Char Siu Sous-Vide (Chinese BBQ Pork)

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?

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…


For 2 servings

400 grams (.9) pork neck or pork shoulder

200 grams (1/2 jar) char siu sauce

1 Tbsp corn starch


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

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

Cook sous-vide for 24 hours at 57°C/135°F.

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

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

…and cook until the sauce has thickened. Using the cornstarch will prevent the sauce from coagulating. Turn off the heat.

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 or under a broiler…

…and baste it with the sauce.

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


…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.


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


22 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 . . .

    Liked by 1 person

      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!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

          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.

            Liked by 1 person

              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 . . .


  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 🙂


  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!


    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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