Rating: 4.5 stars
106 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 74
  • 4 star values: 20
  • 3 star values: 6
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 4

Char siu is Chinese restaurant-style pork with a deep red, sweet and sticky coating. Char siu literally means "fork roast" and refers to the traditional method of cooking this dish by which strips of seasoned pork were skewered with long forks and roasted in a covered oven or over a fire. This version uses pork tenderloin and is easy to make at home on your charcoal grill. Enjoy the sweet and salty taste on its own or serve it over rice or noodles.

Recipe Summary

cook:
35 mins
additional:
2 hrs
total:
2 hrs 45 mins
prep:
10 mins
Servings:
4
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This irresistibly delicious Chinese barbecue pork recipe has a rich, salty-sweet flavor that gets high marks from our community of home cooks. Dive into the tangy blend of honey, rice wine, and brown sugar that coats every bite of succulent pork tenderloin. Learn how to make this flavorful favorite right here — plus, get tips on the best way to serve, store, and freeze char siu. 

Char Siu Ingredients

The wonderfully sweet and savory flavor of this Chinese dish comes from a unique blend of pantry ingredients. Soy sauce, honey, ketchup, and brown sugar create the base of the luscious marinade, while hoisin sauce and red bean curd add depth. 

Juicy pork tenderloin is the main event of this 5-star recipe. Choose two 1 lb. tenderloins for best results, substituting pork loin or pork chops if necessary. 

How to Make Char Siu

You'll find the full recipe below with step-by-step instructions, but here's what you can expect when you make this top-rated recipe;

Begin by gently heating all of the marinade ingredients in a saucepan. Next, slice pork into strips and place them in a large plastic bag. Pour marinade into the bag and refrigerate the contents for at least two hours. 

After marinating, barbecue the pork tenderloin over a charcoal grate for a rich and robust flavor. Baste as the meat cooks, and use a thermometer to mark 145 degrees F for doneness. You'll love the tender meat paired with a tantalizingly fragrant glaze. 

Recipes That Use Char Siu

Char siu can be eaten as is, over rice, or paired with bright green vegetables for a great contrast. Use this zesty pork to stuff steamed buns, in pork fried rice, or as a topping in 

How to Store Char Siu

Refrigerate leftover char siu in an airtight container for up to three days. When you're ready to reheat, simply place the pork on foil and bake in a 350 degrees F oven until thoroughly warmed.

Can I Freeze Char Siu?

Yes, char siu can be frozen for up to one month if stored correctly. Place leftover strips in a freezer bag, squeeze out any air, and thaw in the refrigerator when you're ready for a repeat.  

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"The marinade is delicious!" raves home cook PG. "I've made the marinade twice now. Used part of the second batch in BBQ pork fried rice. Next time I'll use pork shoulder. The tenderloin is a bit too lean for our taste."

"I loved everything about this marinade," shares reviewer Saveur. "Only addition — a slug of rice wine vinegar. With all of the sweet going on I  felt it needed a little acid balance. Hubs grilled to perfection. A keeper!"

"I followed the recipe to the letter and it came out perfect just like my local Chinese restaurant, shares Tanya. "I used my copper crisper basket over a pot of water in the oven at 350 for 40 minutes, and it came out beautiful with a char and all."

Editorial contributions by Rai Mincey

Ingredients

4
Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Marinade:
Pork:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Stir soy sauce, honey, ketchup, brown sugar, rice wine, hoisin sauce, red bean curd, and five-spice powder together in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook and stir until just combined and slightly warm, 2 to 3 minutes.

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  • Meanwhile, slice each pork tenderloin lengthwise into 1 1/2- to 2-inch-thick strips. Place pork strips in a large, resealable plastic bag.

  • Pour marinade into the bag with the pork. Squeeze air from the bag, seal, and turn the bag a few times until pork is well coated. Marinate in the refrigerator, 2 hours to overnight.

  • When ready to cook, preheat a charcoal grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.

  • Remove pork from marinade and shake to remove excess liquid. Set aside the remaining marinade for basting.

  • Rake the hot coals into two equal piles on opposite sides of the charcoal grate. Add a small container of water to the grate. Place pork strips in the center of the grate for indirect cooking.

  • Cook pork over indirect heat, turning regularly and basting as desired, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C), 30 minutes or longer.

Tips

If you can't find red bean curd, use 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring instead, if desired.

To cook over indirect heat on a gas grill, simply turn off the center burner. Place food over that burner and it will cook by the heat on either side.

Editor's Note:

The nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of marinade ingredients. The actual amount of the marinade consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts

483 calories; protein 43.8g; carbohydrates 53.5g; fat 8.9g; cholesterol 126.7mg; sodium 2249.8mg. Full Nutrition
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