Chinese BBQ … ok, you guys remember those little sticky rib thingies that was served with a pu-pu platter? 

I realize I’m going back a long time ago.  I’m gonna guess if you’re under 35 you probably don’t remember Chinese restaurants used to have actual food that was served to you instead of buffet style.   But it’s true, that was the deal and you know, you would have to get the pu-pu platter, served with all those goodies. 

Well, this Chinese BBQ, or also called char siu, tastes. just. freaking. like. those. red. ribs.  It’s true.  So good.  

Before we get on into this, I want to let you know this recipe may not be for the faint of heart.  I wanted to make this without the red food coloring, so I went with ingredients that had to be sought out.  Only a few, but they are not typical American pantry fare, you get me?  But so worth it.  But you may have a totally rocking pantry that has all these ingredients.  I certainly did not.   I wish I was you. 

I headed to my local Asian store down the street.  They had everything I needed.  While I was there though, I found jarred char siu sauce.  And I bought it.  It does have food coloring and other stuff that’s not completely pure, but I wanted to try it to see if it was worthy.  

It was.  So don’t be afraid of this ingredient list. You can buy a jar of char siu sauce and it will be delicious.  In fact, I basted this bad boy every hour and I ran out of marinade, so I used the premade jarred stuff.  Worked like a charm!

I used a boneless pork shoulder for this.  I trimmed it up and cut into pieces that made sense.  If you have ever trimmed a pork shoulder, you know what I’m talking about.  They fit together like puzzle pieces.  I cut them where it made sense and removed the big fat.  If some pieces are really big, trim into thick strips.  

You can grill this, like I did. Or, you can put this in your oven.  Your choice, but do it!  It’ll make you wish you had a pu-pu platter serving dish.

Chinese BBQ – Char Siu

Take a trip back to Chinese restaurant land of old – right back to the pu-pu platter!  This is just like those little ribs you would get on the pu-pu platter!


  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder/butt trimmed into thick strips
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maltose
  • 1-2 cubes of red bean curd red fermented tofu for color
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 – 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1″ knob ginger, minced or grated
  • 2 teaspoons five spice
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tsp paprika



  1. Place the trimmed pork shoulder into a gallon size zip lock bag.  Add in the honey or maltose, red bean curd, hoisin sauce, garlic, ginger, five spice, Chinese cooking wine, red pepper flakes, sesame oil, and paprika. 

  2. Combine all those ingredients, breaking up and incorporating the red bean curd with all the other ingredients.  Pour over the pork shoulder and massage all over until coated.  Marinate for 24 hours.

    If using jarred char siu sauce, cover the meat with the sauce and massage in.  Same deal.

  3. Heat your grill up.  I used a partial snake method on a charcoal grill. You can use a gas grill if you like as well.  Once the grill is hot, you’ll want to get it to a constant 250-300° degrees.  

  4. Add the meat pieces to the grill, reserving the marinade.  Grill for one hour and baste with the reserved marinade.  Keep cooking and basting at one hour increments until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165°. 

  5. If you run out of marinade, as I did, you can use jarred char siu sauce.  

    Once the pork reaches 165°, remove and let rest for about 10 minutes and slice.  Enjoy!


  1. As above, pour all the marinade ingredients and combine.  Put the meat in a gallon size zip lock bag.  Pour the marinade over the meat and massage.  If using char siu sauce, just put it in the bag with the pork and massage in.  Marinate for 24 hours. 

  2. Heat your oven to 375°.  Line a baking sheet with foil and put a metal rack on top, like a cookie cooling rack.  Place the pork pieces on the rack, reserving the marinade, and cook for 30 minutes. 

  3. Remove the tray and flip the meat over.  Brush with the sauce left in the bag and cook for another 15-20 minutes.  

    Let rest for about 10 minutes and slice. 

Recipe Notes

  • I used honey in this recipe, but if you want to use maltose, it will give it that glisten on the meat. 
  • I served this with white rice and edamame.  So good! 

This is just for reference, but here are some links of some of the items, so you can see what they look like. 

Fermented bean curd:  bean curd

Chinese cooking wine: rice cooking wine

Chinese 5 spice:

Char Siu Sauce:

Chinese BBQ - Char Siu

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