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Char Siu (Chinese bbq pork) recipes?

I have loved this style for as long as I can remember. Recipes I have found vary...has anyone had success at home? And what cut of pork is traditionally used? Thanks.

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  1. You can use it and do a switch on a chicken salad recipe.

    I usually put peeled boiled potatoes, pineapple, celery, tomatoes, and char siu of course. I would cut everything into small cubes and then mix it with miracle whip. Maybe add some prapika on top. It usually gets eaten up fast and easy to make.

    You can also do a quick dish with char sui cut in strips, onions cut in strips. Mix it with scrambled eggs and fry it in a hot oiled pan.

    1. Did you want recipes for char siu or recipes that use char-siu?
      I use pork tenderloin to make my own char siu? Sometimes boneless country style pork rib which is a bit fatty, but a more tender char siu. Also do you want char siu flavored with 5 spice or shoyu based?

      4 Replies
      1. re: mochi mochi

        I was actually looking for a recipe FOR char siu. I'm not sure whether I would prefer 5 spice or shoyu based, although I believe that my local source leans toward 5 spice. I'd love to try either at home. Thanks!

        1. re: caseytown

          Centenary Church Cookbook

          2lbs. pork tenderloin
          salt and sugar
          1/2 c catsup
          2 T. sugar
          1 tsp. hoisin sauce
          1 T. sesame oil
          1 T. sherry
          1 tsp 5 spice powder
          1 clove garlic, minced
          1/2 tsp MSG- not me!
          1/4 tsp baking soda
          1 tsp salt
          red food color- not me!
          Cut meat into strips approx. 1.5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle with salt and sugar and let set several hours; drain. Combine remaining ingredients, pour over meat and marinate 24 hours, turning several times to coat all sides. Place on rack in roasting pan; bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes; turn meat, baste with marinade and bake 30 more minutes. Cool. Slice to serve.
          The other recipe for shoyu based chashu is below.

          1. re: mochi mochi

            Substitute fish sauce for your MSG. You'll get the same umami taste but without having pure unadulterated MSG in there. Worcestershire sauce (or its vegetarian fakey-fakey equivalent) also work if you don't feel like having a bottle of fish sauce in your closet.

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              I do have fish sauce and thank you for the suggestion. It's a good one.

      2. From someone I've spoken to with close ties to the Chinese American restaurant industry, Char Siu is soy/apricot based. No hoison, no 5 spices, no ketchup, no tomatoes of any kind. The red comes from food coloring.

        I've played around with an apricot based recipe with less than stellar results, so I'm not absolutely sure that my source has the inside information I'm looking for, but, if you're going to make char siu, it's worth keeping in mind.

        Char siu recipes, much like other Chinese restaurant knockoffs tend to suffer greatly from a 'close enough' syndrome. The authors tend to toss everything in but the kitchen sink and as long as the end product is red, they're happy. I've never seen a char siu recipe that more than one person raved about/felt like it tasted like what they get at their local restaurant.

        Although char siu can vary slightly from restaurant to restaurant, it seems to be one of the most consistent dishes in the old school New York style Chinese American restaurant repertoire. If someone could crack the code for one place, it would pretty much crack the code for all places.

        1 Reply
        1. re: scott123

          Thx for the response...Funny how a recipe, or even technique, can be so agreed upon, yet always suffer from that 'close enough' syndrome. I'll add apricots to my experimentation. But maybe it's better to fall short of 'cracking the code'...makes it more fun to go out for my fix of that damn red pork!

        2. I have one from the book Trader Vic's Tiki Party. I haven't had the chance to make it yet, but if the food is anything like the drinks in the book (all of them almost exactly like you'd have at a Trader Vic's), it should come out quite well.

          For the marinade, mix 1/2 cup each of sugar, ketchup, hoisin sauce, and soy sauce in a gallon size freezer bag.

          To prepare the pork, trim and remove the silver skin from two pork tenderloins (each tenderloin should be about one pound before trimming). Add the pork to the bag, seal, and shake around to cover the meat. Let it rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours, up to 24 hours.

          To cook the pork, remove it from the marinade and thread the tenderloins onto long metal skewers. Grill the pork over a medium-hot fire until it's dark golden brown and the center measures 150 degrees on an instant read thermometer. This should take about 15 minutes. If you don't feel like grilling, you can cook the pork in the oven on a rack over a foil lined pan at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes, turning the pork once during cooking. Be sure to check the meat frequently; the marinade is high in sugar and can burn very quickly. Once the pork is done, transfer it to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes.

          When you're ready to serve the meat, slice it thinly across the grain, and top with toasted sesame seeds. Serve it hot or at room temperature with Chinese style hot mustard and plum sauce for dipping. If you want to make your own hot mustard, it's really easy, just mix mustard powder and water until it's the consistency you want. If you like, substitute flat beer for some or all of the water.

          Considering the design of the wood fire ovens at Trader Vic's, it wouldn't surprise me if cooking the pork over indirect heat by building a two-level fire, or even doing high-temperature smoking, would work better than grilling the pork over direct heat. I'll have to experiment with this some time in the near future.

          1. You reminded me of a recipe I have in a very old cookbook called The People's Republic of China Cookbook. It calls for you to fashion ess hooks out of wire coat hangers so you can hang strips of pork from your oven rack. I tried this a couple of decades ago. IIRC, I used safety pins to hang the pork strips. Here's the recipe:

            Make a marinade of 6 tablespoons thin soy sauce, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons rice wine, 2 tablespoons oyster sauce, 3 large slices of fresh ginger, 2 whole scallions chopped, 1 tablespoon five-spice powder, 1-2 drops red food coloring. Cut 2 pounds of lean pork tenderloin with the grain into 6 X 2 inch slices. Marinate pork 3 to 4 hours or overnight.

            Preheat oven to 450. Impale each pork strip about 1/2-inch from the end with whatever kind of hook you're using and attach the hooks to an oven rack. Place the rack with the pork strips on the highest rung of the oven and place a large roasting pan on a rack on the lowest rung of the oven to catch the drippings. Roast 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 and roast for another 20 to 30 minutes.

            I tried this recipe ages ago and honestly don't remember why I didn't do it again. Disatisfied with the recipe? Too much of a pain in the a**? Too much trouble to clean the oven afterwards? But now that I reread it, it looks worth a revist.

            2 Replies
            1. re: JoanN

              The above recipe seems to me dead-on. We add some honey for sweetness and gloss.

              1. re: Sinophile

                I tried this recipe and added some honey and garlic to the marinade. I also basted it with a mixture of honey, water and red food coloring for looks and taste. it was just right. i'd rather make this than go to panda!