Char Siu Sous-Vide (Chinese BBQ Pork)

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Char Siu is pork that is marinated in a sweet spicy red sauce, and then cooked while basting with the marinade until crispy on the outside. When the pork is cooked sous-vide, the result is even more spectacular because of the nice contrast between the tender and juicy meat and the crispy exterior.

This is a really easy recipe with only two ingredients if you use store-bought char siu marinade. I can hear you all gasping. Stefan using store-bought marinade?

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Usually I make everything from scratch, but since I can’t get all of the ingredients that are needed for this marinade, and the store-bought version only contains natural ingredients, I decided to use the store-bought version and it turned out great. Most of the recipes I’ve seen for homemade char siu marinade contain store-bought hoi sin, so they are in fact not homemade at all. And this particular brand of char siu marinade tasted great. Here’s what I did…

Ingredients

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For 2 servings

400 grams (.9) pork neck

200 grams (1/2 jar) char siu sauce

1 Tbsp corn starch

Preparation

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Put the pork in a sous-vide pouch and add the marinade.

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Vacuum seal with the marinade in a chamber vacuum sealer, or use a ziploc pouch and use the water displacement method.

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Cook sous-vide for 36 hours at 57°C/135°F.

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Pour the juices from the bag into a saucepan. The sauce has become thin from the juices released by the meat.

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Bring the juices to a boil.

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The proteins in the juices that leaked from the pork will coagulate. Filter them out with a fine sieve and return the strained liquid to a clean(ed) saucepan.

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Make a slurry of 1 Tbsp cornstarch and 2 Tbsp cold water, mixing well. Add the slurry to the sauce…

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…and cook until the sauce has thickened. Turn off the heat.

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The meat is already cooked and still warm, so you only need the grill to crisp up the outside. Put the meat over hot charcoal…

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…and baste it with the sauce.

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Turn and baste a couple of times until the meat is lightly charred.

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Slice…

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…and serve with the remaining sauce. I served white rice and stir-fried bok choy on the side.

Wine pairing

This pairs well with a dry but full-bodied Gewurztraminer, especially from Alto Adige in Italy.

Flashback

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Salmon with ancho chile rub is a tasty combination with great depth of flavor.

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20 thoughts on “Char Siu Sous-Vide (Chinese BBQ Pork)

  1. Love this! In Australia it is available readymade [and of very variable quality] in every Asian store but I do like to make my own! Actually I use it mostly on sandwiches, pita wraps, Asian salads etc. For once I can see that the sous-vide method would probably lead to a superior result but not having the apparatus . . . 🙂 ! And I too have sometimes bought the ready-made sauce tho’ shall buy the Lee Kim Kee next time: all of theirs in every supermarket here . . .

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      1. Off the top of my head [too tired to go look up files: honest’injun 🙂 !] : about 2 parts hoisin, 1 part soy, 1 part honey, few big slurps of sherry or rice wine, spoonful of palm sugar, and I add some garlic and ginger v finely macerated. Some recipes add some 5-spice powder instead of or in addition to the last two methinks!! Not very accurate, but the ingredients are all there!!!!

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          1. I should but don’t . . . not hard – contains all the ‘usual suspects’ + peanut butter. For me it is a bought ‘kitchen staple’ for daily usage together with all the different soy sauces, kecap manis, oyster sauce, fish sauce, blachan etc et al . . One ‘gets a feel’ when one preps as much Asian fusion as we do here: I treat char siu largely the way you probably would salamis and other prepped antipasti and ‘deli goods’ . . . don’t like shop-bought nitrate/nitrite/salt rich food, so that is one ‘substitution’ I use.

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              1. Its; called ‘Doenjang’ and is Korean not Japanese: one of their main cooking ingredients stuck into almost everything. Hope your Eastern food shops have a Korean part: the food is ‘flavour of the month’ here at the moment so no problems . . . Actually I don’t think it is on any of the recipes I have used: as I said I usually buy hoisin ready-made. Bye, off to dinner . . .

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  2. I closed my eyes and opened the refrigerator door – and right there – behind the yellow curry – was a half jar of Char Siu! I do not recall why – but on today’s store list is the pork neck – and dinner for tomorrow night is planned!

    (That’s right after the lamb shanks come out of the sous vide!)

    That makes 3 Stefangourmet recipes in a week. I wonder what we used to eat before I discovered this blog…… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, that is great to hear. The funny thing is that what we are eating ourselves has also changed since I started the blog. Both from the motivation to have new dishes to blog about and the inspiration from other bloggers as well as commenters.
      You’re the second in a few days to mention yellow curry, so I should look into that 🙂

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  3. Hi, I was thinking of using a leaner cut for eg loin of pork or another with lots of tendon (on weight loss/ fitness drive) so I was hoping for guidance on sous vide cooking times and temperature? Thanks in advance!

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    1. Hi, for pork loin 6 hours at 55C/131F should be sufficient. You may want to vacuum seal with the sauce longer in advance (e.g. the night before), so the meat can marinate for a longer time. Let me know how it turns out!
      P.S. My advice would be to prepare this with the fatty pork and eat less of it — that way you will have more flavor as well as the weight loss. It takes some getting used to eating less, but after a few weeks you won’t know the difference and it is easier to stick to it as the food you are eating is as delicious as before.

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