sticky sweet taste and texture. Honey is just the icing on the cake.
- Chinese rose wine – this wine is very fragrant and lends a very nice flavor to this BBQ pork or char siu (char siew) recipe.
- Five-spice powder (五香粉) – mixture of 5 spices used in Chinese recipes.
Without further ado, here is the Chinese BBQ pork (char siu/char siew) recipe, which I learned from my friend S. This recipe makes KILLER char siu (char siew) that is better than any Chinese restaurants–juicy, moist, tender, delicious, and sublime. And the char siu sauce is perfection.
What Dishes to Serve with this Recipe?
For a wholesome meal and easy weeknight dinner, I recommend the following recipes.
This Recipe Goes Well with:
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BBQ Pork Recipe (Char Siu/Char Siew/蜜汁叉烧)
Chinese BBQ pork or char siu is a famous Chinese dish marinated in honey hoisin sauce, and roasted to charred, savory, and sticky sweet pork.
- 1 lb pork butt, cut into 4 pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
Add all ingredients in the char siu sauce in a sauce pan, heat it up and stir-well until all blended and become slightly thickened and sticky. (It will yield 1/2 cup char siu sauce.) Transfer out and let cool.
Marinate the pork butt pieces with 2/3 of the char siu sauce and the chopped garlic overnight. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil into the remaining char siu sauce. Keep in the fridge.
The next day, heat the oven to 375 degree F and roast the char siu for 15 minutes (shake off the excess char siu sauce before roasting). Transfer them out of the oven and thread the char siu pieces on metal skewers and grill them over fire (I used my stove top). Brush the remaining char siu sauce while grilling until the char siu are perfectly charred. Slice the char siu into bite-size pieces, drizzle the remaining char siu sauce over and serve immediately with steamed white rice.
You don't have to roast the pork in the oven if you use an outdoor grill. As I used the stove top to char the char siu, I roasted the char siu in the oven so they were cooked. It's impossible to cook the char siu by using the stove top alone. You can roast the char siu thoroughly for 25-30 minutes in the oven. It's best to use the S-shape hook and hang your char siu at the top layer of the oven, with a roasting pan or aluminum foil sheet at the bottom for the drips.