Char Siu Pork

Char siu pork is a classic Cantonese dish. This is a modern riff on the dish. Instead of using pork belly or pork butt, this recipe calls for pork tenderloin. The sauce is a mix of soy sauce, Chinese five spice, garlic, and ginger.

Cutting board with char siu pork--a pork tenderloin slathered with char siu sauce--and more sauce and the side

This isn’t quite the traditional Chinese roasted pork recipe. It swaps the traditional indulgent pork butt or pork belly for learner pork tenderloin but tastes every iota as sweet and sticky and authentic as the real deal. See for yourself.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Char Siu Pork

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 20 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 1 reviews
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Marinate the pork

In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, soy sauce, five-spice powder, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic. Place the pork in large resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over. Press out as much air as possible and seal the bag. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours, flipping the bag occasionally to evenly coat the pork.

Prepare the oven and roast the pork

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a wire rack on the sheet. Spray the rack with nonstick spray.

Remove the pork from marinade, letting any excess drip off, and place it on the wire rack. Season on all sides with salt and pepper. Roast until the internal temperature of the pork registers 135°F (57°C), 25 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the tenderloin.

Make the char siu sauce

While the pork is roasting, transfer the marinade to a small saucepan and stir in the ketchup and honey. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. (It’s important to boil the marinade to kill any possible bacteria from the raw pork.)

Glaze and serve the pork

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and turn the oven to broil. Adjust the oven racks so that the top rack sits 3 to 4 inches (8 to 10 cm) from the broiler. Brush the pork with half the warm glaze; broil the pork until a deep mahogany color, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip the meat over, baste with the remaining glaze and broil until the other side caramelizes, 2 to 3 minutes more. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 to 7 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. Slice thinly and serve immediately.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This char siu pork recipe is a cinch…and an excellent choice for anyone on a tight cooking schedule. It would be equally appropriate for a weeknight family meal or a weekend dinner gathering and can be dressed up or down by the sides it is served with. (I’m picturing some beautiful green sugar snap peas dressed with sesame oil, shallots and some toasted seeds to glam this up for a Saturday night party.)

There is very little hands-on time and the pork can actually sit overnight in its marinade; the flavor shines through beautifully. If you need maximum outcome for minimum effort, this one’s for you. The cooking temperatures should be watched, depending upon how much of a light pink center you prefer and how thin the ends of your pork tenderloin might be.

As written, the recipe took the meat toward being over-cooked if you like a slight blush and tenderness in your slices. The Chinese Five-Spice powder was a bit difficult to locate in my two local grocery stores. I did finally find it in a third, smaller ‘gourmet’ grocery…but that might pose a challenge for some cooks depending on their local resources. Also, it might be fun to suggest 1 or 2 other uses for the spice in the recipe header (cookies?) since there will be some leftover in the spice cabinet after purchasing it and making this recipe.

I would describe the taste as mild and I think the point of the dish is to play up the exotic spicing. I marinated the pork overnight out of necessity, so it was in the marinade about 16 hours. (I don’t think the longer time affected the texture of the meat at all and I imagine it improved the flavor given the extra hours to absorb the marinade.)

This was certainly a winner in our house. The pork was very easy to prep - the marinade pretty much did all of the work. I loved that I did not have to brown the meat before roasting! My husband and sons loved the pork saying that it was very tender and flavorful. The remaining marinade that was reduced and basted on provided a sticky, yummy exterior. We used the leftover marinade to pour over the side dishes of rice and roasted broccoli.

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  1. I use boneless, Country-style pork ribs. Sesame seeds and very hot mustard are a must for dipping!

  2. This was delicious! I don’t make pork often because it dries out so easily. Not so with this recipe. I marinated it for about 3 hours but didn’t flip the bag as directed. The cook time was about 25 min as it was a slightly smaller loin than what the recipe called for. There was glaze left over which was spooned over the sliced pork over rice with a side of steamed edamame. Will definitely be making this again!

    1. Magnificent, Deirdre! Love everything about what you wrote. We feel exactly the same about the recipe but it’s always lovely to hear from readers that you had the same experience as we did in our home kitchens. Greatly appreciate you taking the time to let us know!

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