Char Siu Recipe: Authentic Cantonese-Style Chinese BBQ Pork With Sweet and Savory Flavors

by akash

You’re prepared to immerse yourself in the world of authentic Cantonese-style Char Siu, a sweet and savory BBQ pork recipe that’s been perfected over generations in Guangdong, China. To create this mouthwatering dish, you’ll need good quality pork, preferably a fatty cut, and a marinade that balances sweet, savory, and umami flavors. Explore different marinade variations, and master the roasting process with expert tips. Learn to make Char Siu through video tutorials, and get ready to elevate your sandwiches, salads, noodle dishes, and stir-fries with sliced Char Siu. Immerse yourself to discover the secrets of this traditional Cantonese recipe.


Key Takeaways

  • Use high-quality pork, preferably a fatty cut like pork shoulder, for tender and juicy Char Siu.
  • Balance sweet, savory, and umami flavors in the marinade to achieve authentic Char Siu taste.
  • Roast the pork at 400°F, basting with marinade every 20-30 minutes, to achieve caramelized crust and tender meat.
  • Let the pork rest before slicing to ensure juices redistribute, making the meat even more tender and flavorful.
  • Customize the marinade with ingredients like soy sauce, oyster sauce, and five-spice powder to create a unique flavor profile.


What Is Char Siu?

What is Char Siu?

You might know Char Siu, a popular Cantonese roast meat often found in Chinatown noodle shops and roast meat restaurants. It’s famous for its sweet flavor, which has been perfected over time.

A Rich History

Char Siu has a rich history that dates back to the southern province of Guangdong in China. It’s been a staple in Cantonese cuisine for centuries, originating from the Qing dynasty. This dish is more than just food; it’s often served at family gatherings, celebrations, and special occasions.

The Art of Making Char Siu

The art of making Char Siu has been passed down through generations. Recipes and techniques have been refined over time to achieve the perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors. Today, Char Siu remains an iconic symbol of Cantonese cuisine, enjoyed by people from all walks of life.

Learn to Make Char Siu

As you start this culinary journey, you’ll discover the secrets behind this beloved dish and learn to recreate it in the comfort of your own kitchen.


Using Char Siu in Recipes

Using Char Siu in Recipes

Now that you’ve mastered making Char Siu, it’s time to explore its versatility in various recipes. You can elevate your sandwich game by adding sliced Char Siu, pairing it with crunchy veggies and tangy sauces.

Char Siu in Salads

  • Combine Char Siu with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and a drizzle of soy sauce for a refreshing twist.
  • The sweet and savory flavors of Char Siu complement a variety of greens, making it an excellent addition to salads.

Char Siu in Noodle Dishes and Stir-Fries

  • Use Char Siu in noodle dishes, stir-fries, and fried rice to add depth of flavor and texture to these classic Chinese dishes.

Get Creative with Char Siu

  • Try using Char Siu in place of traditional meats in Western-inspired recipes, like tacos or wraps.
  • Experiment with Char Siu to find your favorite ways to incorporate it into your cooking repertoire.
  • With its rich flavor profile and tender texture, Char Siu is sure to become a staple in your kitchen.

Char Siu Pork - Chinese BBQ Pork

Authentic Char Siu Recipe

Authentic Char Siu Recipe

To make a delicious and authentic Cantonese-style Char Siu, you need to start with good quality pork. The type of pork you choose is important because it affects the sweetness and tenderness of the final dish. A fatty cut like pork shoulder is ideal because it absorbs the flavors of the marinade well.

Char Siu Marinade Variations

There are many ways to make a Char Siu marinade. Here are a few popular variations:

  • Traditional
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Sweet & Smoky
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Spicy
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp five-spice powder
  • 1 clove garlic

The Secret to Authentic Char Siu

In traditional Cantonese-style Char Siu, the marinade is a perfect balance of sweet, savory, and umami flavors. You can try different marinade variations to find your favorite. Remember, using high-quality ingredients and enough sugar is key to achieving that signature sweetness.


Video Tutorial and Tips

Master the Art of Char Siu with Our Video Tutorial

Watch our video tutorial to learn how to make the perfect Char Siu from start to finish. This step-by-step guide will show you how to:

  • Cut the pork correctly
  • Marinate it with the right flavorings
  • Roast it to perfection

The Secret to Perfect Marinade

The marinade is where the magic happens. You’ll learn how to combine sugar, salt, and spices to create that signature sweetness. Follow our tips to get the perfect blend of flavors.

Expert Tips to Elevate Your Char Siu

  • Use an oven thermometer to guarantee the perfect roasting temperature.
  • Line a sheet pan with foil and a rack for even roasting and easy cleanup.

By following these expert tips, you’ll be on your way to creating an authentic Cantonese-style Char Siu that’s sure to impress.


Roasting the Perfect Char Siu

Roasting the Perfect Char Siu

Step 1: Prepare the Pork

Place your marinated pork strips on a foil-lined sheet pan with a rack. This helps the air circulate under the meat, making it crispy on the outside and caramelized.

Step 2: Roast the Pork

Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Roast the pork for 20-25 minutes per pound, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C).

Step 3: Baste the Meat

While the pork is roasting, baste it with the reserved marinade every 20-30 minutes. This keeps the meat moist and adds more flavor.

Step 4: Enhance the Flavor

To make the char siu extra sweet, rotate the pan halfway through the cooking time. This ensures even browning. As the pork roasts, the marinade will caramelize, creating a sticky, sweet, and savory glaze.

Step 5: Check the Temperature

Keep an eye on the meat’s temperature and adjust the roasting time as needed.


Essential Char Siu Ingredients

Essential Char Siu Ingredients

To make authentic char siu, you need a mix of common pantry staples and Asian-inspired ingredients. For the pork marinade, you’ll need:

  • Soy sauce
  • Oyster sauce
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Chinese five-spice powder

These ingredients give char siu its signature sweet and savory flavors. You’ll also need:

  • Brown sugar
  • Garlic
  • Sesame oil

These add depth and richness to the dish.

For roasting, you’ll need:

  • Good quality honey
  • Rice vinegar

These balance the sweetness and acidity in the dish. You’ll also need:

  • Cornstarch
  • Vegetable oil

These help with the roasting process.

With these essential ingredients, you can create authentic Cantonese-style char siu that’s sure to impress!


Preparing the Marinade Mix

Preparing the Marinade Mix

To create the signature flavor of char siu, combine the following ingredients in a bowl:

  • Soy sauce
  • Oyster sauce
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Chinese five-spice powder
  • Brown sugar
  • Garlic
  • Sesame oil

This marinade mix is essential to achieving the perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors. You can either make your own marinade to customize the flavors or use a store-bought version for convenience. However, be aware that store-bought marinades may contain added preservatives and sugars that can affect the authenticity of your char siu.

Tips for Marinating

When it comes to marinating, remember:

  • Refrigerate the pork overnight to allow the flavors to penetrate deep into the meat.
  • Avoid over-marinating, as this can lead to an overpowering flavor and a tough texture.


Cooking the Char Siu Pork

Cooking the Char Siu Pork

Step 1: Prepare the Oven and Pork

Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a sheet pan with foil and a rack. This will help with even roasting and easy cleanup.

Step 2: Prepare the Pork

Take the marinated pork out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Keep the marinade aside for later use.

Step 3: Roast the Pork

Place the pork on the prepared sheet pan, leaving some space between each piece. Roast the pork in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C).

Step 4: Baste and Check the Pork

Every 10 minutes, baste the pork with the reserved marinade to keep it moist and help create the char siu glaze. Check the pork’s temperature and adjust the roasting time as needed.

Step 5: Let it Rest

Once cooked, remove the pork from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then, slice and serve.


Serving and Storing Char Siu

Serving Char Siu

Now that you’ve cooked your char siu, it’s time to serve it. Here are some ideas:
– Pair it with steamed rice and stir-fried vegetables for a well-rounded meal.
– Use it as a filling for pork buns.
– Add it as a topping for noodle dishes.

Storing Char Siu

To store char siu, follow these steps:
– Let it cool completely before refrigerating or freezing.
– Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

Tips for Storage

  • Use airtight containers or ziplock bags to prevent drying out.
  • If freezing, divide the char siu into portions before freezing, making it easier to thaw and reheat as needed.

Reheating Char Siu

To reheat char siu, simply:
– Steam or microwave until warmed through.
– Slice and serve.


Nutrition Facts and Variations

Nutrition Facts and Variations of Char Siu

When you enjoy char siu, you might wonder about its nutritional profile and potential variations to suit your dietary needs. Luckily, this Cantonese-style BBQ pork isn’t only delicious but also packs a nutritional punch.

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 274kcal (14% of daily value)
  • Carbohydrates: 14g (5% of daily value)
  • Protein: 39g (78% of daily value)
  • Fat: 6g (9% of daily value)

Variations of Char Siu:

You can experiment with different flavor pairings to suit your taste. Try:

  • Pairing char siu with steamed vegetables for a healthier option
  • Pairing char siu with noodles for a satisfying meal

Benefits of Char Siu:

  • High protein content
  • Good balance of macronutrients
  • Sweet and savory flavors can help stimulate your appetite and aid digestion

Whether you’re looking for a quick snack or a nutritious meal, char siu is an excellent choice.

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