Sticky Chinese Barbecue Pork Belly (Char Siu), is one of the most popular pork dishes in Chinese/Cantonese cuisine and one of the most ordered dishes in restaurants.
My addiction to this Sticky Chinese Barbecue Pork Belly is my husbands fault. Being a former Hong Kong resident, he introduced me to Char Siu when we first met…and it was love at first bite (with the pork). Normally, our New Years Eve ritual consists of going to a popular Yum Cha restaurant here in Melbourne and ordering serve after serve of Char Siu. But as life happens, this year it’s a no-go. Booked out so early, (or I may have left it last minute), I now have to bring Char Siu into my house. Char Siu literally means “fork burn/roast” which is a reference to the traditional preparation, skewered with long forks and barbecued over a fire.
Well. I have neither of those things nor do I want to start a fire in my house. But I have come up with a way to make this safely in your own homes without the need of any fire extinguishers.
The plus side is: A) We can eat triple what we normally do; and B) I can share the recipe with you.
Breaking out into a sweat with a furrowed brow, throwing ingredients into a bowl and taste testing along the way to try and match the traditional and authentic restaurant quality Char Siu sauce, I finally did it. It was a definite Hallelujah and Amen moment. After one (okay, more like four) tests and adjustments, you can bring a deliciously sticky Chinese pork recipe into your kitchens!
You can use lean pork belly (or spare) ribs for a succulent, unforgettable experience; pork shoulder or any pork fillet you like. I’m not going to tell you what to do, except cook it using pork belly.
For extra sauciness, I’ve provided an additional glaze recipe on the side for those who’d like to serve this up with extra sauce. Because…hellooo…extra sauce.
Oven grilling or broiling ensures the crispy and char-grilled outer edges we love so much, and a tender, juicy and moist pork meat on the inside.
With simple ingredients you may have in your kitchen cupboards, this Char Siu recipe is a breeze! And so worth the wait hanging off of the oven door, smelling the sweet, sticky smells drifting through the kitchen.
Serve over steamed rice or vegetables, and drizzle with extra Char Siu sauce…ring in the new year in style! And if you’re not a fan of pork, try this with chicken thighs. Yes. I did that too. Or this Simple Chicken Teriyaki Stir Fry might win you over.
Sticky Chinese BBQ Pork Belly Ribs (Char Siu)
- 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Chinese Shaoxing wine (rice vinegar or a dry sherry can be used instead)
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 3/4 teaspoon red food colouring (optional for that beautiful red colour)
- 1 ⁄2 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
- 6 pork belly/spare ribs
- 1 shallot , to garnish
Additional Glaze (Optional):
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese wine (Shaoxing -- or dry sherry)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
- 1/4 teaspoon red food colouring
- Combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, wine, honey, sugar, garlic, colouring (if using) and spice powder in a shallow bowl. Whisk well to combine. Pour half of the sauce into a jug and reserve for later. Add the pork into the bowl with the remaining sauce. Rotate to cover completely and marinate in the refrigerator for 1-3 hours, or cover and refrigerate overnight for best results.
- After marinading, preheat oven to grill/broil settings on medium heat (176°C | 350°F). Drain pork and discard the marinade. Line a baking pan with baking/parchment paper or aluminium foil. Place pork onto pan and grill/broil for 30 minutes on one side, basting two or three times with the reserved marinade. Rotate with tongs and baste again with the marinade twice again while grilling/broiling.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- If you like additional glaze, combine all of the (extra) glaze ingredients into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 5-8 minutes until the sauce has thickened (keep your eye on it as it can burn easily if the heat is too high). Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Cut pork into thick slices to serve. Serve over steamed rice and/or vegetables with the extra glaze.
Trying this recipe now. 2 things I could use clarification on.
When you say rotate you mean flip over, right?
Second. Most home broilers don’t have temperature settings. Would you recommend baking then broiling to finish or broiling on the lower rack and testing often, possible coveting with foil to prevent burning the glaze?
Looking forward to it!
Hi Tim! Yes, flip them over (sorry about the confusion!) and if you don’t have a temperature control on your broiler, bake them first on the middle rack at 400F (200C) for about 15 minutes, then broil in the last 5 minutes. Hope this helps! Please let me know how you go!
This is a fantastic recipe that was a hit with the family. Was looking for a recipe for Chinese BBQ Pork to add to a noodle dish. Normally we buy it already prepared and it is terribly fatty. Your recipe was the best substitute. Used a pork fillet with no fat. The taste was perfect. Thank you!!
My, oh, my! Tried my hand at pork for the first time…and was it gorrrrrrgeous! This recipe is just delicious!!! Thank you so much for sharing. Loved it. Definitely goes into my fav recipe notes. I marinated the pork belly for 24 hours, then we missed out on cooking it and it stayed marinated for 72 hours! Cooked beautifully and was just divine! ❤️
Hi karina! This looks so good. My oven does not have broiler capabilities, so should I bake it at a higher temperature or will that really effect the flavor? I have a small toaster oven but the temperature is always weird when I try to bake with it. If I broil it at the end will I be able to get that yummy texture? Thank you!!!
Nick McMillen says
Why do you discard the marinade? Surely this could be used as additional sauce (if cooked) or basting sauxe?
daniel kim says
I believe it is because it was used to marinate raw meat.
If you put too much of the sauce in the oven, it will probably burn and smoke!
However, you can’t eat it without cooking it since it’s touched raw meat.
I think it’s just a safety precaution
If you are slow cooking a larger piece of pork you can keep the marinade with it. Just check every so often and adjust temperature and/or mix a splash of water into the sauce to prevent burning.
If you cook it/bring it to a boil, you’ll kill any bacteria, so either in a saucepan or on the pork itself in the over and it would be fine. I personally would use it to baste the meat while it’s under fire.
is there anything i can use in place of hoisin sauce and the Chinese 5 spice of can you buy these items at the local grocery store?
Some recipes don’t use hoisin sauce and use oyster sauce instead. The five-spice powder is crucial to the Char Siu flavor though. I don’t think it’s char siu without five-spice.
You can get the Chinease 5 spice from Amazon. I am not sure, but I bet Amaxon has the Hoisin sauce too.
The five spice powder is mostly used for the traditional; Chinese roast pork but not so much for the Char Siu Pork but there are many different recipes that are being used for Char Siu Pork so I guess some recipes might call for it.
You can buy Hoisin sauce and five spice at sprouts farmers market
Super happy with this recipe! It was a winner! I had enough leftover to go with my tonkotsu ramen the next day 🤗
I used pork belly instead. I had used the pork belly – paraboiled it to make a Vietnamese soup dish, and used the meat to make the char siu. Super happy with the flavor!!
You nailed it! I added gochujang sauce and shallots for a kick and a twist! It’s heavenly!!! This beats out anything you could find in the stores!!!!! Thank you for starting me off in the right direction !!!!!
Lou murray says
This was so, so yummy everyone loved it so now a favourite thank you for sharing
Could you please clarify for me whether or not to slice the pork belly before cooking or cook it in one whole slab? I have read through all of the comments and in one reply it stayed to cook it whole or it would dry out, but in another reply it said to slice it first. Also, if we slice it first, to what thickness should we make the slices? Thank you.
Don’t slice. Grill in whole pieces. You slice after it’s cooked.
I just made this tonight and I decided to slice it first to get a good crisp on all edges… turned out amazing
Tina Flores says
Made this dish and it was delicious! I like to use a pork loin then slice thinly. It taste just like in the restaurants, thank you…my family loves it, especially with fried rice. To keep it from sticking I use non-stick foil.
Roy Van Clieaf says
Hi Karina, I just tried this recipe yesterday. Followed the recipe with the exception of the oven broiling. Instead I did this on my gas grill to eliminate any mess in the oven. I used the main burners on a low heat and used the rotisserie burner to try to simulate the broil. The pork belly slices were place on parchment paper on a grill pan. I believe the results were very similar to the oven broiling technique as they looked just like your pictures. and tasted incredible…melt in your mouth good. This is an excellent dish and I’ll most definitely be cooking it again. Thanks so much.
Absolutely loved the sauce! Next time, I will try spare or baby back ribs, the pork belly from Costco was very fatty and made this too rich to eat very much of it. Thank you, Karina!
CanI make this using baby back ribs
Yes Howard! Perfect.
Sleepery Jeem says
I used a punch that I bought online to put little holes into the skin the second time I made this. The first time was really good but with the holes the crackling ‘bubbled’ just as in many restaurants. Now to try it with other sauces, maybe a buffalo one.
I am trying this recipe for the 1st time and have some questions:
1) I already marinated the pork belly. Is it better to slice it now before I broil it?
2) Since I am using a convection oven, are the broil settings different?
It is best to cook it all together and cut it into the thin strips at the very end. If not, it will harden and dry quicker in the oven. Everything should be the same temperature as I have listed and you should be good to go!! Enjoy!!
I don’t know about everyone else but my broil settings only let you broil at 450 F or higher. So do I bake at 350F and then switch to broil towards the end to get it charred? Broil at 450 for less time?
Oh NO! I am so sorry hun! It shouldn’t have done that. Grill or broil for 30 minutes at 350*. Hope that helps! I wish it didn’t end up like that for you!
I made this with pork belly! It was delicious! Not dry at all! Thank you!
Tymeron Smith says
MMM! That sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing!
I have the same quesiton as Matt – When broiling, where do you put the rack, Middle? top? I would be afraid of burning if it’s on the top!
Tymeron Smith says
I put it on the middle rack when broiling. Hope that helps!
Tommy-Lee Staples says
Do you use light or dark soy sauce?
Hi Tommy-Lee. I use regular soy sauce in this recipe. Light will also work.
When broiling should it be on the top rack or middle? And when you say rotate, do you mean flip it?
thanks for the recipe! just tried this, and the flavours are really good, instant favourite! only comment about the taste would be i would put slightly less soy sauce next time but that’s solely personal preference (could be the new soy sauce brand we tried too). we used pork belly already sliced, and marinaded for 5 hours. then broiled at 170C for 40 mins, which made the pork a bit dry, but the caramelised bits were really really yummy. so might try putting it closer to the top and for less time next time.
I bought pork belly just to make this recipe. Just to clarify, do I cook the pork whole, then slice it or slice it then cook it?
Hi Melissa! Slice it first, then cook it up! You’ll have a more deeper flavour that way. I hope you like it!
This looks delish! Can you give a rough indication of much 1/3 of a cup is in ml or fluid oz please? If not, are you using a smallish or largish cup?! Thanks ;0)
very awesome recipe. I prefer to pre-cook the butt in the pressure cooker for juicier, more tender meat, then marinade/roast just to finish it on the outside. thanks for the sauce recipe, I’m still working on getting it just right.
Can you BBQ instead of oven grill
Hi karina I’ve been cooking a lot of your recipes they are amazing!!! Just quick question on this one, can I use maple syrup instead of honey? one of my guests is allergic to honey. Thanks for your awesome recipes. You should produce a cookbook!
Hi Yara! Yes that should be fine!
Looks amazing! Quick question regarding the cooking process. After cooking the pork for 30 minutes, you take it out, baste it, turn it, & baste the other side. Do you then put it back in the oven? If so, for how long?
Hi Cole! Ok, baste it two or three times during those 30 minutes (removing from the oven to do so of course), then rotate, baste again and put back into the oven until they crisp up on that side. It takes about 5-10 minutes 🙂 The more you baste them the saucier they get. So good!
Kevin | Keviniscooking says
Looks utterly scrumptious! Happy New Year!
Thanks Kevin! And happy new year to you too!