For those of you who haven’t tried our char siu recipe, or who aren’t familiar with char siu at all, char siu is a type of Chinese BBQ pork, part of a pantheon of Cantonese roast meats that also includes things like Siu Yuk, or crispy roast pork belly.

The marinade for these oven baked ribs is almost exactly the same as the marinade for our char siu recipe.

The cooking process is also very similar. For char siu, which is made with boneless pork shoulder, the meat is roasted in the oven for 50 minutes. Because the ribs are on the bone, they take slightly longer to cook––1 hour.

But the resulting flavor is the same, that delicious sweet, salty, flavor in a juicy, tender rib that (in my opinion) tastes orders of magnitude better than any BBQ sauce. 


This recipe uses some Chinese ingredients, including five spice powder, sesame oil, Shaoxing rice wine, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce.

Luckily, in the grand scheme of difficult-to-find Chinese ingredients, these aren’t that difficult to find!

We have seen five spice, sesame oil, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce at many regular grocery stores, so you may not even have to venture into an Asian market.

The one ingredient you may have difficulty locating is the Shaoxing rice wine. Grocery stores rarely carry it, but you can easily substitute a dry sherry cooking wine or mirin (a Japanese rice wine that is more commonly stocked in some Western grocery stores.)

Ok, now that we’ve settled that, let’s move on to the recipe!


Rinse the ribs and thoroughly pat them dry with paper towels. Mix the rest of the ingredients (the sugar, salt, five spice powder, white pepper, sesame oil, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, molasses, food coloring—if using, and garlic) in a bowl to make the marinade.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and put the ribs on a rack resting on a baking sheet (our super high tech rack was pulled out of our toaster oven. #professionals).

Pour 1 cup water into the pan, and transfer to the oven.

Roast for 30 minutes.

Remove the ribs from the oven and baste with the marinade. Return to the oven and roast for another 30 minutes.

You’ll see that the sugars in the marinade create the signature crust and perfectly, slightly charred appearance that char siu roast pork is known for:

Allow the ribs to rest for 5 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, so they don’t just immediately run out all over the cutting board when you slice them.

Carefully slice the ribs up.

And serve!

These are a great pot luck addition, or as the centerpiece of a big party or gathering. They’re also good as a main course even on a weeknight, if they’ve been prepared the night before.

Just serve them with a sautéed green vegetable like bok choy or garlicky broccoli, and maybe even some rice on the side. ;)

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