Nothing beats smelling char siu roasting in the oven. It’s a blast from the past! All those days eating saimins, fried rice, chow fun, manapua, etc. Char siu is a light flavorful meat which is wonderful to garnish in any meal.
Ask any local from Hawaii if they know what char siu. I’m sure they would describe it as “the red meat” you eat with ________. It is most commonly used as a meat garnish for a lot of dishes. You can definitely swing by any local grocery store and order a one pound char siu meat, slice it up thinly, and add it to any dish you will be serving that night. Although you can conveniently do that, nothing beats a home cooked char siu. You’ll never have to worry if the meat will expire in the next few days or any additional ingredients added.
Best Pork Cuts
The best cut of pork to use for char siu are pork shoulder or pork butt. They have the most fat which means it will guarantee the meat to be the juiciest. If you are looking for a leaner substitute, you can use pork tenderloin. It will be drier but it will still taste good. If you are looking for a richer and melt in your mouth meat, go with pork belly.
How to Make Char Siu
- Mix the marinade sauce together in a large bowl
- Cut the meat into three pounds and three inches thick
- Combine meat and marinade sauce in a Ziploc bag while reserving about 2-3 tablespoons of the marinade
- Marinade for a day or two in the fridge
- Line a baking sheet with foil and add a wire rack on top
- Pour water on the baking sheet and add the meat to the wire rack
- Bake at 475° F for 25 minutes, then flip the pork, baste with the marinade mixed with honey and water, and rotate the sheet 180 degrees
- Bake for another 15, baste, flip pork, and baste again
- Bake for a final 10 minutes and baste all sides
- Rest for 15 minutes then slice and serve
Five Spice is a blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, and Szechwan peppercorns. It’s what gives that unique taste to char siu. It has a slight licorice like flavor with a hint of sweet and spicy kick. Most of the time you can find this spice in the spice aisle in any grocery store, but if you are having trouble finding it at the store, you can go here to order it online.
Prepackaged Char Siu Marinade
If you are in a rush or need to cut the time making char siu, I strongly recommend using NOH’s Char Siu Seasoning mix. I’ve used it, my aunt used it, my sister used it…pretty much this packet is really a winnah! All you have to do is combine the seasoning mix with water, marinade the meat, and roast the meat in the oven. You are just cutting out the step where you make the marinade.
Check out this video to help you gain more insight on how to make Char Siu. Also, subscribe to my YouTube to help support me so I can continue making more of these contents. Mahalo!
Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)
- 3 lb pork shoulder/butt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp five spice
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp rice wine/dry sherry (use chicken stock if you don't want to use alcohol)
- 2 tbsp shoyu (soy sauce)
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp fermented red bean curd sauce (optional) (natural way to dye the meat red)
- 2-4 drops red food coloring (optional)
- 3 cloves crushed garlic
- 2 tbsp honey
- Char Siu is widely recognized for its bright red color meat. It has a slight sweet taste with a hint of a unique spiciness. Char siu is used most commonly throughout the islands as a meat garnish.
- Mix together in a medium bowl brown sugar, sugar, salt, five spice, white pepper, sesame oil, rice wine, shoyu, hoisin sauce, fermented red bean curd sauce or red food coloring, minced garlic, and honey.
- Reserve 2-3 tablespoons of the marinade to use for basting the pork later on.
- Place the meat in a large enough container/Ziploc bag to cover all of the meat in the marinade sauce. Let it marinade in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. (The longer the better to soak up more of the sauce.) Halfway through the marinade time, flip the pork to make sure all sides are evenly marinading.
- Preheat the oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and add a lined rack on top. This will make cleaning easier. Pour some water to the pan to help prevent smoking when the sauce drips onto the pan. Evenly space out the pork when adding it to the wire rack.
- Roast the pork in the oven for 25 minutes. In the meantime, combine the reserved marinade with the honey and water.
- Baste the pork then flip it and baste again. Rotate the pan 180 degrees to ensure even roasting. If the water has dried out, add more water to the pan. Roast again for another 15 minutes.
- Baste, then flip the pork and baste again. Roast for a final 10 minutes. If the water has dried out, add more water to the pan.
- Take the meat out from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes. Slice the meat into thin slices and serve it hot. Enjoy!