Chinese BBQ Pork Tenderloin (Char Siu)

So let me tell you a little story. My dad makes the most amazing steak tip marinade but his secret ingredient is hard to find, if you’re not in a metro area that has a chinatown. The basics are easy enough (those that like our FB page have seen it before… Soy, terriyaki, onion powder, garlic powder, red wine, worcestershire sauce, etc). Easy enough. Then comes the star of the show. This packet of brilliant red powder. It’s what gives chinese ribs their amazing flavor and coloring. That, combined with the above ingredients? It makes a sick batch of BBQ tips.

So here I am, trying to reproduce that red yumminess and my sister divuldges the fact that she has had a packet in her cupboard for the last few years. Ooph.


At any rate, even though I knew I could probably pick myself up some char siu seasoning, I was determined to reproduce it… The hydrated version.


It’s a ‘clean your pantry’ kind of adventure, as you can see. The end result? A sweet, spicy, salty concoction that makes pork shine… Literally.

Typically, you’d want to marinate for 24 hours but let’s be real. No marinade will ever get beyond 1/8” of the exterior. It’s a proven fact. I marinated my cut of choice (a 1.5# pork tenderloin) for about 5-6 hours, in a zip-lock freezer bag.

We then grilled, as usual, but it only needed a third of the sauce for the marinade so the rest was slightly reduced, over medium – low heat, to be poured over the top of the finished product.

One other important step was to baste the marinated pork with a fruit juice. You could use pineapple, orange, apple, etc. We only had syrupy sweet maraccino cherry juice on hand but it worked great.


Cook it over indirect heat until the internal temp reaches 158°. Now, as with any pork tenderloin recipe, it’s time to tent.


Let it rest for at least 5 minutes.

This is the perfect amount of time to finish any veggies, like green beans or peas.

Dice up some scallions, sprinkle the sliced pork with sesame seeds and you’re ready to go!


For the char siu marinade:

1 cup Hoison sauce
1/2 cup sake or mirin
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maltose, corn syrup or additional honey
1/2 cup Soy
4 tablespoons of ketchup
2 tablespoons of Sriracha
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of ground ginger
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
2 teaspoons of chinese five spice
2 teaspoons of onion powder
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
2 teaspoons of rice wine vinegar
4 tablespoons of ah-so sauce

I made a quick batch of pineapple fried rice for good measure. 😉

Enjoy and thanks to for the ribs version!!


1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Chinese BBQ Pork Egg Rolls | Newburyport Bites

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