Ingredients- 1 ½ pounds pork loin or shoulder (trimmed weight) ¼ cup honey 2 tablespoons mirin wine (Aji-Mirin sweet cooking rice seasoning) 1 tablespoon sesame oil Marinade- ¼ cup dry sherry (Shaoxing or sake if sherry not available) 2 garlic cloves, crushed 3 tablespoons light soy sauce 1 tablespoon sesame paste (Tahini may be substituted) 1 tablespoons black bean paste (I use Lee Kum Kee black bean and garlic sauce) 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon five-spice powder ¼ cup granulated sugar
Trim fat and silver skin from the meat and cut into 2 X 2 X 10 inch strips. Combine all marinade ingredients; mix well. Add pork and toss to cover with the marinade. Cover and set a room temperature for at least 1 hour or refrigerate 3 hours, or overnight. Turn every 30 minutes or so. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place a roasting rack on top of a sheet pan lined with foil. Place the marinated strips of pork on top of the roasting rack. Roast the meat on the center rack of the oven for (40 minutes). Turn oven to 450°F. Mix the honey and mirin. Brush the strips of pork with the honey mixture, and then sesame oil. Roast 5 minutes, then turn the pieces over, brush the other side of the meat. Roast additional 5 minutes. The meat should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 135-140°F is reached. Serve the char siu with your favorite vegetables and white rice.
TIP #1 – The beautiful deep red and caramelized color on the surface of the Char siu once roasted is attributed to two steps during the preparation and cooking of the meat; marination and Maillard browning.
TIP #2 – Marinades typically contain acid, sugar, salt, all which help to denature some of the surface proteins to make it easier for the flavors to infuse into the meat, as well as making the meat more tender. If marinating for a short period, the surface benefits from marination, but not the center of the meat. If the meat is denser like beef or pork, its best to cut thinner slices of meat for maximum flavor penetration. You can see in the picture above, given an entire day to marinate in the sauce, the surface of the meat has taken on the color and flavor of the marinade.