Chinese Barbecue Pork (Char Siu Pork)

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A delicious and simple recipe for Chinese Barbecue Pork (Char Sir Pork) which you can make at home with everyday pantry ingredients in just 10 minutes!

chinese barbecue pork char siu pork on metal tray

One thing I miss about living in Australia is being able to visit the local Chinatown, whether it be for a traditional Dim Sum breakfast, a browse through the colourful aisles of the Vietnamese grocer, or a visit to the Chinese bakery for their light and fluffy cakes.

Something I deeply miss are the restaurants where you can buy one of the Chinese roast ducks on display, as well as their crispy pork belly, or the ever popular Chinese barbecue pork (also known as char siu pork).

There is no Chinatown in Zurich. In fact, the Asian population here is very scant, but we are lucky to have a few amazing Chinese and Vietnamese grocers, as well as a growing number of south-east Asian restaurants.

chinese barbecue pork char siu pork sliced with pak choy

That said, I still miss being able to pop into Chinatown to pick up something for a quick dinner. I miss being able to rely on good Chinese takeaway food, and I miss, quite simply, good Chinese takeaway food.

I have always felt that moving to Switzerland made me a better cook. In the absence of being able to buy many food items which I used to enjoy back in Australia, I have had to slowly learn how to recreate most of those dishes at home. Chinese barbecue pork, or char siu pork, is one of those dishes.

And like so many other things which I have re-created at home, making your own Chinese barbecue pork is incredibly easy, and the results are so delicious that this will become a regular dish in your home!

What is Char Siu Sauce?

A char siu marinade is a mix of various Asian pantry ingredients, including soy sauce, oyster sauce, honey, and Chinese five-spice powder. I like to add grated fresh ginger to my marinade for a bit of warm heat.

The Chinese barbecue pork that you find in most Chinese restaurants often has a tinge of red in the meat, either from using red fermented tofu in the marinade, or from red food colouring.

Red fermented tofu can be tricky to find, depending on where you live, so my recipe below uses ingredients which are more readily available in most mainstream supermarkets, thus saving you a trip to a specialist Asian grocery store.

Although, if you have easy access to the latter, I highly recommend buying your Asian pantry ingredients there as the brands which they stock are more authentic in taste.

chinese barbecue pork char siu pork with cutlery

What Cut of Meat to Use for Char Siu Pork

The cut of meat I like to use for Chinese barbecue pork is tenderloin, simply because it is easy for the children to eat, and also because we love the succulence and tenderness of the cut.

What to Serve with Char Siu Pork

My family love this Chinese barbecue pork served simply with steamed Jasmine rice and some steamed Chinese greens on the side (pak choi or Chinese broccoli work really well here).

If you are serving a Chinese-themed dinner with shared plates, my Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken would be an excellent partner to this Char Siu Pork.

For those who like to add a bit of spice, I always keep a jar of Pickled Chillies in my fridge, and it goes perfectly with all Asian dishes.

I hope you will enjoy this recipe!

chinese barbecue pork char siu pork with blue tea towel

Chinese Barbecue Pork (Char Siu Pork)

chinese barbecue pork char siu pork

5 from 10 reviews

A delicious and simple recipe for Chinese Barbecue Pork (Char Sir Pork) which you can make at home with everyday pantry ingredients in just 10 minutes!

  • Author: eatlittlebird.com
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

For the marinade

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons runny honey
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely grated
  • 1 inch (2 cm) knob of ginger, peeled and finely grated

For the Chinese Barbecue Pork

  • 2 tablespoons runny honey (extra for the glaze)
  • 2 pieces of pork tenderloin, approx 1 lb (500 g) each

Instructions

  1. Place all of the ingredients for the marinade into a bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Place the pork into a large ziplock freezer bag and pour the marinade inside. Make sure the pork is well-coated in the marinade. Place the bag into the fridge and leave it to marinate for at least 2-3 hours, or overnight.
  3. When you are ready to roast the pork, take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature in the marinade (this will take about 30 minutes).
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  5. Place a roasting rack on a large baking tray and half fill the tray with boiling water. The rack needs to be high enough so that, when the meat is sitting on top of the rack, the meat should not touch the water. The water helps to create a steam in the oven to cook the pork and to keep it moist.
  6. Place the pork on the roasting rack and roast for about 30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes or so (see next step).
  7. Meanwhile, pour the reserved marinade into a small saucepan and add the extra 2 tablespoons of honey. Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer gently for a few minutes until the sauce is thick and syrupy. Use this sauce to baste the pork.
  8. After 30 minutes, turn the oven to grill (or broil) mode on high heat. If possible, place the tray as high as possible in the oven under the grill. Baste the pork generously every 3-5 minutes, making sure that it is browning nicely and doesn’t burn. Once the pork has caramelised nicely, remove the tray from the oven.
  9. Let the pork rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.

Kitchen Notes

The size and thickness of pork tenderloin can vary greatly, so you may need to adjust your cooking times accordingly. The best way to check if the meat is perfectly cooked is to use a digital meat thermometer. Simply insert the needle into the thickest part of the meat, and the temperature should read between 145-160°F (60-70°C) for well-cooked pork.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4
  • Calories: 337
  • Sugar: 31.9g
  • Sodium: 543.3mg
  • Fat: 10.8g
  • Carbohydrates: 36.2g
  • Fiber: 0.6g
  • Protein: 24.9g
  • Cholesterol: 74.1mg

Did you make this recipe?

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32 Comments

  1. Gillian Thompson 23 March 2017

    If you can’t get to Chinatown then bring Chinatown to you – your Charsiu Pork looks amazing.

    Reply
  2. This pork looks so juicy and flavorful! Yum!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 23 March 2017

      Thanks, Sarah! That’s what I love about using tenderloin – the meat is always so lovely and succulent 🙂

      Reply
  3. A wonderful way to cook pork, the chinese flavours are amazing. A great recipe to be able to make this at home.

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 23 March 2017

      Thanks, Helen 🙂 Indeed, it’s great to be able to make this at home, especially since it is relatively easy to make and always a family favourite.

      Reply
  4. Brandi Crawford 23 March 2017

    WOW! This looks fabulous and soooooo juicy!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 23 March 2017

      Thanks, Brandi! It’s definitely a family favourite, and the children probably love it so much because the meat is so juicy and tender 🙂

      Reply
  5. Christine 23 March 2017

    My husband has been talking about trying to make this at home. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
  6. Eloise 24 March 2017

    Hi Thanh, I love your blog! I am wondering, are your recipes based on using a fan forced or convectional oven? Thanking you.

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 24 March 2017

      Thanks, Eloise!! I almost always use the oven in regular mode, i.e. as a conventional oven. I only recently learnt how to use the fan settings (i.e. convection oven) – something Mimi Thorisson showed me at her workshop 🙂 So for my recipes, you can assume that it is a regular oven with NO fan.

      Reply
  7. KR 24 March 2017

    Mmm.. II am waiting for Summer and grill and chill 🙂 Amazing and mouthwatering photos. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  8. The-FoodTrotter 5 April 2017

    This tenderloin is gorgeously glazed and cooked to perfection! I’m litteraly drooling! I need to try it as soon as I can 🙂

    Reply
  9. Leo Tat 20 April 2017

    My first impression when I saw your photo is that your pork dish looks so much like Char Siu 叉燒. And it actually is lol. Char Siu is popular in Cantonese restaurants, but for home cooking, we only make it once or twice a year.

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 22 April 2017

      My mother is part-Chinese and she made this quite often when I was growing up. Well, more than once or twice a year 😉 But I agree that it is a special dish, but as it is relatively easy to make, I like to make it when we have guests.

      Reply
  10. Helen Powell 21 April 2017

    I made this for my family in Easter Sunday. It is absolutely delicious and has become a favorite. Very simple to make and quick to cook. Couldn’t get any better than that

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 22 April 2017

      Thanks, Helen! I’m so happy to hear that your family enjoyed this dish 🙂 And how wonderful that you made it for Easter Sunday. I love that the recipe works for both special occasions and everyday cooking. Thanks for leaving your feedback 🙂

      Reply
  11. Buffy Shaw 10 December 2017

    This looks so amazing I am making it this year as an alternative to Turkey for Christmas!

    Reply
  12. […] has perhaps the broadest BBQ in the entire world. Largely devoted to street food where carts sear all manner of meats in a huge […]

    Reply
  13. Cherie Byrne 28 January 2018

    delicious! I’ve made it twice in 3 weeks already. Thank you

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 30 January 2018

      Oh that’s great to hear!! So glad you have enjoyed this recipe – it’s one of my all time favourites 🙂

      Reply
  14. Billy williams 13 February 2018

    Just made this and it was the best char Sui I’ve made. I’ll be making it again and again and again!!!!!

    Reply
  15. Andy Pope 14 March 2018

    Made this recipe last night and wow never cook anything Chinese before so a real beginner here all was spot on will be doing it again many times thank you for sharing. I had with sweet broccoli snap peas and rice

    Reply
  16. Andy Pope 14 March 2018

    Forgot to put stars on 5 outta 5

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 16 March 2018

      Thanks so much for your feedback! So glad to hear that you enjoyed this recipe 🙂

      Reply
  17. Donna 17 March 2018

    This is amazing, taste beautiful. Would definitely recommend it

    Reply
  18. Julia 16 April 2018

    I️ just drooled!!! This looks heaven! I want some! YUM!

    Reply

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