Tool Time: Slow Cooker-Broiler Char Siu (Chinese-Style Pork)

This is the most important recipe I have; it makes a ton, is only 3 steps, and is the best dang pork you’ll ever eat. Finally, a great recipe for the slow cooker.

chinese-flag-small China


LET’S TALK ABOUT tender, grilled, lacquered meat. We have all seen it, and some of us have been lucky enough to have had it in NYC Chinatown. My husband and I were walking around Chinatown heading to Momofuku Noodle Bar when I realized that they were closed until dinner service. I was pretty sad, but then we were walking around and I saw hanging mahogany-colored ducks in the window of this restaurant, Savory Kitchen (237 Grand St. #B NY, NY, 10002). My sadness faded away and turned to lust for those ducks. We, of course, got their Peking Duck and it was ridiculously amazing. A place that speaks little English with their menu almost completely in Cantonese (or Mandarin?) is going to be freaking amazing. One of my favorite episodes of Anthony Bourdain’s series is when he goes to Hong Kong in The Layover (on Netflix) and he has lacquered pig, duck and goose. He says the pig and duck were great, but it was “all about the goose,” so I will be on the lookout for an affordable goose and recipe to mimic what he had to go with this someday (haha).

In the meantime, we have THIS. This is a Cook’s Country recipe and when I made this the first time, my husband looks up and says, “This is from The Cookbook, isn’t it.” (The Cookbook is The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook, our now recipe bible.) This recipe is technically Cook’s Country, but they’re all the same people, but just different shows for some reason…? Pretty much anytime I make one of their recipes, my husband can tell, because they are so gosh-darn well done. I exhort you to buy either Cook’s Country or ATK recipe books, because they will change the way you cook! I think I say that almost every post… Anyway, the pork is slow cooked until tender, but not mushy-fall apart like almost EVERY other dang gross slow cooker recipe I have tried. This is used to enhance the recipe instead of just making it convenient. So now we have this tender pork, then we make a glaze and then throw it under the broiler to get the outside caramelized and slightly charred, and oh dang, it is SO GOOD. The glaze it also just perfect. 5 Spice is just so good. It is a spice blend typically made up of cinnamon, anise, black pepper or Sichuan peppercorns, clove and then something like ginger, cardamom or fennel. Here’s a They Draw & Cook illustration by Besty Beier of a 5 Spice recipe if you need it, and just check out this amazing recipe site anyway! I can’t get enough of these amazing recipes and artists!!


I say this is my most important or valuable recipe that I have because you could make as much as you wanted for a large crowd, has only 3ish steps, and there is no one that wouldn’t like this. EVERYONE likes savory, sweet, 5 spice-y, hoisin-y, grilled pork. Eat it with rice and veg or stick it in a steamed bun, tacos, soup, anything! Such great food for such easy steps.


You already know. Get the CC and ATK cook books! Here are more of their recipes I have done or adapted from:

And Now For Something Completely Different: Fusion | Garam Masala Cinnamon Rolls with Rosewater Icing (1.5 hrs!)

Sweet Interlude: Berry Muffins with Orange Zest and Raw Sugar Sprinkle

Sweet Interlude: America’s Test Kitchen Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Fleshes: Fruit + Meat from around the Globe | America’s Test Kitchen Chicken Piccata

And check out They Draw & Cook! I think there is an illustrated recipe for pretty much everything.

WHO YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT making great Chinese food: Bee @rasamalaysia from her blog Rasa Malaysia, the family blog The Woks of Life @thewoksoflife, Marc @norecipes from his blog No Recipes, Chungah @damn_delicious from her blog Damn Delicious, Elaine @elaineseafish of China Sichuan Food, Caroline @misspickledplum from her blog Pickled Plum, Maggie @omnivorcookbook from her blog Omnivore’s Cookbook.


Tool Time: Slow Cooker-Broiler Char Siu. Winner for Team Korea!

Tool Time: Slow Cooker-Broiler Char Siu. Winner for Team Korea!

Slow Cooker-Broiler Char Siu

Adapted from Cook’s Country TV Show, serves 4-6, hands-on time 20 mins, about 4-6 hours total, easy-level recipe.


one 5-6 lb pork butt (boneless is best), fat trimmed, cut into about 1″ slices

3/4 tsp Chinese 5 Spice

1 1/2 tsp kosher grain salt

1/2 tsp black pepper


1/3 cup hoisin sauce

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

2 TBS Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry

1 TBS sesame oil

1 TBS fresh ginger, grated with a rasp or microplane

2 cloves garlic, grated with a rasp or microplane

3/4 tsp Chinese 5 Spice

To serve (optional):

steamed white rice

stir fired zucchini, peppers, onions, or garlic broccoli, green beans, etc.

  1. For the Pork, combine the 5 Spice, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub this mixture into both sides of the pork slices. Once evenly seasoned, stack up the pork and then lay the pork stack horizontally into your slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Your pork needs to reach at least 140 degrees on a thermometer. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with foil and top with a baking rack.
  2. Mix the ingredients for the Glaze together with a whisk until homogenous. Once the pork is cooked through and tender, move a rack in your oven about 6 inches from the broiler.
  3. Turn the broiler to high. Place the pork onto the prepared lined baking rack in one layer, and brush the tops of each pork slice with glaze, using about 1/3 of the glaze. Place the glazed pork under the broiler and broil for about 5-7 minutes depending on your oven, until the edges start to char and caramelize. Remove the pork from the oven, flip each piece, and glaze each pork slice again, using another 1/3 of the glaze. Place back under the broiler, another 5-7 minutes until slightly charred and caramelized. Remove from oven, flip again, glaze each slice again with remaining glaze, and back under the broiler just another 3 minutes. Remove pork from oven and let cool about 10 minutes, then serve with steamed white rice and stir fried vegetables. Great in fried rice, pork buns, tacos, sandwiches, noodle soup, etc.

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