Char siu is a roast meat dish in Cantonese cuisine, and is also referred to as ‘cha shao’ in Mandarin. Char siu is achieved by marinating pork in a sweet BBQ sauce before being roasted.
As time has gone on, the flavor of char siu has become significantly sweeter, and some restaurants who offer char siu now opt to make it more sweet than spicy.
A high-quality char siu recipe needs to have a depth of flavor. In other words, a good contrast between sweet and salty with a touch of spice that enhances the pork and lets it stand out amongst sides like blanched choy sum, or a bed of steamed rice.
All that being said, we have 6 of the best char siu pork chop recipes for you to sink your teeth into, as well as some advice on how to get perfectly tender pork chops.
To achieve its signature red hue, char siu is marinated overnight in a savory and sweet sauce that also packs it with flavor.
This recipe calls for tender pork cutlets and is served with fresh veggies for a filling, healthy family meal.
While the marinating process for this recipe isn’t exactly fun, it creates such an amazing flavor that makes it worth it! Trust us, you don’t want to skip this process or look for shortcuts.
However, you can use a shortcut with the Char Siu sauce, as the bottled stuff just tastes so good! And if it’s not broke, why fix it?
Aromatic, savory, smoky, and a tad sweet, this classic Cantonese Char Siu recipe is one tasty way to roast some pork chops(see also: Best 12 Thin Pork Chop Recipes That Will Make Your Mouth Water)! You can enjoy the char siu on its own, with other Chinese dishes, or with some char siu bao, noodles, or rice.
This char siu recipe couldn’t be simpler, especially because it’s made in an air fryer! Not only is the cooking time cut down, but the air circulation achieves a better char, and you can be confident the inside will be perfectly cooked.
This char siu recipe is irresistibly sticky, with a salty, sweet flavor, and it can be served as an appetizer or as a main course with white rice.
It’s also incredibly easy to make, but you need to soak the pork in the marinade for a day or two to achieve the best flavor. Broiling in the oven makes sure the pork is caramelized and crispy on the outside, and juicy and tender on the inside.
How To Get The Most Tender Pork Chops
Choose Thick-Cut Bone-In Pork Chops
While thin-cut pork chops are ideal for tonkatsu or schnitzel (or any recipe that calls for frying and breading), they are unlikely to properly sear in time if you’re looking to get tender pork chops.
When you’re pan-searing a pork chop, go for a chop that is one-inch-thick at a minimum, but no more than two inches. We recommend center-cut rib chops.
But should you go boneless or bone-in? Well, you don’t really save much time cooking a boneless chop, especially when you take the flavor of bone-in chops into account, and it’s a lot harder to overcook a bone-in chop.
Plus, you can put those bones aside to make pork stock, which is a great alternative to beef stock and chicken stock.
Ditch The Brine, But Be Generous With The Seasoning
Not only do you not need to brine pork chops to tenderize them, it can make the meat overly watery which won’t do the texture any favors.
Rather, you should put your chops on a cutting board, get a large pinch of kosher salt, lift your hand about 12 inches above the meat and sprinkle the salt over the pork.
Do the same with ground pepper, and rotate the meat so all sides are covered (the bone and fat cap included).
Raising your hand high above the meat isn’t just for dramatic flair, it helps make sure the seasonings are evenly distributed.
Allow The Pork Chops To Rest
Let the seasoned meat rest at room temperature for a minimum of 30 minutes, and a maximum of 2 hours to allow the seasoning time to soak into the meat, and to also let the meat reach room temperature, which makes sure the chops will cook evenly.
Once the time is up, use a paper towel to blot the chops on both sides to get rid of any excessive moisture.
Sear The Pork Chops Over Medium-High Heat
Heat a skillet over a medium-high burner. We recommend cast-iron, but stainless steel is also suitable too, and we also recommend beginning by searing the fat cap, although some recipes advise doing this at the end.
Whatever you decide to do, ensure there is enough pork fat or oil in your pan to coat the surface. When the pat begins to shine and potentially produce wisps of smoke, put the chops in the pan in a single layer.
Let the chops sear for 1 minute before flipping them over and searing the other side. Once another minute has gone by, flip the chops back to the original side and repeat this process for about 10 minutes until your thermometer reaches 135 °F when placed in the middle of the chop.
Taking the temperature from the side of the chop gives you the most accurate temperature reading. The temperature of the pork will increase to 145 ºF while basting and resting.
So why do you need to rotate the pork? Well, if you let the pork chop totally sear on one side before focusing on the other, the edges will begin to curl up. Rotating the chop makes sure they stay flat so every side is meeting the pan, and the chop is cooking evenly.
Baste Your Chops
Take the pan off the heat and toss in some unsalted butter, as well as some flavorful spices and herbs such as bay leaves, dried chiles, rosemary, or thyme. The melting butter will absorb the fragrance and flavor of the herbs.
Tilt the skillet towards you to allow the melting butter to gather at one end. Spoon the melting butter over the chops, continue basting until the butter ceases foaming and then place the chops on a clean cutting board.
Allow Let The Pork Chops To Rest Again
While you leave the pork chops to rest, their temperature will keep rising as the juices permeate the chops. You can cover it in foil, but don’t touch the chops for a minimum of five minutes.
You could even use this time as an opportunity to make a simple pan sauce!
We hope our article has provided you with some mouth-watering, sticky char siu pork chop recipes that will spice up your next BBQ!
Pork chops are a really flavorful cut of meat, especially when they’re tender and fall off the bone, and char siu is a great way to infuse some Chinese flavor into melting pork chops.
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