Baked Char Siu Recipe

Baked Char Siu Recipe: Mastering the Art of Chinese Barbecue!

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Prepare to embark on a culinary journey to the heart of Chinese cuisine with our Baked Char Siu recipe. Char Siu, also known as Chinese barbecue pork, is a beloved dish characterized by its tender, flavorful meat with a sweet and savory glaze. Traditionally cooked over an open flame or on a barbecue grill, our baked version offers a convenient and equally delicious alternative that’s perfect for home cooks. With a marinade that’s bursting with aromatic spices and rich flavors, this dish is sure to become a favorite in your recipe repertoire. So, roll up your sleeves and let’s dive into the art of making Char Siu at home!


  • 2 lbs pork tenderloin
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine (mirin)


  1. Prepare the Marinade:
    • In a mixing bowl, combine the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, minced garlic cloves, Chinese five-spice powder, red food coloring (if using), toasted sesame oil, and rice wine (mirin). Stir until the ingredients are well combined.
  2. Marinate the Pork:
    • Place the pork tenderloin in a large resealable plastic bag or shallow dish.
    • Pour the marinade over the pork, ensuring that it is evenly coated. Seal the bag or cover the dish with plastic wrap.
    • Refrigerate the pork and let it marinate for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.
  3. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top.
  4. Bake the Char Siu:
    • Remove the marinated pork from the refrigerator and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet.
    • Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through and caramelized on the outside, basting with the marinade halfway through the cooking process.
    • Once cooked, remove the pork from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing.
  5. Serve and Enjoy:
    • Slice the baked Char Siu into thin pieces and arrange it on a serving platter.
    • Garnish with chopped green onions or sesame seeds, if desired.
    • Serve hot and enjoy the tantalizing flavors of this homemade Char Siu!

Cook’s Notes and Variations:

  • Grilling Option: If you prefer, you can grill the marinated pork tenderloin instead of baking it. Simply grill over medium-high heat until cooked through and caramelized, basting with the marinade as needed.
  • Char Siu Sauce: Reserve some of the marinade before adding it to the pork to use as a sauce for serving. Simmer it in a small saucepan until slightly thickened, then drizzle it over the sliced Char Siu for extra flavor.
  • Spice Level: Adjust the amount of red food coloring and Chinese five-spice powder according to your preference for color and spiciness.
  • Make-Ahead Option: You can marinate the pork ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking or grilling.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I use a different cut of pork for this recipe? A: While pork tenderloin is the traditional choice for Char Siu, you can also use pork shoulder or pork belly for a richer and more indulgent flavor.

Q: Is there a substitute for hoisin sauce if I don’t have any on hand? A: If you don’t have hoisin sauce, you can substitute it with oyster sauce or a combination of soy sauce, honey, and Chinese five-spice powder.

Q: Can I make this recipe without the red food coloring? A: Yes, the red food coloring is optional and mainly used for aesthetic purposes to achieve the characteristic red color of traditional Char Siu. Feel free to omit it if desired.

Q: Can I freeze leftover Char Siu? A: Yes, you can freeze leftover Char Siu in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating in the oven or microwave.

Keto Version and Low-Carb Adaptation:

For those following a keto or low-carb lifestyle, here’s a modified version of the recipe:

Keto Char Siu:

  • Substitute the honey and brown sugar with a keto-friendly sweetener such as erythritol or monk fruit sweetener.
  • Use tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce to reduce the carb content.
  • Skip the rice wine (mirin) or use a sugar-free substitute to lower the carb count further.

With our Baked Char Siu recipe, you can bring the authentic flavors of Chinese barbecue into your own kitchen. From the aromatic marinade to the succulent pork tenderloin, every bite of this dish is a symphony of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors that will transport you to the bustling streets of Chinatown. Whether you’re serving it as a main course for a family dinner or as a crowd-pleasing appetizer at your next gathering, this Char Siu is sure to impress. So, fire up your oven, gather your ingredients, and get ready to savor the irresistible taste of homemade Char Siu!

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