Char siu is a Chinese dish and is nothing more than roasted meat. It’s also known as cha siu. The name literally means “roasted with a fork”. This is because traditionally they use barbecue skewers when roasting the meat over fire.
To make char siu, the meat is marinated in a barbecue sauce and then cooked on a barbecue.
There are countless char siu recipes and everyone gives it their own twist. But you can recognize a good char siu by the sweet, salty taste with a spicy tint due to the Chinese five-spice powder.
Traditionally, they use pork shoulder or pork neck when making char siu. This is because the Chinese prefer fatty meats for this dish. Although it’s better to use pork for this dish, you can also use the char siu marinade with chicken, beef and lamb.
How to make char siu?
Char siu is served in thin slices. Cut the meat into elongated pieces. You can easily make the marinade by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl. The meat should marinate in the refrigerator for about 4 hours.
We make this dish on a kamado, but it can also be cooked in the oven. Maintain a temperature of 175℃ for both. It should cook for about 30-40 minutes. It’s ready at a core temperature of 70 ℃.
If you cook it on a barbecue, it’s important to grill it indirectly. The risk of a sweet marinade is that it can cause high flames, so you can prevent that by grilling it indirectly.
To get a nice caramelized crust, it’s important to cover the meat with the remaining marinade during the last 10 minutes. Rub the marinade over the meat. You can enhance this effect by grilling the meat directly over the fire for two minutes at the end. If you use an oven, you can grill the meat in a pan for another two minutes. Make sure that the sweet sauce does not burn.
Char Siu from pork shoulder
- 500 gr pork shoulder
Char siu marinade
- 40 ml honey
- 40 ml soy sauce
- 30 ml oyster sauce
- 30 ml rice wine mirin or sake
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp white pepper
- 1 tbsp Chinese five spice powder
- sesame seeds toasted
- spring onion cut into thin rings
- Place all ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and mix well.
- Cut the meat into two elongated strips. Place both strips in the bowl and rub the marinade into the meat. Then place the meat and the marinade in an oven dish (covered) or in a sealable bag and let it marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
- Prepare the barbecue for indirect grilling. Maintain a working temperature of approximately 175 ℃.
- Place the meat on the barbecue, reserving the remaining marinade. The meat should cook for about 30-40 minutes.
- After 25 minutes, brush the meat with the remaining char siu marinade and let it cook for another 5 minutes. It’s ready at a core temperature of 70 ℃.
- Finally, grill the meat directly over the fire for another 2 minutes. This way it can caramelize for a while.
- Remove the meat from the barbecue and let it rest, loosely covered with aluminum foil, for 5 minutes. This way the meat juices can still distribute through the meat.
- Serve the char siu in thin strips. Sprinkle with spring onion and sesame seeds if desired.