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Aromatic, smoky, savoury & a little sweet, Cantonese classic dish Char Siu (Chinese BBQ pork) is one of the tastiest ways to roast pork.

    ▢2 pork shoulder steaks (aka pork butt), about 350g/12oz, see note 1
  • For the marinade
    ▢4 tablespoon Char Siu sauce, see note 2
    ▢1 tablespoon oyster sauce
    ▢½ tablespoon light soy sauce
    ▢¼ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
    ▢4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
    ▢5 slices ginger
    ▢½ teaspoon chilli powder, optional, see note 4
  • You also need
    ▢2 teaspoon honey


Marinate the meat

  • Put pork steaks in a resealable plastic bag. Add all the ingredients for the marinade.
  • Squeeze out air then seal the bag. Rub around for an even coating. Store in the fridge for at least 6 hours (ideally overnight).
  • Take the meat out of the bag right before roasting. Keep the marinade for later use.

Prepare for roasting

  • Preheat the oven at 425°F/220°C/Fan 200°C.
  • If using a baking tray with a wire rack that fits inside, fill the tray with hot water (lower than the rack) and put the steak on the rack. Place the tray in the middle of the oven.
  • Alternatively, place a large tray with hot water at the bottom of the oven. Then place the steak on the middle rack of the oven.

Roast & brush (see note 5)

  • Leave the meat to roast for 15 mins. Take out and flip it over. Brush some marinade then put back into the oven (Make sure there is always enough water in the tray).
  • Cook for a further 10 mins. While waiting, mix 2 teaspoons of honey with 2 teaspoons of the marinade.
  • Then increase the oven temperature to 460°F/240°C/Fan 220°C. Take out the meat. Brush with the honey mixture.
  • Put back into the oven for 5 mins. Then brush the other side with the honey mixture. Roast for a final 3 mins.


  • Leave the meat to rest for 5 mins then slice and serve it in your preferred way.
  • You may also heat up the remaining marinade (remove the garlic & ginger) then serve it as a sauce, a soup base, or a noodle seasoning, etc.


  1. Pork choices. The ideal cut of pork should have a small amount of fat for a moist taste. Pork shoulder steak (aka pork butt) is a great choice. You may use other cuts, e.g. pork belly if you prefer.
  2. Char Siu sauce. I use the Char Siu sauce from Lee Kum Kee/李锦记. It’s widely available in Chinese/Asian supermarkets.
  3. The use of colouring. Shop/restaurant bought Char Siu usually look quite red as colouring agents are added to the marinade. Please feel free to do so if you are after that particular look. You may use either red yeast powder/红曲粉 or regular red food colouring.
  4. Chilli powder is entirely optional as it’s not called for in traditional recipes. It’s purely my personal preference as I like a hint of spiciness which balances the sweetness of Char Siu.
  5. Cooking time. Depending on the performance of your oven and the thickness of your pork pieces, you might need to adjust the cooking time a little. Be attentive to avoid burning if this is your first time trying this recipe.

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