Char Siu Ribs

Char siu ribs are incredibly delicious! These sweet and sticky, Chinese-style ribs will quickly become one of your favorite dishes. Serve these ribs with rice and stir-fried vegetables for the perfect meal.

What is Char Siu?

Char siu is Cantonese-style barbecued pork. Typically, the meat of choice is pork loin, but some cooks use pork belly, ribs, and pork butt. The meat is coated in a flavorful sauce filled with spices, including umami and sweet elements. Red food coloring is added to the sauce to give it a distinct bright red color. Char siu is usually baked or slow-cooked in an indoor oven and served with starches like noodles and rice. This dish remains popular in Asia, with variations in South East Asia and East Asia. Char siu is also available in restaurants across the United States, where its popularity grew in various Chinatowns and popular tourist areas in Hawaii.

Grill Set Up for Char Siu Ribs:

  • Grill set-up: While char siu is typically cooked in an oven, we will be taking these barbecued pork ribs to the grill. I recommend cooking these low and slow, with a target cooking temperature of 250 degrees F. Set up for indirect cooking with a two-zone cooking area. Place an aluminum drip pan with a 1/2 cup of water underneath the ribs to mitigate any flare-ups. The sauce is sugary, and when dripping occurs, it can burn quickly. 
  • Ribs: This recipe calls for two racks of baby back ribs cut into individual ribs. Why? You will get a better coating of sauce and caramelization on your char siu ribs. However, you can leave the slabs whole for the oven method.
  • As always, I recommend having a reliable meat thermometer handy!

Marinade and Glaze:

  • Marinating: This char siu ribs recipe contains both a marinade and a glaze. Trust me when I say that you’ll love this combination. It is absolutely delicious! Marinate the pork ribs anywhere from 2-6 hours. For best results, aim for at least 4 hours.
  • The Glaze: This is the real deal. This glaze is what makes these char siu ribs well, char siu. It contains the staple ingredients for any good char siu, including Hoisin saucerice wine or rice wine vinegar, five-spice powdersesame oil, and red food coloring.
  • Saucing the ribs: Begin saucing the ribs after they reach 170-175 degrees F. Aim for an overall doneness temperature of 185 degrees F.
charsui-ribs-plated2
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Ingredient List:

  • 2 racks of baby back ribs 
  • Green onions
  • Toasted sesame seeds 
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Garlic minced
  • Chinese five-spice powder
  • Brown Sugar
  • Sesame oil
  • Red food coloring
Char Siu Ribs on the Grill

How to Make Grilled Char Siu Ribs:

  • Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. 
  • Cut the racks into individual ribs. Place into two resealable plastic bags.
  • Combine marinade ingredients and split the mixture in half. Coat each set of ribs with marinade. Move ribs around to make sure they are well coated.
  • seal the bags and place them into the refrigerator for 2-6 hours.
  • Preheat grill and prepare for a 1 1/2-2 hour indirect cook. Plan on a cooking temperature of 250 degrees F. Set a water-filled drip pan underneath where the ribs will go.
  • Remove ribs from the refrigerator and stand for 30 minutes at room temperature. Keep them in the bags.
  • Remove ribs from bags and place them onto the grill, bone side down. Cook for 2 hours over the indirect space. 
  • Combine glaze ingredients in a medium bowl.  
  • Start basting the last 30-40 minutes of cook time or once the ribs reach an internal temperate of 170 degrees F.
  • Baste several times on the meat side of the rack. Watch for burning.
  • Once they reach an internal temperature of 185 degrees F., and the baste has set up nicely, remove char siu ribs from the grill and place them onto a large clean cutting board or serving platter.
  • Garnish with green onion and toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Char Siu Ribs Recipe
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Making Char Siu Ribs in the Oven:

  • Remove membrane from baby back ribs. 
  • Leave the racks of ribs intact (do not cut into separate pieces like the grilled version)
  • Combine marinade ingredients and split the mixture in half.
  • Place ribs into a large glass dish (bone side down)
  • Pour equal portions of the marinade onto each rack of ribs.
  • Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate for 2-6 hours.
  • Preheat your oven for 250 degrees. 
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment.
  • Place ribs bone side down onto the pan.
  • Bake in your oven for 1 1/2-2 hours, rotating the pan halfway through cooking time.
  • After 2 hours, increase the heat of your oven to 300 degrees.
  • Brush on the char siu glaze every 15 minutes until the ribs take on a dark red hue and register an internal temperature of 185 degrees F.
  • Remove from the oven. Let the ribs rest for 10 minutes. Cut into individual ribs, garnish with green onion and toasted sesame seeds, and serve.
Char Siu Pork
Char Siu Pork

Variation: Char Siu Pork

  • Pork tenderloin: You can apply this char siu recipe to pork tenderloin.
  • Use 3 tenderloins (about 1 pound each) and the same marinade and sauce (glaze) measurements.
  • Grill or bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours over 250 degrees F., or until you reach your desired target temperature. We recommend at least 150-155 degrees).
  • Sauce the meat halfway through cooking time.
  • Remove from the heat, let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice, garnish and serve.

Side Dish Recommendations:

  • Char siu is typically served with soup noodles or stir-fried noodles, steamed vegetables like bok choy, plain white rice, or fried rice.
  • Serve 2-3 ribs per person with above mentioned sides.

Want it saucier? Double the glaze recipe and apply more sauce to the ribs.

Storing leftover Char Siu Ribs:

Store your leftovers char siu ribs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Reheat in a 350 degree oven until warmed through. You can freeze these ribs for up to 1 month. Let them thaw for 6-12 hours in your refrigerator before rewarming them in the oven.

Char Siu Ribs

Char Siu Ribs

Char siu ribs are incredibly delicious! These sweet and sticky, Chinese-style ribs will quickly become one of your favorite dishes. Serve these ribs with rice and stir-fried vegetables for the perfect meal.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: char siu, Chinatown ribs, chinese BBQ ribs, pork ribs
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 5 servings
Calories: 529kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 racks baby back ribs 3 1/2 pounds
  • 1/4 cup green onion finely chopped (garnish)
  • 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (garnish)

Marinade:

  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3-4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder

Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring

Instructions

  • Remove membrane from the back of the ribs.
  • Cut the racks into individual ribs. Place into two resealable plastic bags.
  • Combine marinade ingredients and split the mixture in half. Coat each set of ribs with marinade. Move ribs around to make sure they are well coated.
  • Secure ribs in bags and place them into the refrigerator for 2-6 hours.
  • Preheat grill and prepare for a 1 1/2-2 hour indirect cook. Plan on a cooking temperature of 250 degrees F. Set a water-filled drip pan underneath where the ribs will go.
  • Remove ribs from the refrigerator and stand for 15 minutes at room temperature. Keep in the bags until ready to grill.
  • Remove ribs from marinade and place them onto the grill, bone side down. Cook for 2 hours over the indirect space (cooler).
  • Combine glaze ingredients in a medium bowl.
  • Start basting the last 30-40 minutes of cook time or once the ribs reach an internal temperate of 170 degrees F.
  • Baste several times on the meat side of the rack. Watch for burning.
  • Once ribs reach an internal temperature of 185 degrees F., and the baste has set up nicely, remove from the grill and place them onto a large clean cutting board or serving platter.
  • Garnish with green onion and toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
  • Store leftover ribs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in a 350-degree oven until warmed through.
  • *See notes for oven cooking method

Notes

Oven Method
  • Remove membrane from baby back ribs. 
  • Leave the racks of ribs intact (do not cut into separate pieces like the grilled version)
  • Combine marinade ingredients and split the mixture in half.
  • Place ribs into a large glass dish (bone side down)
  • Pour equal portions of the marinade onto each rack of ribs.
  • Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate for 2-6 hours.
  • Preheat your oven for 250 degrees. 
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment.
  • Place ribs bone side down onto the pan.
  • Bake in your oven for 1 1/2-2 hours, rotating the pan halfway through cooking time.
  • After 2 hours, increase the heat of your oven to 300 degrees.
  • Brush on the char siu glaze every 15 minutes until the ribs take on a dark red hue and register an internal temperature of 185 degrees F.
  • Remove from the oven. Let the ribs rest for 10 minutes. Cut into individual ribs, garnish with green onion and toasted sesame seeds, and serve.
 
Photos by: Sabrina Baksh/derrickriches.com

Nutrition

Calories: 529kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 157mg | Sodium: 1829mg | Potassium: 679mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 103IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 3mg
Char Siu Ribs

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