Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)

8 people
1 hr

I grew up eating char siu (or Chinese BBQ pork). In Thai, it’s called moo dang, which literally means red pork. Growing up it was the easiest meal my mom could get on the table. This pork is sold in many Asian grocery stores and restaurants. Just slice up the pork from the Asian market and serve it on rice with sliced cucumbers (or in this case, I did shishito peppers!). Once I got to college and needed a quick meal, this is exactly what I would do.

Tips for juicy char siu

Try to choose fatty pork. Cut the strips in a way that all pieces will still have fat on them. This will keep your meat juicy.

I did multiple tests of different roasting times and temperatures. Lower temperatures made the pork wonderfully juicy, but it lacked the texture that a lot of the pork you’ll find in Chinatown has. I still wanted it to be juicy while having a nice chew.

Roasting with a rack

Not pictured above, but roast the char siu on a roasting rack placed inside a baking sheet lined with foil. Pour water over the foil. This allows the air to circulate around the pork, creating a more evenly cooked piece of meat. The water prevents any drippings from burning.

How do you get it to be red?

It’s food coloring! I use gel food coloring which is more concentrated than liquid food coloring. You may need to use more coloring if you’re using liquid in order to still get a bright red color.

Wnat more Asian recipes?

Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)
Recipe details
  • 8  people
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 50 Minutes Total time: 1 hr
Show Nutrition Info
Hide Nutrition Info

  • 2 lbs pork shoulder*
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 10 drops red food coloring (optional, I use gel food coloring*)
  • 2 tablespoons maltose (or honey)

Cut the pork into long strips that are about 1 inch tall and 2 inches long.
Mix all ingredients except the honey. Place pork and marinade in a container or plastic bag. Let marinate for 8 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place an oven safe cooling or roasting rack on top. Pour enough water into the pan to cover most of the bottom. Place the pork on the rack. Do not discard the marinade.
Roast the pork for 10 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 350°F. Roast for another 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the marinade on medium heat in a small saucepan until boiling. Once boiling, lower to a simmer and simmer for 2 minutes. Mix 1 tablespoon of the marinade with the maltose or honey.
After the pork has roasted, baste with the marinade. Roast for another 15 minutes.
Flip the pork, baste with marinade again, and roast for another 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve over rice with your favorite Chinese vegetable.
  • Pork Shoulder: Also known as pork butt. Be sure when slicing the pork that each strip contains fat.
  • Gel Food Coloring: Gel food coloring is more concentrated than liquid food coloring. You may need to use more if using liquid.
Elle | SimpletoScratch
Want more details about this and other recipes? Check out more here!
  • Tutens Tutens on Oct 14, 2021

    Thank you for this recipe. I have been looking for it for a really long time, about 20 years. This pork was always ordered when my family and I would go out to our favorite Chinese restaurant and it would always be the first item gone. Not many restaurants offer this any more, but now I can make it at home. Thank you

  • MaryAnn Green MaryAnn Green on Oct 20, 2021

    char sui is also great with chicken and ribs 😋