Charsiu Pork

2009 May/Jun

This is known as Chinese barbecued pork. You can use either a fatty Boston butt roast or a lean pork tenderloin, or one of each:

2 lbs Boston butt or pork tenderloin



  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Thumb-size piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • 1 t. five-spice powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 strips of orange rind
  • 1/2 c. Chinese rice wine  or dry sherry
  • ½ c. dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. light soy sauce
  • 1/3 c. runny honey
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced (garnish)


  • 1 c. sugar
  • 3 T. water
  • ½ c. light soy sauce


Whisk all marinade ingredients together in a sauce pan and set over low heat for the sugar to dissolve, then pour into a bowl and add the pork. Or put the pork and marinade into a large Ziploc bag and refrigerate overnight. Turn the pork now and then (but you don’t have to get up in the night to do it).

Preheat the oven to 425°F and place a water-filled roasting pan on the bottom shelf to keep the pork from drying out. Place the pork and ½ c. of the marinade in a small roasting pan. Baste the meat and roast 20 minutes. Turn and baste again; reduce the oven to 300°F and roast the pork another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. Put the sugar and water in a heavy-bottom saucepan and cook over medium heat to dissolve the sugar. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook, not stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly caramelized. Remove from the heat, cool a couple of minutes, then gradually whisk in the soy sauce – the syrup will bubble a bit.

Baste the pork all over with the glaze and continue to roast another 10 minutes. At this point the tenderloin will be done (an instant-read thermometer should read 145°F – 150°F); remove it from the oven and tent with foil to keep warm. Baste the butt again, turn and continue roasting it for another 20 minutes, basting once more without turning until the pork is tender, dark and glossy. Remove and let rest about 10 minutes. Slice the pork and serve it on rice garnished with the scallion. Serves 4.