What’s better than a simple bowl of rice and char siu?
Chinese barbecue is a strange and wonderful thing. Like bread ovens in the European community, its origins date back to ancient times, when Chinese villages could only house a single central oven capable of slow roasting meats. There would be a grill master, and whole pork carcasses, ducks, and even sweet and smoky char siu would hang in his window.
Making char siu at home is not difficult, and there are many recipes online, but most of these recipes are baked. However, in my opinion, an air fryer is a million times better. It heats up faster; air circulation gives you better shade; and the inside is perfectly cooked in a tenth of the time.
How to make a char siu air fryer
- Cube the pork. Since we do this in a deep fryer, the surface is your friend. Plus, more arctic char equals more flavor.
- Make the marinade. Only 5 ingredients, plus a few optional ones.
- Sailor overnight. You can go as short as 30 minutes, but longer is better.
- air fry to perfection: 8 minutes at 375° that’s what I did.
- Enjoy over fluffy white rice with some fresh vegetables, or use it in a recipe of your choice (below).
Is it better than cooked?
This recipe is based on our standard char siu recipe, but replaces the oven with a deep fryer, and honestly, I’ll probably never go back to a conventional oven again, unless I somehow need another one from a giant batch. Hey, it could happen.
I also replaced the standard pork shoulder with a well-marbled 1.5” thick pork chop. It was much easier to find in the store than a pork shoulder. Plus, it’s juicy, sweet and delicious, just like Chinese barbecue should be. Like Steph with her baking, sometimes a small batch is the way to go, although delicious, you may want to save the marinade and make an easy second or third batch. It will go fast.
What to do with the siu tank
Char Siu Air Fryer Recipe
To serve 1
- 1 kg thick cut pork chop
- 2 Soup Estimated
- 2 Soup hoisin sauce
- 1 Soup soy sauce
- 2 cloves Afflict broken
- 1 thumb Ginger sliced
- 2 coffee spoon du vin shaoxing Optional
- 1/2 coffee spoon Chinese five spice powder Optional
- 1/4 coffee spoon ground white pepper Optional
Note: If you prefer your pork well done, set it to 10 minutes.
Feel free to store the marinade in the fridge to reuse within 24 hours, or boil for 1-2 minutes to use as a sauce or glaze for extra-rich char siu.