Mastering the Art of Char Siu: An Authentic Recipe

Hello, foodies! Are you up for a gastronomic adventure? If so, you’re in the right place. Today, we’re going to talk about one of my all-time favorite dishes – Char Siu. For those who are new to Chinese cuisine, Char Siu is a dish made of succulent pork meat that has been marinated in a flavorful mixture of sauces and spices, then roasted to perfection. It’s sweet, savory, and absolutely delicious. But what sets this dish apart from others is that it has a unique red color that comes from a special blend of ingredients used in the marinade.

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Char Siu is a staple dish in Cantonese cuisine and is typically served with rice or noodles. Although it’s widely available in Chinese restaurants, nothing beats the taste of homemade Char Siu. The good news is, you don’t have to be a master chef to make this dish. With the right ingredients and technique, you can easily replicate the taste of authentic Char Siu in your own kitchen. So, get ready to impress your family and friends with this recipe that’s sure to become a household favorite.

Char Siu Recipe: How to Make Your Own Chinese BBQ Pork

What is Char Siu?

Char siu is a popular Chinese dish made from marinated pork that is roasted or barbecued until it’s charred and caramelized. This dish is a staple in many Chinese restaurants, and it’s easy to see why. The combination of sweet and savory flavors, along with the tender and juicy texture of the pork, makes for a delicious meal that can be enjoyed any time of the day.


To make char siu, you’ll need pork shoulder or pork belly, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, sherry, garlic, and Chinese five-spice powder. These ingredients can be found in most Asian markets or specialty stores, and they are relatively easy to prepare.

When it comes to the pork, you want to choose a cut that has some fat content, as this will help keep the meat moist during cooking. Pork shoulder and pork belly are two good options, but you can also use tenderloin or boneless pork chops if you prefer.

Marinating the Pork

The key to making a delicious char siu is in the marinade. To start, mix the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, sherry, garlic, and Chinese five-spice powder in a bowl. Make sure to blend the ingredients together well, so that all the flavors are evenly distributed.

Next, place the pork in a shallow dish, and pour the marinade over it, making sure to coat the meat evenly. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight if possible.

The longer you marinate the pork, the more flavorful it will be, so try to plan ahead if you want to achieve the best results. Once the pork is fully marinated, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature before cooking.

Cooking the Char Siu

When it comes to cooking char siu, there are a few different methods you can use. Some people prefer to roast the pork in the oven, while others like to grill it over an open flame. No matter which method you choose, the key is to cook the pork until it’s fully caramelized and has a crispy exterior.

If you’re cooking the pork in the oven, preheat it to 350°F. Place the pork on a wire rack set over a baking sheet, and cook for approximately 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F. While the pork is cooking, baste it with the leftover marinade every 10 minutes or so.

If you prefer to grill the pork, preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Remove the pork from the marinade, and place it directly on the grill grates. Cook for approximately 10-12 minutes per side, or until the pork is fully caramelized and has a crispy exterior.

Serving Suggestions

Once the pork is fully cooked, remove it from the oven or grill and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing. Char siu can be served in a variety of ways, depending on your preferences. Some people like to slice it thinly and serve it over rice, while others prefer to chop it into bite-sized pieces and serve it as an appetizer.

Regardless of how you choose to serve it, one thing is for sure – char siu is a delicious and versatile dish that is sure to please your taste buds. So why not give it a try today and see for yourself what all the fuss is about!

Preparing the Pork for Cooking

One of the most popular and beloved dishes in Chinese cuisine, char siu is a barbecue pork dish that’s both sweet and savory. Char siu can be enjoyed on its own as a main dish or added to other dishes like stir-fried vegetables, fried rice, or noodles. The dish is incredibly versatile and can be cooked in an oven, on a barbecue, or on a stovetop grill.

Cooking Methods

One of the most popular ways of cooking char siu is by using an oven. Preheat your oven to 375F and place the pork in a roasting tray. Roast the pork for about 30-40 minutes until it’s cooked through and the exterior has caramelized.

Another way of cooking char siu is on a barbecue grill. This method gives the pork a smoky flavor that oven-cooked pork can’t match. To do this, skewer the pork and grill it over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, basting it with the marinade every few minutes.

Finally, you can also cook char siu on a stovetop grill. This method is quick and easy, making it perfect for a weeknight. Heat up a stovetop grill and cook the pork for about 5 minutes on each side, brushing it with the basting sauce as you go.

Basting the Pork

No matter which cooking method you choose, basting is the key to achieving that sticky, caramelized glaze that makes char siu so delicious. To make the basting sauce, combine the marinade ingredients in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer until it thickens.

Brush the basting sauce over the pork every 10-15 minutes while it’s cooking. This will ensure that the pork is evenly coated and gets that sweet and savory flavor throughout.

Serving Suggestions

Char siu can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. It can be served on its own as a main dish, sliced and served as an appetizer, or added to stir-fries, fried rice, or noodles. It’s also delicious alongside steamed rice and vegetables.

For a more traditional Chinese meal, try serving char siu with a side of steamed bok choy and a bowl of hot and sour soup. Or, for a fusion twist, add sliced char siu to a sandwich or pizza for a delicious and unexpected flavor combination.

In conclusion, char siu is a delicious and versatile dish that can be prepared in different ways. Whether you cook it in the oven, on a barbecue, or on a stovetop grill, remember to baste the pork with the marinade to achieve that sticky, caramelized glaze. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to create an unforgettable char siu dish that will be the highlight of any meal.

Tips for the Perfect Char Siu

Cutting the Pork

Cutting the pork correctly is a crucial step in achieving the perfect texture for your char siu. Slicing the meat against the grain is essential to break down the muscle fibers and create tender, juicy pork that is easy to eat. Start by cutting the roast into manageable pieces, and then slice each piece against the grain into thin, even slices. Try to keep the slices as consistent as possible, so they cook evenly and look uniform.

Making Extra Sauce

No one likes dry, flavorless char siu – but you can easily avoid this problem by making extra marinade sauce to serve alongside your dish. The sweet, salty, and savory sauce is an important component to achieving the authentic taste of char siu. Simply double or triple the recipe and set aside some of the sauce to serve on the side or use as a dipping sauce for other dishes. You can also use the leftover sauce to marinate other meats or vegetables for a tasty meal.

Experimenting with Flavors

If you’re feeling adventurous, try experimenting with different flavors in your char siu marinade. While the traditional recipe calls for a blend of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and five-spice powder, you can add other spices or seasonings to customize the flavor. For instance, try adding star anise for a licorice-like flavor, cinnamon for a warm, sweet flavor, or ginger for a spicy kick. You can also adjust the amount of sugar or salt to your liking, depending on how sweet or salty you prefer your char siu.

In conclusion, by following these easy tips, you can create the perfect char siu in your own kitchen. Remember to cut the pork against the grain, make extra sauce for serving or dipping, and experiment with different flavors to customize the taste. Whether you prefer a sweeter or spicier version, char siu is a delicious and versatile dish that’s sure to please any palate.

Thank You for Reading!

We hope you enjoyed this authentic recipe for char siu and feel confident in mastering the art of this delicious dish. Remember, the key to the perfect char siu is in the marinade and cooking technique. With some practice, you’ll be able to impress your family and friends with your skills. Don’t forget to serve with some steaming hot rice and enjoy!

If you have any questions or comments, we would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave us a message or visit our website for more amazing recipes. And don’t forget to come back and visit us again soon for more culinary adventures and insights. Happy cooking!


1. What cut of meat should I use for char siu?

You should use boneless pork shoulder for the best results.

2. How long should I marinate the meat for?

It is recommended to marinate the meat for at least 4 hours, or up to 24 hours for maximum flavor.

3. Can I use a different type of sugar for the marinade?

Yes, you can use brown sugar or honey instead of white sugar for a different flavor profile.

4. Can I cook char siu in the oven?

Yes, you can cook char siu in the oven at 350°F for 25-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F.

5. What type of soy sauce should I use?

You should use dark soy sauce for a more authentic flavor, but regular soy sauce can also be used.

6. What is the difference between char siu and BBQ pork?

Char siu is a Cantonese dish, while BBQ pork is a Western dish. Char siu is typically sweeter and more flavorful than BBQ pork.

7. Can I freeze char siu?

Yes, you can freeze char siu for up to 3 months. Simply wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store in the freezer.

8. What vegetables go well with char siu?

Bok choy, broccoli, and snow peas are all great options to serve with char siu.

9. What type of wine should I pair with char siu?

A light red wine, such as Pinot Noir or Beaujolais, pairs well with char siu.

10. Can I make char siu with chicken?

Yes, you can make char siu with chicken thighs for a healthier option. Simply substitute the pork with the chicken and adjust the cooking time accordingly.

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About the Author: David Dunlap

Worked in restaurants for years before turning to food writing and has won multiple awards for the work, including more than a dozen awards.

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