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Test Kitchen Approved

Char Siu (Cantonese BBQ Pork)

Char Siu (Cantonese BBQ Pork)

Char Siu (Cantonese BBQ Pork)

Recipe By Michael Kimball, Savory Spice Test Kitchen


6 to 8 servings

Prep Time

10 Minutes

Cooking Time

60 Minutes

Recipe By Michael Kimball, Savory Spice Test Kitchen

Char siu, a Chinese BBQ pork dish, has traveled from the southeast Guangdong region to become a favorite across the world. Our version comes together with a sweet and spicy marinade that doubles as a sauce brushed on the pork as it roasts. Serve sliced in bao buns or as a topping for lo mein or rice.

Recipe Notes

*Traditionally, char siu was dyed red with red yeast rice, a fermented rice commonly used both culinarily and medically. Modern char siu often gets its red color from food coloring. We included paprika in our Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub to encourage this red color, but red food coloring will help you achieve that more classic bright red color.


1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

3 Tbsp. honey

1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 1/2 Tbsp. dry white wine

1 1/2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

3/4 tsp. sesame oil

Red food coloring (optional)*

2 to 3 lbs. boneless pork shoulder or butt, cut lengthwise into 2-inch thick strips

Sliced scallions, to garnish

Savory Spice ingredients in this recipe

  • Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub

    Inspired by the traditional flavors of Cantonese char siu, this Chinese BBQ spice mix is good for so much more than Cantonese BBQ pork. Use as a dr...

    View full details


Step 1: Marinate pork

In a medium bowl, stir brown sugar, Cantonese BBQ Pork Rub, honey, soy sauce, wine, vinegar, sesame oil, and red food coloring (if using) until combined. Remove and reserve 1/4 cup of marinade in a small bowl. To remaining marinade, add pork strips and turn to coat. Cover and chill pork and reserved marinade for at least 8 hours for best flavor or up to overnight.

Step 2: Roast pork

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil. Pour 1 1/2 cups water into the pan and place a metal rack on top. Place marinated pork on rack and roast for 20 min. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees, flip pork, rotate pan, and roast for an additional 20 min. Add more water to pan if it dries up to prevent drippings from burning.

Step 3: Baste pork

Remove sheet pan from oven and generously brush pork on one side with reserved marinade. Return to oven for 10 min. then flip pork and brush other side with remaining marinade. Roast for an additional 10 min. until top is lightly caramelized.

Step 4: Serve

Let pork rest for 10 min. before slicing strips crosswise into thin pieces. Garnish with scallions and serve with bao buns, rice, noodles, or stir-fried vegetables. Dice pork to use as a filling for steamed buns or dumplings.