Blog-ola and Team Favorite Recipe: Char Siu

February 22, 2017

I have decided to blog more frequently. I’ve loosened up on my self-imposed pressure of having to post something genius, or nothing at all.

Life has changed rather dramatically for me. I’ve let go of my regular Personal Chef career of ten years. I am now a full-time chef for a small tech firm, cooking a buffet lunch for sixteen, Monday through Friday. A regular paycheck. Who knew. Been going at it since the beginning of December and as of March 1 will be an actual employee rather than a FT contractor. I love this gig. Folks are kind, they like my cooking and did I mention the steady paycheck? And benefits?

Therefore, less time chasing customers (omg) means more time for blogging. Aren’t you lucky. Seriously, my aim is to consistently provide something interesting, hopefully entertaining and useful. As a result, if I’m lucky, my blog will turn into one of YOUR favorite things.

A Favorite (you’ll like this)

As Resident Chef, cooking for a small crowd five days a week, I am able to hone my craft. Most of the recipes I try are new, therefore I have to trust my instincts that they will fly, especially since I lean heavily in the direction of paleo-friendly (mostly grain-free).

Throughout the week, some recipes hit a home run. I’d love to share these “team favorites” with you. Here’s one from last week. The marinade is versatile. It’s like a classic Asian 5-spice flavor profile that can be applied to almost any protein. It’ll seem complicated at first, but after doing it two or three times, it gets way easier. It’s also “wetter” than the usual finish, but I like the extra sauce.

NOTE: I don’t have a grill at work yet, so this is all done in the oven.

Technically it’s from a recipe for Char Siu, which is Chinese BBQ Pork. Traditional Char Siu is marinated in a combination of honey, soy sauce and hoisin sauce – and 5-spice powder. I’ve adapted a few things, as you will see, including using whole ingredients rather then buying the powder.

Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)


2 pounds pork butt or shoulder (preferably organic, pasture-raised pork)
1/4 cup coconut aminos (in place of soy sauce)
1/4 cup local honey
1 tablespoon sesame oil (the “hot” sesame oil tastes great!)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground star anise (I’ve used regular ground anise, too)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon fish sauce


1. Preheat your oven to 325F.

2. If your cut of pork shoulder or pork butt is too large, divide it into two equal sized pieces and place in a shallow baking dish.

3. In a mixing bowl, add all the other ingredients and stir until uniform in consistency.

4. Pour about ¾ of the marinade over your pork and let your pork marinate, covered, for at least two hours. (You’ll be reserving ¼ of your marinade for basting later).

5. Place the marinated pieces of pork on a broiling pan and roast for 30 minutes. While the pork is cooking, put the reserved marinade in a small saucepan and cook on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, until the marinade is reduced to a thick sauce.

6. At the end of  30 minutes of roasting, remove the pork from the oven and pour about half of the thickened marinade over the pork and spread and baste the sauce with a basting brush. Broil the pork for about 5 minutes.

7. After 5 minutes of broiling, flip the pork oven and baste the other side of the cuts of pork with the remainder of the sauce. Broil the pork until it is slightly charred. Internal temp should be 130-140, depending on if slightly pink is ok with you.

8. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Slice and serve with your favorite stir-fried Chinese greens and rice.

NOTE: This is really delicious on a roast of well-marbled lamb shoulder, as well. Lamb is one of my very favorite things to eat.

What’s next

Cooking class
Click here.
Theme: Paleo 3 – Middle Eastern (Chef Ottolenghi)
(Paleo 1: Italian  and Paleo 2: French BOTH sold out!)
Saturday, April 8
6pm – 10pm

Culinary Adventure
Take a look: click here (sound on)

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One Response to “Blog-ola and Team Favorite Recipe: Char Siu”

  1. Kate Fitzsimmons February 28, 2017 at 5:26 am #

    We REALLY miss you at our Thursday morning BNI – but are very happy your skills are appreciated in your new gig! I can’t wait to try this recipe. Keep cook’n.

    xoxo Kate