Chinese BBQ Char Siu

2 pounds boneless pork loin

4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (see related recipe)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons dry sherry (or Japanese sake, or Shaoxing wine)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon grated garlic
1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
(Optional) 10 drops red food coloring

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a sauce pan.
Heat over medium low heat. Cook and stir occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the pan from the stove to cool off.

Cut the pork in half lengthwise along the grain, into 2 strips about 2 inches wide and 1 inch thick.

Transfer the pork to a gallon-sized ziplock bag. Pour half of the marinade onto the pork and save the rest in an airtight container in the fridge (for later use). Seal the bag and press as much as air out as possible. Rub the bag so that the pork is covered well with the marinade. Let marinate at room temperature for 3 hours, or in the fridge overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. After the oven is preheated, turn on broiler.

Place oven rack in the lower third of the oven, about 10 inches from the broiler element.

Add the red food coloring into the remaining marinade.

Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and add 1/4-inch of water. Place a baking rack on top. Drain pork loin and discard the marinating liquid. Transfer pork onto baking rack.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in total, until the internal temperature registers 140 to 150 degrees F (60 to 70 C). Flip pork every 4 to 5 minutes, 3 times, until the surface is cooked.

In the last 5 to 6 minutes, flip the pork every 1 to 2 minutes, and generously brush marinade onto the pork using the remaining marinade we saved earlier.

When it’s finishing up, the pork should be covered with a thick coat of marinade, slightly charred/caramelized, with the inside is still a bit pink (or just cooked through).

Remove the pan from the oven. Tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let rest for 10 minutes.

How to serve char siu

Chinese BBQ char siu can be served warm or cold. The just-out-of-the-oven char siu will be tender and moist. It will be a great main course to serve over some steamed rice with simple veggie dishes. On the other hand, the pork will become even more flavorful if you let it sit overnight. The texture will toughen up, and create this nice crunchy mouthfeel with a sticky coating.

You can serve cold sliced char siu as an appetizer. You can also use it as a topping for ramen noodles. Or use it as filling in dim sum. Or use it as an ingredient in lo mein, fried rice and fried noodles.

This marinade can be used with chicken, too. You can use the same method to marinate and cook bone-in skin-on chicken thighs. To do this, bake at 300 F, skin side down for 40 minutes. Flip and continue to bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the thickest part of the biggest thigh registers 165 degrees F (74 C). Turn on broiler. Cook until the surface turns crispy.

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