The real deal Chinese barbecue pork is cooked over charcoals, with the meat hanging on hooks. But for us ordinary folks, you can still make Chinese barbecue pork at home that tastes just like store bought, it just has less smokey flavour.
Servings: 6-8 people
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar (white also ok)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tbsp light soy sauce (Note 1)
1 tbsp soy sauce (Note 1)
1 tsp five spice powder (Note 2)
1 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola) (Note 3)
2 tsp red food colouring, optional (Note 4)
2.4 – 3 lb pork scotch fillet (collar neck, pork neck) OR pork shoulder (Note 5)
2 tbsp Extra Honey
Mix Marinade ingredients in a bowl.
Cut pork in half horizontally to make two long, flat, thin pieces (better flavour penetration).
Place the pork and Marinade in a stain proof container or ziplock bag. Marinate 24 to 48 hours (3 hours is the bare minimum).
Preheat oven to 320F.
Line a tray with foil and place a rack on top (recommended but not critical).
Remove pork from the marinade, save Marinade. Place pork on rack.
Roast for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour reserved marinade in a saucepan. Mix Extra Honey into marinade. Bring to simmer over medium high and cook for 2 minutes until syrupy. Remove from heat.
Remove pork from oven. Dab marinade all over, then turn. Baste then roast for a further 30 minutes.
Remove pork from oven. Brush with marinade again, then turn, brush with marinade and roast for a further 20 minutes. If charring too quickly, cover with foil.
Baste again on surface then bake for a further 10 minutes until caramelised and sticky. Meat should be tender but not falling apart, like with pulled pork. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Serve with rice and steamed Chinese greens. See notes for more uses.
1. The light soy sauce adds a touch more salt to the marinade, the balance I like. But it’s fine to use all light soy sauce or all ordinary soy sauce. Do not use dark soy sauce (flavour is too intense).
2. You can get Chinese five spice powder (a mix of spices) in the herb and spice section of supermarkets and it isn’t any more expensive than other spices. You can substitute the Chinese five spice powder with 1 tbsp extra hoisin sauce BUT you should reduce the sugar to 1 tsp, otherwise it will be too sweet.
3. Or other neutral flavoured oil.
4. The red food colouring is to make the pork red, like you get at the Chinese barbecue shop. This is optional. Authentic Char Siu uses red bean curd for colouring and a touch of flavour – it can be found at Asian stores, use about 2 tbsp of the liquid and no red food colouring.
I use the marinade in this recipe more frequently than the authentic version because I can get all the ingredients at the supermarket and it has a slightly more intense flavour – makes up for absence of charcoal in this home version.
5. I used to make this with pork tenderloin (Note 6) but I’ve moved to scotch fillet roast and pork shoulder because they are ideal for longer cooking to get amazing caramelisation and the pork is incredibly juicy inside. Scotch fillet is also known as Pork Neck, Pork Collar or Pork Neck Collar. This is what Chinese BBQ shops in Australia use.
Pork shoulder is also ideal – beautifully juicy. If using pork shoulder, using boneless, skinless and trim off most of the thick layer of fat on the surface. Then cut into long thin pieces, like pictured in post with the scotch fillet.
You want thin slices about 1″ thick to get the best flavour penetration from the marinade.
Some people also make this using pork belly but I find that too oily for my taste for this particular recipe.
6. Pork Tenderloin cooking directions (photo here of how it looks): Roast at 350F for 25 minutes or until the internal temperature is 145 – 160F. Around halfway through roasting, baste generously with the reserved Marinade. Sort of dab it on so you get as much Marinade on the pork as possible – this is key for getting the thick, glossy glaze. Then flick to broiler/grill on high and broil for a few minutes until surface is charred and glossy, basting once or twice.