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Give your barbecues a multicultural spin by introducing the flavours of Asia. Take a look at a classic Chinese barbecue dish, Char Siu Pork. Pick up a jar of char siu sauce from the Asian aisle of your local supermarket and start experimenting this season.
Chinese barbecue is a more time-consuming pursuit than your standard sausage sizzle, building layers of flavour through marinades and sauces, and often cooking for hours on end. Wander the streets of your local Chinatown, and you’ll see Cantonese barbecue shops filled with glossy roast ducks, crisp pork belly, and ruby-hued Char Siu Pork. We love the luscious stickiness of the char siu glaze, which complements the fatty pork and those lovely chewy, charry bits of meat.
Tips for Top-Notch Char Siu Pork
Choose the Right Cut
There are many different cuts of pork you can use, each with a different cooking time. The tougher and fattier the cut, the longer it will need to cook. If you’re short on time, choose a lean pork fillet, which can be baked for 30 minutes, or grilled on the barbecue for 20-25 minutes, turning occasionally so that it’s glazed on all sides. Pork belly slices will require more time than fillet as you want to break down those layers of fat. Pork neck is our favourite cut for this dish, but will take the longest of all, as it’s a more hard-working piece of meat.
Slice or Leave Whole
Another factor that will influence the cooking time is whether or not you sliced the meat. Leave lean pork fillets and neck pieces whole, turning throughout the cooking process, or slice the pork belly into 2cm strips to ensure the heat penetrates the meat evenly.
To inject the most flavour into your Char Siu Pork, marinade the meat for at least 24 hours in advance.
Bake or Barbecue
One of our favourite bits of the Char Siu Pork from Chinese barbecue shops is those crunchy little nubs of blackened meat at the edges. It can be hard to achieve that in the oven, which is why we like to fire up the barbecue for our char siu at home. Warning though, that sticky marinade can be hard to clean. Try using beer or a cut lemon to remove any excess sauce.
- On a bed of steamed Asian greens with a bowl of rice
- In lettuce cups with a garnish of spring onion and fresh herbs
- In a warm salad of lettuce, asparagus and watercress
- With bread rolls, cabbage coleslaw and hoisin sauce