Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)

Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)

Char Siu is a type of Chinese roast meat. You can use different cuts of pork for this dish but I find that pork butt/shoulder is best suited. You get all the delicious meatiness with a perfect amount of fattiness. 

The fun part is that Char Siu is used in a variety of Chinese food items such as BBQ pork buns, fried rice, stir-fry, etc. Once you’ve master the Char Siu, you will be able to make many of the other dishes noted above. I will post recipes for those later so be sure to check back!

 Prep Time: 15 minutes | Marinate Time: 10-36 hours
Cook Time: 55 minutes | Total Working Time: 70 minutes
Servings: 5 to 7


  • 2.5 pounds of boneless pork butt or pork shoulders (see note #1)
  • 3/4 teaspoons of five spice powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of brown sugar (see note #2)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing wine (optional, see note #3)
  • 1 tablespoon of hoison sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon of oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon of dark soy sauce 
  • 2 teaspoons of molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil (optional)
  • 2 pieces of red bean curd and 1 1/2 tablespoon of the juice (see note #4)
  • 5 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of minced ginger (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of honey or maltose (for basting)
  1. You can use other cuts such as pork belly, pork loin, etc. If you are using a leaner cut, use higher heat and cook for a shorter amount of time. Plus, keep a closer eye on the meat when baking as lean cuts are less forgiving and can easily dry out if overcooked.
  2. You can substitute with white sugar if you don’t have brown sugar. Add an extra small dash of molasses into the sauce mixture if you do substitute the sugar (brown sugar is simply white sugar and molasses).
  3. You can substitute Shaoxing wine with dry sherry.
  4. Red bean curd is used for extra flavor and color. If you do not have this item readily available, you can use red yeast rice or red food coloring.


  1.  Cut the pork into 2-3 equal long strips. Leave all the excess fat as it will render off in the oven. Pat dry and set aside.
  2.  Combine all the ingredients except for the honey/maltose in a flat container or ziplock bag. Reserve 3 tablespoons in a separate bowl. This will be used to baste the meat later on. 
  3. Add the pork into the container or ziplock with the marinade and mix until it is evenly coated. Cover or zip and refrigerate for 24-36 hours (at least for 10 hours). 
  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees with the rack positioned at the upper third of the oven. 
  5. Line a sheet pan with foil and pour 2 cups of water into the pan. The water will keep the meat drippings from burning. 
  6. Place an oven-safe metal wire rack on top on the lined sheet pan. This will help the pork roast more evenly. 
  7.  Place the pork on the rack, leaving ample space between each piece. 
  8. Transfer the sheet pan to the oven and roast for 20 minutes. 
  9. After 20 minutes, flip the pork and turn the pan 180 degrees. Add 1 to 1 1/2 cup of water to the sheet pan if the bottom is dry. Roast for another 20 minutes.
  10. In the meantime, combine the reserved marinade with the honey or maltose. If it’s too hard to mix, heat it up in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. This will be your basting sauce.
  11. Once the pork has been roasted for a total of 40 minutes, baste both sides of the pork. Roast for another 8-10 minutes. 
  12. The pork should be fully cooked and caramelized on the top. If you want to further caramelize it, you can turn the broiler on high for 2-3 minutes. You will need to give your full attention to the pork during this time because the caramelized crust can easily burn.
  13. Remove from oven and baste of any leftover reserved sauce. Let the meat rest for 15-20 minutes. 
  14. Slice and enjoy!

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