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Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) thinly sliced and fanned out on a cutting board.
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4.96 from 73 votes

Sweet and Sticky Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)

If you love a juicy, sweet & sticky char siu (Chinese BBQ Pork), try this easy recipe! Delicious char siu is achievable at home in an oven or on a grill!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 706kcal
Author: Joyce | Pups with Chopsticks

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 2 tablespoons honey (or maltose or barley malt syrup or fancy molasses (not blackstrap molasses))
  • 1-2 cubes  red fermented tofu (add an additional 4 teaspoons of the sauce, mashed together - this is also known as red bean curd)
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic (roughly chopped, approximately 1 ½ tablespoons)
  • 4 slices of ginger (roughly chopped, approximately 2-3 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon  Chinese five spice powder
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice cooking wine (or dry sherry)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Korean pepper flakes (optional, for additional color and a mild spiciness. It will also give it an earthier flavor)

Meat

  • 2-3 lbs pork shoulder (cut into long strips, 3 inch wide)

Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • leftover marinade

Instructions

Cutting and Marinating the Meat

  • Cut the pork shoulder into long strips, that are roughly 3 inch thick. Mine are usually sized around 3 inches wide, and 5-7 inches long.
  • Combine the ingredients in the marinade section into a ziplock or a big bowl and combine it with the pork.
  • Marinate it in the fridge for 24 hours.

Preparing the Glaze

  • Remove the meat from the marinade and let it sit for an hour at room temperature before cooking
  • Add all the marinade to a small pot including the chunks of garlic and ginger. Cooking the glaze with the ginger and garlic will make it more flavourful.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of honey into the marinade and mix well.
  • Cook it on low heat on a stove for 5 minutes or when the sauce starts to boil.
  • Set it aside for later, we will use this for glazing at the end

(Option 1) Grilling the Pork on the BBQ

  • Heat up BBQ to 325F (162C)
  • Cook the char siu for 15 mins on one side, then flip it for another 10 mins. Check the meat thermometer. The temperature should be around 145F (62C). If it's not, keep the meat on longer until it reaches that internal temperature.
  • Once it hits an internal temperature of 145F (62C), we will use the glaze and glaze it 4-5 times, flipping the meat every minute to prevent burning
  • When the meat looks red, sticky and slightly burnt, remove it from the BBQ and let it rest for 20 mins on a plate before cutting into it.
  • Once the meat has rested, cut it up and enjoy!!

(Option 2) Cooking the Char Siu in the Oven

  • Line a sheet pan with foil before setting down a metal rack over it for easier cleanup. Using a metal rack over the sheet pan also will give the char siu proper airflow to roast in the oven. Place the meat on top of the rack.
    If you don't have a rack, you can take foil and crunch them up into loose foil balls and rest the meat on that.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 400F (204C).
  • Once the oven has reached 400F (204C) bake the pork for 20 minutes.
  • Flip the pork and cook for another 20 minutes

Glazing the Char Siu

  • Increase the oven temperature to 425F (218C)
  • For the next 20 minutes, flip and glaze the meat every 5 minutes until all the glaze is brushed on. Don't worry if there are charred sections, it's a trademark of char siu as well! :)
  • Once the meat is done (when it reaches an internal temperature of 145F (62C)), let it rest for 10-15 minutes, cut it up and enjoy! :)

Notes

  • Depending on your oven, the heat may vary. If you notice that you are not getting much of a char on your char siu, set the oven to broil and broil each side for 3-5 minutes (6-10 minutes in total) at the very end when the meat has finished cooking. Make sure you don't leave the area and watch the oven while it is broiling since it can burn very quickly.
  • If you are using molasses for this recipe, use fancy or cooking molasses only. Do not use blackstrap molasses, it has a bitter taste.
  • If you cannot find red fermented bean curd, you can substitute this with 3 tablespoons of oyster sauce.
  • Make sure you bring the char siu out of the fridge for an hour before you cook it. This will ensure that the pork will cook all the way through to the middle evenly.
  • Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru) is an optional ingredient and is definitely not in authentic and traditional char siu. If you decide to use it, it will give your pork additional red colour but it will also be a bit of spiciness to it as well. It will also give the char siu an earthier flavour. So if you don't want this - skip it! :)

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 706kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 59g | Fat: 44g | Sodium: 546mg | Sugar: 17g