Char Siu Pork
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3-Ingredient Char Siu (Xá Xíu) BBQ Pork

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Delicious sweet and sticky barbecue pork that can be roasted or grilled for a juicy, flavourful result. Also known as char siu (cantonese) or xá xíu (vietnamese) this versatile pork recipe makes a great main or side dish.
Guys! Sweet and sticky barbecue pork! Incorporate it as meat filling for BBQ pork buns? Definitely a must! Enjoy with your wonton soup? Yes please! Vietnamese Banh Mi (sub sandwiches)? Heck yes! Needless to say, bbq pork pairs well with many dishes. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to marinate the meat, when you’re in a pinch for time, give this recipe a try! Only 3 ingredients required.

If you want to make char siu pork with marinade from scratch, check out my recipe for Char Siu (Xá Xíu) BBQ Pork here.

*Good To Know*

  • Seasoning mix vs. char siu marinade from a jar. Which is better? You can choose either one. I bought the seasoning mix (“NOH” brand). Regardless of your choice, either one will taste flavourful. The difference between the mix and the marinade from a jar is that the powdered version gives you better control of how diluted you want your marinade to be. Use as a dry rub, add a little or a lot of water to the mix to control the desired flavour outcome. The pre-made marinade from a jar is a thick, sticky sauce that you simply mix with the pork.
  • What type of Pork should I use? Pork tenderloin, pork shoulder (aka. pork butt) or pork belly are good cuts of meat for this recipe. You can adapt your choice of meat based on preference for lean or fattier flavour.
  • What is rice cooking wine used for? Used widely in asian dishes, this rice wine is a popular cooking liquid (made from fermented glutinous rice) that enhances or intensifies flavour and aroma in food. It’s a form of salted alcohol and can be used much like other wines such as red and white wine in other cuisines. If you don’t have rice wine available, Mirin is a good substitute for rice wine (keep in mind that mirin is sweeter than rice wine though).

Overview: Ingredients for Char Siu pork

While shopping for ingredients for my wonton soup, I decided that a homemade char siu pork was going to be more tasty with the soup than a store bought version. Where I live, char siu pork is normally readily available at your fingertips in a lot of asian grocery stores.  These days though, not many hot food items are sold in stores due to covid. So for convenience, the mix was a way to help save a little time so that I could focus on making the soup. Chinese Barbecue Pork So what is char siu? The literal translation from cantonese means “fork roast”. Traditionally, pork tenderloin is the choice of meat and grilled over fire or roasted in the oven (usually skewered or ‘forked’). Due to its high sugar content, indirect heat is the best method on the BBQ to prevent the meat from burning too quickly. You can find many recipes online with variations of ingredients that make up a char siu marinade, however, common ingredients are hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, honey, soy sauce, rice cooking wine, red food colour and the most important ingredient: five spice. Char siu can be purchased as packaged dry seasoning mix or pre-made in a jar. My go-to brands are NOH or Lee Kum Kee. Either one will boost your meat with a lot of flavour. The biggest challenge is time.  Allow the meat to season for at least 4 to 6 hours (overnight is best). char siu bbq pork Snake River Farms Wagyu Brisket Pork tenderloin is a lean cut and a traditional choice of meat for char siu. This does not mean it will end up tasting dry though as long as there is proper roast time and right oven temperature. Start by removing the silver skin from both tenderloins (if present), rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Place meat into a large bowl and sprinkle seasoning mix onto tenderloins. Add rice cooking wine and with food safe gloves on, combine marinade evenly with tenderloins. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. I like marinating my meat in plastic zipper bags for 2 reasons. One is that removing all of the air will ensure the marinade is coated evenly. Second is that it requires less clean up. Who doesn’t love that?! Refrigerate meat for 4 to 6 hours or overnight (for best results). char siu bbq pork You might be wondering, why is char siu red? The obvious answer is that the colour can stem from ingredients such as red fermented bean curd, annatto seeds, chilli or other red spices. Food colour is used simply for convenience (and sometimes in place of the aforementioned spices).  In most asian cultures, red is a prosperous or auspicious colour that represents luck, good fortune, happiness, beauty and vitality. In my opinion, it makes sense why red food colour is used to enhance the appearance of cooked meat. It’s appetizing to look at, brings joy to eat and not so different than seeing brown coloured meats once grilled. One is just more common than the other.

Char Siu Pork

3-Ingredient Char Siu (Xá Xíu) BBQ Pork

Delicious sweet and sticky barbecue pork that can be roasted or grilled for a juicy, flavourful result. Makes a great main or side dish. 
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Marinate Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 45 minutes
Yields: 5

Ingredients

INSTRUCTIONS 

  • Remove silver skin on pork tenderloin. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Place into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle 1 pack of NOH chinese barbecue char siu seasoning mix onto meat. Add rice cooking wine. With food safe disposable gloves on, rub marinade mixture evenly over tenderloin.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap (or place into a large plastic zipper bag) and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours (overnight is best).
  • Preheat oven to 350°F (176.7°C). Place tenderloins on roast rack in a roasting pan 2 inches apart (reserve excess marinade). Roast on middle oven shelf for 20 minutes.
  • Brush saved marinade on tenderloins, turn meat over then brush more marinade on. Roast for another 20 minutes. Meat is done when internal temperature reads 155°F (68°C). If it reads less, roast for another 5 to 10 minutes and check internal temperature again.
  • Set broiler on high. Broil tenderloins for 3 to 5 minutes or until a little char occurs. Remove from oven and place tenderloins on a tray or plate. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with rice, noodles or soup. Enjoy!
Category: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: bbq, char siu, pork, sticky, sweet

Tips

Seasoning mix vs. char siu marinade from a jar. Which is better?
You can choose either one. I bought the seasoning mix (“NOH” brand). Regardless of your choice, either one will taste flavourful. The difference between the mix and the marinade from a jar is that the powdered version gives you better control of how diluted you want your marinade to be. Use as a dry rub, add a little or a lot of water to the mix to control the desired flavour outcome. The pre-made marinade from a jar is a thick, sticky sauce that you simply mix with the pork.
What type of Pork should I use?
Pork tenderloin, pork shoulder (aka. pork butt) or pork belly are good cuts of meat for this recipe. You can adapt your choice of meat based on preference for lean or fattier flavour.
What is rice cooking wine used for?
Used widely in asian dishes, this rice wine is a popular cooking liquid (made from fermented glutinous rice) that enhances or intensifies flavour and aroma in food. It’s a form of salted alcohol and can be used much like other wines such as red and white wine in other cuisines. If you don’t have rice wine available, Mirin is a good substitute for rice wine (keep in mind that mirin is sweeter than rice wine though).
Nutrition Facts
3-Ingredient Char Siu (Xá Xíu) BBQ Pork
Amount Per Serving
Calories 324 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 147mg49%
Sodium 686mg30%
Potassium 891mg25%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 48g96%
Vitamin A 2IU0%
Calcium 16mg2%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Did you make this? I would love to see your creation!Tag me @sweet2savoury on Instagram and hashtag it #sweet2savoury

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