Char Siu BBQ pork is one of the most popular dishes in a Chinese restaurant. And what’s not to love? Sticky and sweet glazed char-grilled meats are one of earth’s primal pleasures. I wanted to find a way to streamline the process so I could get my meat candy fix without the mess of lighting a grill.
We have two seasons in Miami- Really Hot, or Really Hot, Wet and Buggy. So while I love the flavor of grilled meats, I don’t really love standing over a hot fire in 300 degree weather. Or waiting a half hour for the grill to be ready. But the good news is that you can have the delicious flavor of Char Sui without leaving your kitchen!
Why Pork Tenderloin
Most traditional char siu uses pork shoulder or a similar fatty cut of pork and is slowly oven roasted. But for a quick weekday meal, I like pork tenderloin for its moist, soft texture and ease of preparation. Plus, it’s a lean protein that takes to many different preparations and is incredibly versatile.
Marinades are a busy cook’s best friend. They both tenderize meat and impart deep flavor. And it’s so nice to wake up in the morning already knowing what’s for dinner AND having your dinner prep done. Whenever I marinate meat the day before, I feel like I have reached Martha Stewart levels of domestic efficiency.
My char siu recipe uses five spice powder* to help mimic authentic smokiness. Rounded out with other pantry items, like soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ketchup, and honey, it is ready in seconds. You should marinate it for at least 8 hours, and it is great to leave it up to two days. Make sure the pork is submerged in the sauce and it is evenly coated.
Time To Cook!
When it’s time to cook the pork, pull the pork out from the fridge and let it come to room temperature. If you can remember to pull it out an hour before you’re ready to start, do it. Room temperature meat cooks more quickly and evenly. Then, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Fill a baking pan with water, and put a wire rack on it. The pork cooks directly on the rack. The water helps it to remain moist.
It should cook through in about 15-20 minutes but may take longer depending on how cold your meat is. Finally, when the pork is cooked, you are going to baste it with more honey, and char it under the broiler. Be careful, as that perfect char can turn to burnt really quickly under a strong broiler. It takes just about one minute to get it perfectly crisp and lightly charred.
How To Serve It
Char Sui can be served several ways. You can simply serve it as an entree with some veggies and a starch or slice it up and serve it as finger food or a cold appetizer. How about putting it out with rice, some herbs, and lettuce leaves and letting people make their own lettuce tacos. It is also wonderful added to noodle dishes or as an ingredient in a stir-fry. Life hack: Make extra pork and use it in my Pork Fried Rice. I know you will love my sticky, sweet Chinese Char Sui BBQ pork, AND love how fast and easy it is. If you make our Char Sui BBQ Pork, we want to know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag us in your photos, @funkyasiankitchen. Show us the goods!
Classic Char Sui Pork! Sweet, smoky, addictive.
2 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon five spice powder
3 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup hoisin
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
¼ cup ketchup
4 tablespoons honey, divided
2– 1 ¼ pound pork tenderloin cut in half lengthwise
- Poke holes all over the pork using a fork.
- Combine the garlic, five spice powder, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, light brown sugar, ketchup, and 2 tablespoons honey in a deep cup with an immersion blender or with a fork.
- Pour the marinade over pork. Marinate up to two days or a minimum of 6 hours, making sure meat is coated evenly with the sauce.
- Preheat the oven to 400. Fill a baking dish with an inch of water and then fit a wire rack on top. Cook the pork directly on the rack. Roast for 20 minutes and then baste with some of the marinade.
- Continue to cook for an additional 10-15 mins until cooked through. A meat thermometer reading should give you 160 degrees. Make sure you only baste the meat one time, where you will continue to cook the pork. DO NOT USE THE MARINADE TO BASTE ONCE THE MEAT IS DONE COOKING, TO AVOID ANY FOOD CONTAMINATION ISSUES.*
- Preheat the broiler and brush honey over pork. Broil for 1 mins until a little charred and crispy.
- Let the meat rest for a couple of minutes and then slice and serve.
* If you prefer a more heavily glazed tenderloin, you can pour the marinade into a small saucepan and and bring it to a simmer over medium high heat. Lower the heat to medium low, skim off any impurities, and cook for 4-5 minutes. You can now use this basting sauce to coat the pork tenderloin several times while cooking, without fear of cross contamination.
*You should definitely double this recipe so you have leftovers to make my Pork Fried Rice