Bbq char siu pork on the grill

Now that it’s officially summer, you’re probably hunting for something good to slap on the grill. If you’re looking for something a little bit different to put over those hot coals this BBQ char siu (roast pork) may just be the trick.

The most important part of this recipe is selecting the right cut of meat; pork shoulder is the perfect selection, since it is nicely marbled with enough fat so it won’t dry out on the grill. Ask your butcher to select a piece with just a bit more fat - the key to juicy perfection with grilled meat is just a little extra marbling.

Take your time to marinate your pork overnight, watch these babies on the grill like a hawk, and you’ll end up with roast pork that you just can’t stop eating! Just picture your personal summer porky paradise: a perfectly cooked plate of Char Siu with a cold beverage within reach.

Cook time
35 Mins

Prep time
12 Hours


Recipe provided by: The Woks of Life

  • For the marinade: 2lb boneless pork shoulder
  • 2tbsp sugar
  • 2tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp five spice powder
  • 1/4tsp white pepper
  • 1tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1/2tsp sesame oil
  • 1tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2tsp molasses
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/8tsp red foodcolouring
  • For the basting liquid: 1tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1tbsp Haughton Honey
  • 1tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1tbsp warm water
  • Leftover marinade
Notes for the cook

If you have a fan-assisted oven then reduce the specified temperature in the recipe by about 15%.

1 teaspoon = 5ml

1 tablespoon = 15ml.

Some ingredients are measured in cups and some equivalents are;

150g, 6oz (1/2 cup) = 120ml, 4fl oz.

  1. Cut the pork into long 1 1/2 to 2-inch thick pieces. There is a technique to cutting pork that I learned from my father. First, find where the meat has the fat and the membrane between the muscle, and use a sharp knife to cut and separate them. My father always said that if you look at the pork closely, it will show you how it wants to be cut by following the muscle membrane lines. This is a brilliant way to do it, because you end up with the fat and the tougher membrane on the outside, protecting the tender meat and keeping it juicy on the grill. The marinade and heat also break down this membrane, so it won’t be tough at all.
  2. Once you have your pieces of meat separated, you can decide if they need to be cut further into manageable pieces since grilling involves more handling and moving/turning of the meat than roasting in the oven. You will most likely have to butterfly the thicker pieces of the meat to get the desired thickness. Always start where the meat starts to be thicker; cut towards and into the thickest part, stop 1½ inches from the end and butterfly the meat. This method for breaking down the pork also applies to roasting Chinese BBQ pork in the oven. I included some pictures and details since we got quite a few questions after posting the oven-roasted version.
  3. Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Place the pork into a gallon zip top bag, and pour the marinade mix in. Seal the bag and work the marinade into the meat until every piece is evenly coated. Refrigerate overnight.
  4. The next day, place the pork on a plate, making sure to shake off the excess marinade in the bag. Too much marinade left on the meat will increase the chances of burning your pork. Pour the rest of the marinade into a bowl and add the rest of the basting ingredients; get your basting brush ready.
  5. Preheat your grill, making sure it’s extremely hot. You want a nice sear on the meat to seal in the juices before you turn it, but try not to get it too crispy on one side. You will be turning the meat often during the cooking process to prevent burning and make sure that marinade gets nice and caramelized. On a hot grill, you should be cooking it for about 3 minutes before flipping it.
  6. After both sides are seared, you can turn the grill down slightly to prevent drying out the meat. Turn the meat often; I did every 2 to 3 minutes making sure to get an even sear on all sides. I also started to brush and baste the meat after each turn to keep it moist and flavorful. If the meat looks like it starts to get dry on the surface, it needs to be basted.
  7. Continue this turning and basting for another 20 to 30 minutes and make sure you don’t walk away from the grill! With all of this marinade, the roast pork could burn to a crisp very quickly, so protect your time and investment! Also make sure that you stop basting a few minutes before you pull the meat off the grill since the marinade was in contact with raw meat.
  8. You can check the pork with a meat thermometer to be sure it’s done (60 degrees centigrade) and remove it from the grill to let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
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