Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)

A cooked char siu still hanging in the round drum smoker ready to be removed.

This recipe is a replica of the wonderful barbecue pork that can be seen hanging in Chinese restaurant windows known as Char Siu. The sign of a more traditional style recipe is one that doesn’t;t call for red food coloring as this occurs naturally through the smoking process.

A pork tenderloin is marinated in a simple soy based marinade seasoned with garlic, ginger, and Chinese five spice before being smoked. This both adds additional tenderization and flavor.

Once cooked in can be served alone or in one of the many other Asian recipes that use this as an ingredient including spring rolls and fired rice.

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A drum style smoker with a char sui pork tenderloin being hung.
If possible use a smoker that allows you to hang the chr siu in the traditional way, however laying also works.
A pork tenderloin being marinated in a plastic bag.
Marinating in a plastic bag is an efficient way of creating good contact with minimal marinade.
A pork char sui hanging in a round drum smoker with the charcoal below it.
The smoker is set to a low heat of 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) but cooked directly above the coals.
A cooked char siu on a chopping board cut in half.
The cooked char siu is sliced thinly to serve or use in another Asian dish such as fried rice.
A cooked char siu still hanging in the round drum smoker ready to be removed.
Char Siu gets a beautiful mahoginay red color from the smoking process yet retains its moisture.

Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork) Recipe

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A cooked char siu still hanging in the round drum smoker ready to be removed.
This recipe is a replica of the wonderful barbecue pork that can be seen hanging in Chinese restaurant windows known as Char Siu.
Preparation 10 minutes
Cook 1 hour
Ready in 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 Servings
CourseMain Dish
InfluenceAsian
DifficultySeasoned
MethodSmoke
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Ingredients

  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 2 cloves garlic finely diced
  • 1/2 inch ginger finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon shoaxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice or to taste

Equipment

  • smoker hanging if possible
  • charcoal briquettes
  • 2 cherry wood chunks

Directions

  • Trim the pork of any sinew or fat to expose the flesh to any marinades. Place in a zip-lock bag.
  • Combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine, honey, salt, and Chinese five spice. Combine to mix well.
  • Add the marinade to the bag with the pork tenderloin. Smoosh around with your hands to make sure that all the tenderloin is in contact with the marinade. Leave for 1 hour in a cooler.
  • Light a smoker to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) then add a small piece of cherry wood.
  • Hang the char siu pork tenderloin in the smoker and leave for one hour and when 160 deg F (70 deg C). Rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Nutritional Information

Sodium: 488mgCalcium: 33mgVitamin C: 1mgVitamin A: 10IUSugar: 4gFiber: 1gPotassium: 1809mgCholesterol: 295mgCalories: 572kcalTrans Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 5gFat: 16gProtein: 94gCarbohydrates: 6gIron: 5mg

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About Saffron Hodgson

Outdoor cooking has been Saffron’s passion since she was young, often choosing to go camping and cook hearty meals over fire rather than stay inside, watch TV, and eat take-out. Today she is the driving force of Bush Cooking bringing the skills of cooking outdoors to thousands of people.

Learn more about Saffron Hodgson
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