Vietnamese/Chinese Barbecue Pork (Thit Xa Xiu/Char Siu)
The best thing about being a stay-at-home mom is that there is very little need to look nice. A regular day is pajama pants and an over-sized stained t-shirt. A fancy day is yoga pants and a fitted shirt. My sister came to visit the other night. She commented on my hair. It took a few seconds to recall if I combed my hair that day. I didn't.
I may appear homeless sometimes, but my Vietnamese BBQ Pork (Thit Xa Xiu) ... is always on point.
You see this all over Chinatown: Bright red hue of long pork strips hanging in the window shops. Known as Xa Xiu in Vietnamese or Char Siu in Cantonese, these delicious moist, savory and slightly sweet BBQ porky goodness is to die for and really the reason I visit Chinatown.
Whenever I make Xa Xiu, I make sure to make a lot because it can be used in many other Vietnamese dishes. Banh Mi Xa Xiu (VIetnamese BBQ Pork Sandwich) is one of my favorites. The kids loooooooove Com Chien Xa Xiu (Fried Rice with BBQ Pork) and the husband can't get enough of Hu Tieu Mi with Xa Xiu (Pork Noodle Soup with BBQ Pork). Thit Xa Xiu easily satisfies my whole family's cravings for a week! So if you're going to make Thit Xa Xiu, double or triple the recipe to use in these other awesome dishes.
Have you seen Xa Xiu premixes at the stores and decided to make Xa Xiu using only the packages to save some time? I did ... multiple times, using different brands in each attempt. Unfortunately, none was quite right. The aroma was there. The aroma was perfect actually, but the flavor was bland and horribly lacking. On the next attempt, I decided to skip the premix and made my own marinade from scratch. Again, something is missing. Flavor is there but the aroma is not the same and color is lacking. asdf#W$!@#!jkla&*#$sdf!
Next, I combined the two methods. I mixed a bit of premix and my own marinade. BAM! It worked! I got the beautiful red color, the signature aroma, and the most incredible taste known to mankind. Balance and order was back on Earth and life was good.
Recipe below. Happy cooking!
Vietnamese/Chinese BBQ Pork Recipe (Thit Xa Xiu/Char Siu)
- 3 lbs pork shoulder/butt (cut into long strips about 2 inches wide; make sure strips are uniform for evening cooking)
- 3 tablespoons Chinese BBQ Pork Seasoning Mix
- 1/2 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black or white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chicken or mushroom stock powder
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon water
- In a small bowl, mix together all the pork marinade ingredients until you get a smooth paste. Slather mixture evenly on the pork and marinate for at least one hour or overnight in fridge for best results.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the pork on a wired rack with a pan underneath to catch the drippings. Line the pan with parchment paper or foil to reduce clean up. Bake for 30 minutes. Flip the pork over and bake for another 30 minutes.
- Combine honey and hot water in a small bowl until completely dissolved.
- Once the pork is done baking for one hour (30 minutes each side), slather the honey glaze onto the pork with a brush. Place it back into the oven and turn the heat up to 450°F. Bake for 10 minutes each side to get a nice caramelization in the outside.
- Turn off heat and allow meat to rest to redistribute juice (about 15 minutes). Slice thinly and serve.