Why is BBQ Pork Red – Grilling tips!

  • By: Peter Allen
  • Date: 07/07/2021
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Pork BBQ is one of the most common and delicious meals in most hotels, and probably the redness is what makes pork BBQ serving more sweet and delicious.

So, why is pork BBQ red? Commonly known as char siu, red pork BBQ is made by marinating pork in a blend of red spices. The pork is then skewered along its strips and cooked over an open fire. In essence, it is the spices and pastes applied that make the pork BBQ red.

If you crave to have this finger-licking food, just identify the nearest restaurant that excels at it or plan a tour to China. Of course, you can also prepare char siu from home and have a taste of China.

How to prepare red pork BBQ sauce

While most restaurants use red food coloring to give pork BBQ the red color, some marinate using fermented red bean curd. To make your sauce, you can choose between a range of pastes and spices or even blend some. Some of the ingredients you can bring together to make a great BBQ sauce include Chinese five-spice powder, oyster sauce, honey, hoisin sauce, and ketchup. To prepare the marinade paste, you add specific amounts of each species to a can and whisk until everything gets thoroughly combined.

The soy fermented in hoisin and the five-spice powder(Sichuan peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, fennel, and anise) kicks up the taste to something heavenly, resulting in sauce having a unique Asian flavor. With ideal proportions, you will get a BBQ sauce that is sweet and salty to give the pork desired taste and red hue.

If you crave a distinctive classic red hue, you can add food coloring. All the same, adding a lot of food coloring can give your pork some mutant look, unnaturally bright red meat. That said, you will be better with sauce san food coloring. It gives your pork barbecue a more natural and earthy red color that you will find appealing to the eyes. The ultimate paste not only changes the appearance of the pork but will also enhance the taste of this favorite dish.

With your perfectly prepared BBQ sauce, you can now marinade pork loin, ribs, belly, or any other pork piece you want to give the red hue plus a deep Asian flavor. BBQ sauce can also be spread or used for dipping, and the results will still be amazing.

Preparing red pork BBQ

Now that you know how to prepare the marinade sauce, you need a guide on preparing the whole red pork barbecue. For example, if you are preparing a pork BBQ for four people, here are the ingredients you may need;

  • 2 pieces of pork
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1/2 cup of hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup of tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1tablespoon of 5-spice powder
  • 2 tablespoons red food color( Optional)
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup of extra honey
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

If you collect all these ingredients, I bet you are good to go. Follow the following steps to prepare your lovely meal.

Choose the proper cut off meat according to your preference

Depending on preference, you can opt for something lean or juicy fatty or something in between. If you crave lean pork BBQ, pork loin will exactly offer what you want. Pork belly is a perfect option for people looking to prepare something juicy and fatty. If you are fond of something in between, not too greasy and not too lean, you will be better with pork shoulders. The ultimate choice depends on what you expect at the end of the entire process. All the meat types will give extraordinary results as long as you follow the steps correctly.

Cut your meat into long strips

When preparing red pork BBQ, you want to do anything that will minimize the time taken to achieve desired results. For this reason, it is a good idea to slice your pork into more petite strips that will roast faster than roasting the super big piece. Slicing the pork also avails more surface to be marinated. Overall, slicing saves time by cutting down roasting time, which in turn saves fuel and energy.

Marinade your pork

Pork BBQ experts recommend marinating for at least 24 hours, but not more than that. Although 24 hours seem to be a lot of time, it allows the paste to soak uniformly in the flesh. You don’t need to wait that long if you are in a hurry or are doing it for a large group. Thankfully, there are marinating methods that can give excellent results within a short time. For instance, you can use a plastic bag. It ensures that your pork marinades more evenly and within a short period. All you need to do is put the paste in a plastic bag, insert it in the piece of meat, zip up the bag, and let it marinate for a few hours. You can refrigerate the meat while it marinades.

Let the meat come to room temperatures

About thirty minutes before cooking your pork, remove it from the fridge, and keep it on the counter for that half an hour. This will ensure that the pork cooks more evenly because it will have cooled to the standard room temperatures. Remember to preheat the oven before you start preparing your BBQ.

Set the pork on top of the rack

If you are cooking using an oven, it is good to set the pork on a rack. This helps to evenly cook your meat while letting the fat drop to the bottom of the pan. If you have a high-quality thermometer, roast until it reads 145 degrees Fahrenheit or you can just roast for about 25-30 minutes. Halfway through cooking, baste the pork with your pre-prepared juice and allow it to roast for 2-3 minutes. Next, flip to the other side, baste, and repeat the procedure until the pork is thoroughly and perfectly cooked. Once the meat is cooked, turn off the oven and turn your broiler to low temperatures to caramelize the outside. Remove the meat from the oven when you achieve satisfying results.

Let the meat rest before you slice

Putting a knife on your immediately roasted pork risks losing all the sweet juices. This definitely means you should never cut pork BBQ immediately after marinating. Instead of cutting, tend the meat loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. This will ensure you get a slice of moist and tender meat.

Pan-roasted method

If you want to use direct heat with a frying pan, you will start with the obvious first four steps, and then you now bring onboard your pan.

  1. Preheat the pan and then add cooking oil. You will then place the pork strips on the pan and let them sear for about three minutes on each side.
  2. Add one tablespoon of cooking wine over the meat. Cover with a lid and let it cook until the wine reduces. Remove the lid and flip the pork strips to the other side and pour another tablespoon of cooking wine and cook until the wine thickens again. Uncover the top and remove smaller pieces that have adequately cooked.
  3. Pour about 1/2 cup of water into the pan and cover the pork with a lid and let it continue to cook until a thermometer inserted reads 145 degrees Fahrenheit or until all the meat is cooked.
  4. Remove pork from the pan and continue to reduce the liquid left on the pan. You can now add the strip port strips into the pan to make sure the sauce coats the pork uniformly. Remove from the pan and let it cool.


Honestly, no one wants to look like a beginner when eating barbecue. If you are in your favorite grill joint for BBQ tasting, you might want to experience the succulent red pork, which should, as always, be served with slices of white bread. To look like a pro and opt to return, make sure to use the white bread to soak the flavorsome sauces after eating the main meal.