Chinese BBQ Pork Recipe: How to Make the All-Time Favourite Char Siu a – Seaco Online
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Chinese BBQ Pork Recipe: How to Make the All-Time Favourite Char Siu at Home

If you are exploring Chinese cuisine, you've probably had your fair share of Chinese BBQ pork. This dish is a classic Cantonese favourite that is known for its sweet and savoury flavour profile, as well as its tender and juicy texture. If you're looking to make this dish at home, you're in luck! With the right ingredients and techniques, you can easily recreate this restaurant-style dish in your own kitchen.

Sizzling pork slices marinated in a sweet and savory sauce on a hot grill. Steam rising, caramelized edges, and a golden glaze

The Essentials of Chinese BBQ Pork Before we dive into the recipe, let's talk about what makes Chinese BBQ pork so special. This dish is typically made with pork shoulder or pork belly that is marinated in a combination of soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, and other seasonings. The meat is then roasted until it is caramelised and tender, resulting in a dish that is both sweet and savoury.

Marinating and Seasoning One of the most important aspects of making Chinese BBQ pork is the marinating process. The longer you marinate the meat, the more flavourful it will be. You can also experiment with different seasonings to create a flavour profile that suits your taste preferences. Some recipes even suggest adding seafood to the marinade for an extra umami flavour.

The Essentials of Chinese BBQ Pork

A chef brushes a glaze of honey and soy sauce onto strips of char siu pork, ready for the grill

If you're a fan of Chinese cuisine, you've likely tried Chinese BBQ pork at some point. This dish is a staple in many Chinese restaurants, and it's not hard to see why. With its sweet and savoury flavours and tender, juicy meat, it's a crowd-pleaser that's hard to resist. But if you've ever tried to make it at home, you may have found that it's not as easy as it looks. In this section, we'll go over the essentials of Chinese BBQ pork to help you make a delicious and authentic version of this classic dish.

Selecting the Right Cut

The first step to making great Chinese BBQ pork is selecting the right cut of meat. Traditionally, pork shoulder or pork butt is used, as they have the right balance of fat and meat to create a tender and juicy result. However, pork belly, pork tenderloin, and pork loin can also be used with great success. When selecting your cut of meat, look for one that has a good amount of marbling, as this will help keep the meat moist during cooking.

Understanding the Marinade Components

The marinade is what gives Chinese BBQ pork its distinctive flavour. The key components of the marinade are hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, sugar, five-spice powder, salt, garlic, and red food colouring. Some recipes also call for fermented red bean curd, molasses, brown sugar, sesame oil, oyster sauce, and Shaoxing rice wine. When making the marinade, it's important to balance the sweet, salty, and savoury flavours to create a harmonious blend.

As a suggestion, you can also try adding seafood to the marinade to give your Chinese BBQ pork a unique twist. Shrimp or squid are great options that can add a subtle seafood flavour to the dish. Simply chop the seafood into small pieces and add it to the marinade along with the other ingredients.

With these essentials in mind, you're well on your way to making delicious Chinese BBQ pork at home. Experiment with different cuts of meat and marinade components to find your perfect recipe.

Marinating and Seasoning

Pork strips soak in a blend of soy sauce, hoisin, honey, and spices in a glass dish

Preparing the Marinade

To make the perfect Chinese BBQ pork, you need to start with a good marinade. The marinade is what gives the meat its flavour and makes it tender.

To prepare the marinade, you will need soy sauce, honey, hoisin sauce, garlic, sugar, salt, five-spice powder, red bean curd, shaoxing wine, maltose, sesame oil, and rice wine. You can adjust the seasoning to your taste.

To make the marinade, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until the sugar and maltose have dissolved. You can also use a blender to make a smoother marinade.

Marinating the Pork

Once you have prepared the marinade, it's time to marinate the pork. You can use pork belly or pork shoulder for this recipe.

First, score the pork with a sharp knife, making shallow cuts on the surface. This will help the marinade penetrate the meat. Then, place the pork in a large container or Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over it. Make sure the pork is fully coated in the marinade.

You can marinate the pork for at least 4 hours, but it's best to marinate it overnight in the fridge. This will allow the flavours to develop and the meat to become more tender.

If you want to add seafood to the recipe, you can use shrimp or scallops. You can marinate them separately or together with the pork. Seafood will add a delicious flavour and texture to the dish.

The key to making a delicious Chinese BBQ pork is to use a flavourful marinade and marinate the meat for a sufficient amount of time. By following these steps, you can create a mouth-watering dish that will impress your guests.

Cooking Techniques

Slicing marinated pork, brushing with glaze, grilling over open flame

Oven Roasting

Oven roasting is one of the most popular ways to cook Chinese BBQ pork. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Place your marinated pork on a metal rack on top of a sheet pan. Roast the pork for 20 to 25 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C). Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. After roasting, let the pork rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Grilling on the Barbecue

Grilling on the barbecue is another great way to cook Chinese BBQ pork. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Brush the grill grates with oil to prevent sticking. Use tongs to place the pork on the grill. Grill the pork for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C). Baste the pork with the basting sauce every few minutes for added flavour. After grilling, let the pork rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Basting for Flavour

Basting the pork with the basting sauce is a crucial step in making Chinese BBQ pork. The basting sauce is typically made with hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, Chinese five spice, garlic, and rice vinegar. Brush the basting sauce onto the pork every few minutes while cooking. This will give the pork a nice caramelized crust and add extra flavour.

If you want to switch things up, you can also try using seafood in your Chinese BBQ pork recipe. Shrimp or scallops can be used as a substitute for pork. Marinate the seafood in the same marinade as the pork for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Grill the seafood for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through. The seafood will add a nice twist to your traditional Chinese BBQ pork recipe.

Serving and Presentation

A platter of glistening Chinese BBQ pork is arranged with garnishes and a side of steamed rice on a decorative serving dish

Slicing and Plating

Once your Chinese BBQ pork (char siu pork) is cooked to perfection, it is important to slice it properly to ensure that the meat is tender and juicy. Begin by cutting the pork into thin slices, about 1/4 inch thick. You can cut the pork against the grain to make it easier to chew.

When it comes to plating, you can either arrange the pork slices on a serving platter or on individual plates. For a more traditional presentation, you can fan out the pork slices on a bed of steamed white rice.

Accompaniments and Sides

Chinese BBQ pork (char siu pork) is a versatile dish that can be served with a variety of accompaniments and sides. One classic pairing is with steamed rice or fried rice. You can also use the pork as a filling for pork buns or char siu bao.

If you're looking for a vegetable side dish to balance out the richness of the pork, you can try serving it with steamed Chinese greens or stir-fried vegetables.

For seafood lovers, you can also add seafood to the dish to give it an extra flavour. Shrimp or scallops can be used as a topping for the pork slices, or you can add them to the fried rice.

Chinese BBQ pork (char siu pork) is a delicious and versatile dish that can be enjoyed in many different ways. Whether you're serving it with steamed rice or using it as a filling for pork buns, it is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Leftovers and Storage

A plate of leftover Chinese BBQ pork sits on a kitchen counter next to a stack of tupperware containers for storage

Storing Cooked Pork

After you have enjoyed your Cantonese dish of Chinese BBQ pork, you may have some leftovers. The good news is that you can store cooked pork in the fridge or freezer to enjoy later. Simply place the cooked pork in an airtight container or zip-lock freezer bag and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

If you have a lot of leftover pork, you can freeze it in smaller portions so that you can defrost only what you need. When you're ready to eat your leftover pork, simply defrost it in the fridge overnight and reheat it in the oven or microwave.

Creative Uses for Leftovers

If you're looking for creative ways to use your leftover Chinese BBQ pork, you're in luck! You can use it in a variety of dishes to add flavour and protein. Here are a few ideas:

  • Add it to fried rice or stir-fry for a quick and easy meal.
  • Make a sandwich with sliced pork, lettuce, and tomato.
  • Use it as a topping for pizza or flatbread.
  • Add it to a salad for a protein boost.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can even try using seafood in your Chinese BBQ pork recipe. For example, you could add prawns or scallops to the marinade to give your pork chops a seafood twist. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly so that your seafood is cooked through.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sizzling pork strips on a hot grill, surrounded by aromatic spices and herbs, with a chef's hand basting the meat with a rich, glossy marinade

How can I make a simple Char Siu at home?

Making Char Siu at home is quite simple, and you don't need any fancy equipment. All you need is a good quality pork cut, a marinade, and an oven. You can also use a grill or a smoker if you prefer. The key is to marinate the pork for at least a few hours, or even overnight, to infuse the meat with flavour.

What's the secret to getting that authentic Chinese BBQ pork flavour?

The secret to getting that authentic Chinese BBQ pork flavour is in the marinade. The marinade typically includes a combination of soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, Chinese five-spice powder, and sometimes rice wine or sherry. You can also add garlic, ginger, and other spices to the marinade to enhance the flavour.

Which cut of pork should I use for a perfect BBQ?

The best cut of pork for Char Siu is pork shoulder or pork belly. These cuts have the right amount of fat to keep the meat moist and tender during cooking. You can also use pork loin or tenderloin, but they tend to be leaner and can dry out if overcooked.

Can you recommend a good Char Siu sauce for marinating?

There are many good Char Siu sauce recipes available online, but one of the best is a combination of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, Chinese five-spice powder, rice wine or sherry, and garlic. You can adjust the amount of each ingredient to suit your taste.

What's the best way to cook Chinese BBQ pork in the oven?

The best way to cook Chinese BBQ pork in the oven is to preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and place the pork on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, then brush the pork with the remaining marinade and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through and caramelized.

Why does Chinese BBQ pork have that distinctive red colour?

The distinctive red colour of Chinese BBQ pork comes from the use of red food colouring or red fermented bean curd in the marinade. This is a traditional ingredient used in many Chinese recipes to enhance the appearance of the dish. However, you can also achieve a similar colour by using paprika or beetroot juice instead.

As a suggestion, you can also use seafood like prawns or scallops to make a delicious Char Siu seafood dish. Simply marinate the seafood in the Char Siu sauce for a few hours, then grill or bake until cooked through.