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Easy Chinese Style BBQ Pork or Char Siu

One of the greatest thngs about living in Toronto means that I have access to an abundance of fabulous Chinese food. Because of this, there are things that I don't even try to make at home all that often. For the most part, I will think "why would I even attempt BBQ at home when I am a 10 minute drive from Ka Ka?" but you know, I'm in the eye of the stupid winter vortex, I don't have a car during the winter and I didn't think far enough ahead to pick some up earlier in the week and I want to make Cantonese Chow Mein.  Shit happens.

I used to date a Chinese guy and his parents made their own BBQ pork and duck and I recall that it was far superior to anything that you could get in a restaurant but I never gave much thought to how they made this stuff. Once, when I was sleeping over at their house I ventured down to the basement in the dark in search of my designated spot on the couch, I had a close encounter with my own  mortality. It was completely blacked out and I was a bit disorientated and was fumbling around, looking for the light when I was whacked in the face by something heavy and greasy and I started screaming my head off. I tried to dodge the big, greasy things that felt like an army of satan's beaver tails but as soon as I had fought off one, I would be hit in the back of the head by another. It felt like I was being attacked on all sides and, for a moment,  my life flashed before my eyes. Okay, I think I might have also had a couple cocktails in me and that certainly didn't help the situation but it was pitch dark, I was in a strange house where I wasn't an overly welcome guest and was always a bit on edge to begin with - all that was missing was the shower music from Psycho. Suddenly, the light snapped on and my boyfriend was standing at the bottom of the stairs, laughing his ass off at me. I found myself standing in the midst of at least a dozen ducks hanging from the ceiling, flattened like flowers pressed between the pages of a book.


Anyway, I wanted BBQ Pork so I had to make it myself. It might not be 100% authentic but most people don't have maltose syrup or big hooks with which to hang their chunks of pork but this produces a pretty good home version with ingredients that most people can get their hands on.

Easy Char Sui/BBQ Pork

adapted from


1 lb pork tenderloin
1 1/2 tbls brown rice syrup (or maltose if you have it or corn syrup)
1 1/2 tbls honey
1 1/2 tbls hoisin sauce
1 tbls dark soy
1/2 tbls light soy sauce
1/2 tsp five spice powder
1/2 tbls sesame oil
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
3 coin sized slices of fresh ginger


mist everything but the pork in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for a minute or two until everything is melted and thickens up just a bit. Let it cool to room temperature.

Cut your pork tenderloin into three or four chunks and toss it with most of the sauce, reserving a small bowl to baste it with at the very end, and let it marinate in the fridge. If you can manage a full 24 hours that is fabulous but sometimes life happens and I have done it with as little as 6 hours and its still tasty.

When it's time to cook it, take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking time to let it come down to room temp. If you can, you want to grill this pork but I am Canadian and that is not always possible so, if you can't grill it, roast it and then broil it.

out of the marinade and ready to go into the oven

Heat the oven to 425F and lay the pork pieces on a rack over a foil or parchment lined baking sheet.

Cook the pork until the internal temp is 160F, probably about 30-35 minutes. For the final glazing, brush the pork with the remaining marinade that you set aside and broil it, turning the pieces so that you char all sides but careful, because all that sugar will burn if you don't watch it.

Let it sit for at least ten minutes after you remove if from the oven before you slice it to serve it. It's great at room temp, in a sandwich, on rice or in any kind of stir fried dish.

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