Char Siu (BBQ Pork)

There’s just countless ways you can utilize char siu. You can turn them into pastry, buns, eat them with rice, noodles…the list goes on. So before you start making all of these different dishes, let me teach you how to master this recipe so you can begin your cooking journey with char siu.

How to prepare pork for char siu

You want to first cut your piece of pork shoulder with the grain into pieces that are about 1.5 inch thick. The reason we wan to cut with the grain first is because you want to cut against the grain after it is cooked. This will result in a more tender final product.

How to cook char siu

There are two methods you can use to cook char siu which is the oven method or grill method. Both work extremely well and easily, however with the grill method you will need to keep an eye in case it burns.

Oven method

  1. Place our pieces of pork over a wire rack and on top of a oven pan lined with tin foil.
  2. Place into a 400F oven for 15 minutes. Flip each piece then back into the oven for another 15 minutes. At this point we are at 30 minutes total cook time.
  3. Take out our pork then brush it with our remaining marinade and cook an additional 5 minutes. Repeat on the other side and let it rest 15 minutes before cutting. This puts us at a total cook time of 40 minutes.

Grill method

  1. Place over high direct on each side for 5 minutes.
  2. Move the pork to indirect heat for about 20-25 minutes depending on how how the grill is and whether or not it is covered.
  3. Once the pork is cooked, baste with our reserved marinade and place over direct heat until caramelized.

What is maltose and how important is it?

Maltose, also known as malt sugar is a thick syrup like consistency that is used as a thickening agent in this case. If you thought honey was sticky, then wait until you meet maltose. It is not overly sweet either so don’t worry about that and you can commonly find it at Chinese grocery stores.

Char Siu (BBQ Pork)

Probably one of the best things to learn how to make when it comes to Asian cuisines.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Resting Time (Overnight) 12 hours
Total Time 14 hours 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese


  • 2 lbs Pork shoulder
  • 2 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Red food dye (add ⅛ tsp at a time until red colour appears)
  • 2 tbsp honey (for basting)
  • 3 tbsp maltose


  • Cut the pork into equal pieces – about 1-1½ inch thick.
    2 lbs Pork shoulder
  • Mix all other ingredients except for the 2 tbsp of honey and 3 tbsp maltose into one mixture as the marinade.
    2 tsp Chinese five spice, 1 tsp black pepper, 2½ tbsp oyster sauce, 3 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp hoisin sauce, 1 tsp sea salt, 1½ tbsp Shaoxing rice wine, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, Red food dye, 2 tbsp honey
  • Reserve 2 tbsp of the marinade in a separate bowl.
  • Coat the pork in the rest of marinade and let it sit in fridge covered overnight.
  • Add honey and maltose to our reserved marinade then microwave for 30 seconds to allow it to dissolve and melt.
    2 tbsp honey, 3 tbsp maltose
  • Take the marinated pork out of fridge and onto a wire rack over tinfoil.
  • Cook in oven for 15 minutes at 400°F.
  • Flip the pork and roast for another 15 minutes.
  • Flip and baste the pork in the reserved marinade and let it roast for another 5 minutes. Repeat on the other side. This means a total cook time of 40 minutes.
  • Alternatively, you can cook this outside on the grill on direct heat for 10 minutes then indirect for 25 minutes and finish by basting with our marinade as well.
  • Rest 15 minutes before cutting.
Keyword bbq pork, char siu, pork

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  1. Have you heard of adding those little fermented bean curd squares to the sauce ?

  2. We want to try this!! But we can’t find the rice wine anywhere. What can we use to substitute??

    Thank you!

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