Braised Char Siu (BBQ Pork)

Braised char siu, a traditional Cantonese dish, presents succulent pork marinated in a sweet and savory sauce, then slow-cooked to tender perfection. This culinary masterpiece boasts a rich blend of flavors, derived from ingredients like honey, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and Chinese five-spice powder, creating a tantalizing harmony that delights the palate. Typically served with steamed rice or noodles, braised char siu offers a comforting and satisfying dining experience, showcasing the artistry and depth of Cantonese cuisine. Whether enjoyed at a bustling dim sum restaurant or prepared at home, this beloved dish is sure to leave a lasting impression with its irresistible aroma and melt-in-your-mouth texture.

What cut of meat to use in braised char siu

Using pork shoulder for char siu offers a perfect balance of flavor and texture, making it an ideal choice for this iconic Cantonese dish. The marbling of fat within the pork shoulder ensures juiciness and tenderness, while its robust flavor profile complements the sweet and savory marinade traditionally used in char siu recipes. This cut’s versatility allows it to absorb the flavors of the marinade during the cooking process, resulting in succulent and flavorful meat that pairs wonderfully with rice, noodles, or steamed vegetables. Pork shoulder’s affordability and availability also make it a practical option for home cooks and restaurant chefs alike, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the deliciousness of homemade char siu without compromising on taste or quality. I cut them up into large pieces even so that they cook evenly and are tender when braised.

Important ingredients

Key ingredients for a flavorful char siu marinade include:

  1. Hoisin Sauce: Adds sweetness and depth of flavor to the marinade.
  2. Soy Sauce: Provides saltiness and enhances the umami taste.
  3. Honey or Sugar: Adds sweetness and helps caramelize the meat during cooking.
  4. Chinese Five Spice Powder: A blend of spices such as star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, and fennel seeds, adding complexity and aroma.
  5. Garlic: Adds depth of flavor and aroma to the marinade.
  6. Ginger: Provides a warm, spicy flavor and helps tenderize the meat.
  7. Shaoxing Wine (or Rice Wine): Adds a hint of sweetness and depth of flavor to the marinade.
  8. Sesame Oil: Enhances the overall flavor profile with its nutty aroma.
  9. Red Fermented Bean Curd (Optional): Offers a unique savory flavor and helps tenderize the meat.
  10. Food Coloring (Optional): Traditionally, red food coloring is added to give char siu its signature vibrant red color.

These ingredients combine to create a complex, sweet, and savory marinade that infuses the pork with irresistible flavor. Adjusting the quantities of these ingredients allows for customization according to personal taste preferences.

Braised Char Siu

Braised char siu is my take on char siu braised and slow cook until extremely fall apart tender.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Course dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine cantonese, Chinese
Servings 4 people


  • 2 lbs pork shoulder
  • 1 onion
  • 2 shallots
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 slices ginger
  • 1 tbsp Chinese five spice powder
  • ½ tbsp black pepper
  • tbsp oyster sauce
  • tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
  • 500 ml beef stock (as needed)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • sesame seeds
  • green onions


  • Cut your pork shoulder into 3 inch cubes. Try to make each piece as even as possible.
  • Roughly dice your onions, and slice ginger. Set aside
  • Into a hot pot, add 1 tbsp of oil, then sear your cut pork shoulder on each side until nicely browned. Remove and set aside.
  • Add your diced onions, sliced ginger, and garlic. Stir 1 minute.
  • Add all the remaining sauces listed on this step. You can also premix them to make your life easier. Stir 2 minutes.
  • Add seared pork back into the pan. Top with beef stock, just enough to cover the meat.
  • Bring the pot up to a boil then skim off any scum you see float to the top.
  • Cover with a lid and place into the oven at 350F for 2 hours.
  • Remove the meat onto a separate plate.
  • Strain out the remaining liquid and place it onto a pan.
  • Add butter and heat this up while mixing.
  • Add your pork back into the pan and baste with the sauce until it reaches your desired flavor and consistency.
  • Serve on top of rice, top with sesame seeds and green onions.
Keyword bbq, braised, cantonese, pork

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