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Char Siu - Chinese Roast Pork

Oh my goodness! I tried making this once many, many years ago and it wasn't memorable. This recipe turned out SO well! Juicy, fatty, shiny, salty, sticky sweet and best of all, somehow I achieved that beautiful red color without a single drop of added coloring! Some recipes have you cook the char siu on a grill, some in the oven some at high heat, some low and slow not on direct heat. This recipe is simple. Roasted in the oven and done in 1 1/2 hours.

I've always wanted to try making this again and had the perfect opportunity when I bought a huge pork shoulder from Costco with no prior plan on what to do with it. Char siu freezes well and there are SO many dishes to use it in or just heat it, slice it and just eat it as is!

One memory I have about char siu from my childhood was eating it at my grandma's on Sunday. Sometimes my uncle would pick up an order. It usually came with a side of soy sauce to dip it in, not that it needed it but my uncle loved dipping it in ketchup. Why not? It's Chinese BBQ.

Char Siu - Chinese Roast Pork


3 lbs pork shoulder cut into 4 pieces (first cut in half lengthwise, then again)


1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon five spice powder

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1 Tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine

2 Tablespoon soy sauce

3 Tablespoons hoisin sauce

3 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon water

2 large cloves finely minced garlic


Cut up the pork shoulder into 4 long strips. It is okay to follow along any natural separations. Just remember that if they are different sizes they will cook at different rates and you might have to remove the smaller ones first.

Mix up all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add the pork pieces and mix to coat thoroughly. Transfer to an airtight container or a zip top bag and place in refrigerator to marinate 8 hours or overnight (overnight is best!).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cover your tray with aluminum foil or parchment paper for easier cleanup. Next place a rack on the tray. Add water to the tray, about 1/4"-1/2". Remove pork from the marinade and shake off any excess and place on the rack. Make sure there is some space between each piece. Place in the oven on the middle rack. Set timer for 30 minutes.

Transfer remaining marinade to a bowl. At 30 minutes, lower heat to 300 degrees F. Remove pork, turn the pieces over and baste with more marinade. Return pork to oven and set timer for another 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove pork, turn over and baste again with more marinade. Return to oven and set timer for another 20 minutes. It's okay to baste with the marinade since it is cooking in the oven. Discard any leftover. You could try to bring it up to a boil but I find that it solidifies with all the meat protein. You shouldn't have much remaining after basting several times.

After 20 minutes, check the temperature of each piece of pork. Temperature should read 160 degrees F to be cooked. If the smaller pieces have come up to temperature, transfer those to a heat proof bowl or cutting surface and return the larger pieces to the oven. Check every 10 minutes until all the pork is fully cooked. Let pork rest 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Enjoy with a hot bowl of rice or use it in all kinds of recipes including char siu bao, roast pork fried rice, noodles, the sky's the limit!

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