Traditional char siu is marinated in a combination of honey, soy sauce and hoisin sauce. This paleo friendly version captures the same flavors using raw honey, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, almond butter and sesame oil. And of course Chinese 5 spice powder. I prefer to use pork loin to make my char siu, but you can also use pork butt or even pork belly if you like. Char Siu is delicious in fried rice, noodle soup, or just on it’s own. You may be used to seeing char siu in restaurants with a red coloring to it. This is usually cause by adding food dyes, so don’t expect this char siu to be bright red. Instead you will get a nice dark brown caramel color, and I promise it will taste amazing!
The key to any good char siu is to get the inside of the meat to cook just long enough to stay juicy, while broiling the outside of the meat long enough so that the marinade caramelizes and begins to crisp. I cook mine just until the internal temperature hits 145F, and then broil the outside of the meat to get the crispy caramelization I am looking for. You can marinate your meat for as little as 3-4 hours, but I usually prepare mine the night before and let it marinate up to 24 hours to get the extra flavor.
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– 2 pounds pork loin or pork butt
– 1/3 cup raw honey
– 1/3 cup coconut aminos
– 1 Tbsp. almond butter
– 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
– 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
– 1 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
– 1/2 tsp. sea salt
– 1 tsp. garlic powder
– 1 tsp. ground ginger
– 1 tsp. onion powder
– 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
– Large resealable plastic bag
– Medium saucepan
– Small resealable container
– Measuring cups
– Measuring spoons
– Roasting pan
– Casserole/roasting pan
– Aluminum foil
– Meat thermometer
– Oven mitts
– Small saucepan
– Basting brush
1. Cut the pork loin or pork butt into 4 equal sized pieces and place in a large resealable plastic bag.
2. Place all of the marinade ingredients in a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat and bring just to a boil, stirring to combine. Set aside and allow to cool.
3. Pour 3/4 of the sauce over the pork and seal the bag. Place the remaining 1/4 marinade in a small resealable container and place the pork and reserved marinade in the fridge. Allow the pork to marinate for at least 2 hours or more.
4. Preheat oven to 325F. Place the pork pieces on a foil-lined roasting pan and allow to cook for about 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145F. While the pork is cooking, place the remaining marinade in a small saucepan over medium heat and allow to reduce until slightly thick (about 5-10 minutes), stirring frequently.
5. Once the pork has reached 145F, turn the oven to broil (you may need to move your oven rack up to a higher setting) and brush the pork with half of the thickened marinade using a basting brush. Return to pork to the oven and allow to broil for about 5 minutes or until the tips of the meat start the blacken. Remove the pork from the oven, flip the pork over and brush with the remaining half of the marinade. Return to the oven and allow to broil for another 5 minutes or until slightly charred.
6. Remove from the oven, slice and serve.