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Behind the Seasoning: Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub

Chinese char siu plate on orange background with jar of Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub
If you're craving bold flavor, look no further. This spice blend draws inspiration from the vibrant culinary traditions of Cantonese cuisine.

Our new Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub is an easy way to add a sweet licorice-like flavor and a warm peppery heat to your favorite proteins and veggies. Let’s go on a mouth-watering journey into the world of Cantonese-style BBQ, exploring the key ingredients, flavors, and creative uses for this versatile new spice blend.

What is Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub?

So, what exactly is Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub? Well, it's an homage to the renowned Cantonese-style BBQ pork dish known as char siu. This signature Cantonese dish originally involved roasting meat over an open fire. In fact, the name "char siu" translates to "fork-roasted," referring to the traditional method of skewering the marinated meat. Today, it's all about the tender, flavorful pork. Our Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub captures the essence of this beloved dish, that has gained popularity worldwide, allowing you to enjoy its flavors as a bbq rub, marinade, or sauce for all your grilled goodies.

Now, you might be wondering about the vibrant red color often associated with char siu. Traditionally, it came from fermented bean curd, but modern versions rely on food coloring. Our Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub incorporates rich, naturally red paprika, giving your barbecued meats and veggies a light reddish hue without any artificial color or additives.

Brushing pork with Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub glaze.

What does Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub taste like?

Let's talk about the most important aspect—the taste! Our Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub combines a blend of garlic, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, crushed red pepper, star anise, fennel, cloves, and white pepper. These carefully selected spices work together to create a harmonious flavor profile that enhances the natural richness of pork. The sweetness and warmth from cinnamon and cloves strike a perfect balance, while garlic, ginger, and white pepper add a delightful kick. And don't forget about the star anise and fennel, which infuse a licorice-like aroma and give this blend a unique twist.

Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub with Char Siu and bok choy.

How to cook with Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub

Now that you have this fantastic spice blend in your pantry, let your culinary creativity run wild! Sprinkle it generously on pork ribs, tenderloin, shoulder, belly, or chops before grilling or roasting for a delectable crust that seals in the juices. Feel like experimenting with some fusion flavors? Try it as a dry rub for slow-cooked, BBQ pulled pork shoulder, infusing every strand with irresistible flavor. 

To unlock the full potential of our Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub, marinate your pork for at least an hour, or better yet, overnight. This gives the spices ample time to penetrate the meat, resulting in mouthwatering and tender pork. For an extra burst of flavor, consider basting your pork with a glaze made by mixing the rub with honey and soy sauce. The combination of the bold flavors of the rub and the sweetness of the glaze creates an unforgettable culinary experience.

While we call it a BBQ Pork Rub, it’s so much more versatile. Why not incorporate the rub into rice, stir-fries, or noodle dishes, adding sweet and spicy Cantonese flair to your everyday cooking?

Vegetable Lo Mein with Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub.

Spiced Vegetable Lo Mein

What other flavors pair well with Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub?

Sweet, salty, spicy, and creamy flavors all play well with our Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub, providing complementary or contrasting qualities. So, let’s talk sauces. Once you’ve turned your rub into a sauce, the uses are endless. 

Complement the sweetness of the spice blend with hoisin sauce, honey, and garlic. If you're in the mood for a more complex and interesting flavor combo, pair it with salty soy sauce and nutty sesame oil. And if you like things spicy, add some chiles and hot sauce to turn up the heat. Alternatively, you can tame the mild to medium heat of this spice blend by adding a splash of creamy coconut milk or a dollop of peanut butter to your dish. The possibilities are endless!

What recipes use Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub?

We’ve already given you some ideas for using Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub but maybe you’re hungry for some recipe ideas. Our Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub shines in this mouthwatering recipe for Char Siu. Pair your bbq pork with fluffy bao buns and fragrant rice. Try sprinkling this seasoning into a flavorful noodle dish like our simple Spiced Vegetable Lo Mein recipe. Looking for more inspiration? Try it in recipes like Peanut-Crusted Beef Kebabs, Pork Belly Spring Rolls with Creamy Coconut Dipping Sauce, or even a Peanut Butter BBQ Sauce. The versatility of this spice blend knows no bounds!

Chicken skewers with peanut butter bbq sauce.

Peanut Butter BBQ Sauce

So, are you ready to embark on a flavorful journey and impress your family and friends with the sweet-spiced and aromatic flavors of Cantonese cuisine? Elevate your summertime grilling to new heights and experience the magic of Cantonese-style BBQ right in your own kitchen (and backyard!). Your taste buds will thank you!

Share your Cantonese creations and tag us on Instagram (@savoryspiceshop). Shop Pork Chop Seasonings & Spices or for more of our summer grilling favorites, check out our BBQ & Grilling section. 

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