Chinese Barbecued Pork (Char Siu) - Cook's Illustrated

"Published in Cook's Illustrated, March-April 2007. Pay close attention to the meat when broiling -- you are looking for it to darken and caramelize, not blacken. Serve with rice and vegetables. Leftover pork can be used in fried rice."
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Ready In:
2hrs 25mins




  • Cut pork butt in half lengthwise. Turn each half on cut side and slice each half into 4 equal pieces (you will end up with 8 strips). Trim excess hard, waxy fat, leaving some fat to render while cooking.
  • Using fork, prick each piece of pork on all sides. Place pork in large plastic zipper-lock bag. Combine sugar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sherry, pepper, five-spice powder, sesame oil, ginger and garlic in medium bowl.
  • Measure out 1/2 cup marinade and set aside.
  • Pour remaining marinade into bag with pork. Press out as much air as possible; seal bag. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  • While meat marinates, combine ketchup and honey with reserved marinade in small saucepan. Cook glaze over medium heat until syrupy, 4-6 minutes.
  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300°F Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set wire rack on sheet. Spray the wire rack and rimmed pan with vegetable oil spray (this will help to facilitate cleanup).
  • Remove park from marinade, letting any excess drip off, and place on wire rack. Pour 1/4 cup water into bottom of pan. Cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil, crimping edges tightly to seal. Cook pork 20 minutes.
  • Remove foil and continue to cook until edges of pork begin to brown, 40-45 minutes.
  • Turn on broiler (do not use a drawer broiler). Broil pork until evenly caramelized, 7-9 minutes. Remove pan from oven and brush pork with half of glaze; broil until deep mahogany color, 3-5 minutes. (Watch carefully; do not allow to blacken.).
  • Using tongs, flip meat and broil until other side carmelizes, 7-9 minutes. Brush meat with remaining glaze and continue to broil until second side is deep mahogany, 3-5 minutes.
  • Cool for at least 10 minutes, then cut into thin strips and serve.

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  1. MKUltra_
    Solid recipe. My own tweaked recipe holds up against this, but I lean into this one for ease and product availability. Amp up you game and make your own Bao Buns, steam and quick pickle a veg of choice to top the Char Sui bun for some showstopping appetizer or snack platter. I do this with a charred green onion aioli and my clients go nuts.
  2. Eric L.
    The owner of a Chinese restaurant approved of this recipe. If there's anything I'd do differently, it's let it broil longer and blacken more. The burnt bit can always be cut off. I don't like my char siu sticky.
  3. mizjmassie
    I love Chinese barbecued pork and have made it using a mix that I purchse at the Asian market which is really good. However, I don't think you are really cooking when you use mixes and I always wanted to make this from scratch. Because Cooks Illustrated has really good recipes to me, I wanted to try their's and boy was I glad I did. This pork tasted even better than some Chinese recipes I have gone to. I mean this is the real thing. It is a few steps, but it is so worth it especially if you like to cook like I do. I usually like to tweak recipes to make them my own, but there was nothing I could do to tweak on this one that would enhance it. At least nothing I could think of because it was just perfect as is.


I love cooking for family and friends. I especially enjoy is like combining art and science to create something extraordinary. I am most known for making desserts like Recipe #336060. My pet peeve: when people sign-up to bring dessert to a pot-luck or dinner party and they bring something pre-made from the store. My friends and family now know to always let me bring the dessert. :) I enjoy traveling and believe that one of the best ways to experience a culture is through food. I have lived in Germany, Spain and Switzerland, and currently live in the US. My rating system: 5 stars - Excellent! Delicious! Could not be better...will make often. 4 stars - Very good! May tweak slightly. 3 stars - Good base recipe. Will need to tweak. 2 stars - Ok. Will keep looking. Cooking Contests & Games: <img src=> <img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a> <img src=""> <img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"> <img src=""> <img src=""> <img src=""> <img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a> <img src=""> <img src="">
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