Char siu, also known as Chinese barbecued pork, is used in a variety of applications; you’ll find this delicious meat, with its often bright red exterior, on top of ramen, diced in fried rice, as a filling in char siu bao (steamed pork buns), and even served plain, arranged beautifully on a plate. The characteristic red crust is best achieved with the addition of food coloring, but I opted to go without it and still had a gorgeous deep red hue on the outside. I chose to make this using pork shoulder, but for something more decadent, you can use pork belly.
Char Siu (adapted from Use Real Butter)
Yield: 6 servings
- 3 Tbsp maltose*
- 3 Tbsp honey
- 3 Tbsp hoisin sauce
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp shaoxing cooking wine
- 1 tsp Chinese five-spice
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1 (2-lb) pork shoulder, cut into 8 pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp peanut or canola oil
*Maltose is similar to honey but less sweet and can be found at many Asian markets. If you can’t find maltose, you can substitute honey.
- In a small pot over low heat, combine 3 Tbsp maltose, 3 Tbsp honey, 3 Tbsp hoisin sauce, 3 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp shaoxing cooking wine, 1 tsp Chinese five-spice, 1 tsp sesame oil, and 1/4 tsp white pepper. Heat, whisking occasionally, just until the sauce is fully combined. Remove from heat and let cool.
- In a gallon bag or large container, combine 1 (2-lb) pork shoulder, cut into 8 pieces, 4 cloves garlic, minced, and 2/3 of the sauce. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours and up to overnight.
- Whisk 3 Tbsp peanut or canola oil into the remaining 1/3 of the sauce until emulsified and store in the refrigerator.
- When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
- Shake excess marinade off the pork pieces, and place on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.
- Roast the pork pieces for 1 hour, then flip, brush generously with the reserved sauce (with oil), and bake for 30 more minutes. Flip again, brush with sauce again, and bake for another 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before slicing.