We Search It For You
June 12, 2019
The other day Mike went out with a buddy of his and they had a conversation about the last five things they would want to eat before dying. When he came home and told me about it, I was like, “a morbid conversation about food obsessions?! I’m in.” I tried to guess Mike’s top 5 and only came up with 3 (burgers, sushi, and fried rice) so I guess I fail as a wife. Then again, I couldn’t even come up with my top 5 so maybe I just fail at being decisive?
Anyway, I was surprised that char siu wasn’t on Mike’s top five list because he’s told me before that char siu was his all time favorite food. But then he clarified that the fried rice would be BBQ pork fried rice and it all made sense.
Char siu happens to be one of my favorites too! Not good enough to make my top five list, but it’s definitely up there. It’s a total childhood comfort food for me as I can fondly remember many many nights were my mom would bring home Chinese bbq for us to eat with a giant pot of fluffy white rice.
Most Chinese peeps don’t make char siu at home. Why would we when it’s so easy to go to the Chinese BBQ to pick up ALL the delicious meats? I mean, I don’t know about you, but Chinese roast duck is a thing of glory.
Anyway, even though it’s easy enough to hop on over to the store, sometimes you happen to be in a place without a Chinese BBQ or maybe you just want to flex your cooking muscle a little bit. In those instances, you can make sweet and sticky char siu, right at home. It’s incredibly easy and even better than store-bought because you made it yourself!
The one that is a little annoying about this recipe is the red fermented bean curd. It’s what gives char siu it’s signature red hue. Red fermented bean curd, is essentially tofu that’s been preserved with red yeast rice or red rice koji. It doesn’t add a huge amount of flavor in the forefront, but it does add a hint of rich umami in the background. I wouldn’t say it’s essential, but if you have access to an Asian grocery store or shop online, I’d recommend getting a small jar.
Usually we just pop this in the oven on a wire rack but this time around we picked up some meat hooks in an attempt to be just like a classic Chinese BBQ place. And while it was kinda fun and looked really cool, it didn’t really add anything – the meat tasted the same as if it was just cooked on a rack and when the strips of char siu were hanging, it was hard to glaze. So, learn from my experiments and just go with the pork on a rack.
If you skip out on the meat hooks, this recipe is dead simple. Marinate, bake, glaze, rest, eat and repeat. Make sure you glaze a lot because the glaze is to die for!
How to Make the Best Darn Ever Sweet and Sticky Chinese BBQ Pork Char Siu
Serves 1 pound
Prep Time 15 minsCook Time 1 hrTotal Time 1 hr 15 mins
1 cube red fermented tofu with 1 tablespoon of tofu liquid2 tbsp honey2 tbsp hoisin1 tbsp soy sauce2 tsp Shaoxing wine2 cloves garlic crushed1 inch ginger sliced1/2 tsp five spice1/4 tsp white pepper2 tbsp honey to glaze1 pound well marbled pork butt cut into strips
Mix the marinade ingredients throughly. Coat the pork with the sauce and marinate for minimum 1 hour and up to 24. When ready to cook, heat the oven to 300°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil. Remove the pork from the marinade, shaking off excess. Lay the pork on a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, flipping halfway through. While the pork is cooking, heat up the remaining marinade (remove the ginger and garlic) with the last 2 tablespoons of honey. Bring to a simmer over medium heat until it reduces and thickens slightly. It should coat the back of a spoon. Brush the pork with the glaze and turn the heat up to 400°F, brushing with glaze and flipping, until slightly charred. Let rest slightly, slice and enjoy!