Chinese roast pork (siew yuk)

Chinese Roast Pork

Whenever I go to Chinatown to pick something up, I almost always have to stop at a place to pick up some crisp skinned roast pork. This is often confused with the more well known bbq pork (char siew), which has the telltale red exterior from the sweet bbq glaze.

Both are good, but when faced with a choice, my vote goes to the simple roast pork if for no other reason than the crispy cracklin’ skin. Because it’s roasted at a low temperature for hours, the meat is basted with the rendered fat and the tougher connective tissue breaks down into soft gelatin making the meat even more moist.

Siu Yuk Chinese Roast Pork
I picked up a picnic roast which was surrounded by a layer of skin and fat which made it perfectly suited for this, but other cuts such as skin-on pork belly should work as well. Please don’t try this with a lean cut such as a loin as you’ll end up with pork jerky. The cooking time may seem long, but there aren’t many ingredients and once you’ve put it in the oven after breakfast, you can forget about it till dinner time.

1 skin-on pork shoulder or picnic roast

3 cloves grated garlic
equal amount grated ginger
1/4 tsp finely ground white pepper
2 tsp chinese 5 spice powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp oil

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.

Wash and dry your roast thoroughly. Score the skin about 1″ apart.

Mash all the other ingredients together to make a paste. Smear the paste all over the roast working it into the skin and meat. Put the roast in a pan that will let the fat drain through (a wire rack over a baking sheet will do in a pinch), and stick it in the over for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, the skin should just be turning brown (if it’s getting too dark, turn down the heat sooner). Reduce the heat to 250 degrees F and let it roast for about 8 hours (for a 2-3 lbs roast). You’ll know it’s ready when most of the fat has rendered out and the meat has started pulling away from the bone.

When it’s ready, take it out of the oven, transfer it to a different pan (you could do it in the same pan, but the fat that’s collected in this pan will smoke and set your smoke alarms off). Put it back into a 450 degree F oven to crisp the skin for 15-20 minutes. The skin should be puffed up, crisp and golden brown.

Take it out of the oven and let it rest of a bit. You’ll probably want to take the skin off and break it up by hand, slicing the slabs of tender pork seperately. I make a dipping sauce out of scallions, ginger, garlic, sesame oil and salt to dip the meat in and have it over rice. One other thing… the skin doesn’t stay crisp in the fridge, so enjoy it all the night you make it.

  • http://www.teczcape.blogspot.com/ tigerfish

    I love siew yuk! Esp the crispy cracklin’ skin, so best consumed before the siew yuk lose its crisp charm :)

    You have such a nice blog and love your presentation.

  • http://www.teczcape.blogspot.com tigerfish

    I love siew yuk! Esp the crispy cracklin’ skin, so best consumed before the siew yuk lose its crisp charm :)

    You have such a nice blog and love your presentation.

  • http://www.souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    What a wonderful roast pork recipe. The flavours sound absolutely delicious. Ad that dipping sauce…mmmm.

  • http://www.souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    What a wonderful roast pork recipe. The flavours sound absolutely delicious. Ad that dipping sauce…mmmm.

  • http://ellesnewenglandkitchen.blogspot.com/ Elle

    That looks like a little hunk of heaven. I think I’d like some right now, for breakfast. Bookmarking!

  • http://ellesnewenglandkitchen.blogspot.com/ Elle

    That looks like a little hunk of heaven. I think I’d like some right now, for breakfast. Bookmarking!

  • http://gkbloodsugar.wordpress.com/ Graeme

    Amazing – Just great; And I agree with Peter, that sauce looks like the perfect accompaniment.

  • http://gkbloodsugar.wordpress.com/ Graeme

    Amazing – Just great; And I agree with Peter, that sauce looks like the perfect accompaniment.

  • http://kitchenmusings.typepad.com/ veron

    What a gorgeous blog you have here. I love your pictures, I have a hard time making savory food look good! I have not had siew nguk in a long time. My dad use to make it . I really really love it. You can bet that this recipe is going to be high on my must-try list!

  • http://kitchenmusings.typepad.com veron

    What a gorgeous blog you have here. I love your pictures, I have a hard time making savory food look good! I have not had siew nguk in a long time. My dad use to make it . I really really love it. You can bet that this recipe is going to be high on my must-try list!

  • http://whiteonricecouple.com/ White On Rice Couple

    My family fights over the skin and too bad there isn’t enough to go around! Gosh, this looks great and you’re right about not refrigerating the skin…eat it ASAP! :)

  • http://whiteonricecouple.com White On Rice Couple

    My family fights over the skin and too bad there isn’t enough to go around! Gosh, this looks great and you’re right about not refrigerating the skin…eat it ASAP! :)

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    That roast pork looks really good. Nice and crispy on the outside and yet still moist and tender on the inside.

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    That roast pork looks really good. Nice and crispy on the outside and yet still moist and tender on the inside.

  • Pingback: Roast pork with walnut pesto on pasta at [ No Recipes ]

  • Marc

    Thanks Tigerfish, Peter, Graeme, Veron and Kevin.

    Elle, this might be tasty with a poached egg, some ranchero sauce and fresh tortilla’s. Huevo’s Rancheros Con Carnitas Chino!

    White On Rice Couple, I know what you mean. This one actually worked out well because there was so much skin for the amount of meat. I think I might try this with a slab of pork belly next time which also has a ton of skin for the amount of meat.

  • Marc

    Thanks Tigerfish, Peter, Graeme, Veron and Kevin.

    Elle, this might be tasty with a poached egg, some ranchero sauce and fresh tortilla’s. Huevo’s Rancheros Con Carnitas Chino!

    White On Rice Couple, I know what you mean. This one actually worked out well because there was so much skin for the amount of meat. I think I might try this with a slab of pork belly next time which also has a ton of skin for the amount of meat.

  • http://www.foodonthefood.com/ Tammy

    God, your photographs are stunning. You make meat look as good as it tastes. So glad to meet you.

  • http://www.foodonthefood.com Tammy

    God, your photographs are stunning. You make meat look as good as it tastes. So glad to meet you.

  • http://stickygooeycreamychewy.blogspot.com Susan at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy

    There’s an Asian market near me that makes this every Friday. I love it! Now, I can make it myself. Thanks!

  • http://stickygooeycreamychewy.blogspot.com/ Susan at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy

    There’s an Asian market near me that makes this every Friday. I love it! Now, I can make it myself. Thanks!

  • http://www.tartelette.blogspot.com/ Tartelette

    This little Frenchie knows how to make char-siew (who would have thought?!!) but now I can try my hand at siew-yuk!! Anything that involves pork and skin makes me happy :)

  • http://www.tartelette.blogspot.com Tartelette

    This little Frenchie knows how to make char-siew (who would have thought?!!) but now I can try my hand at siew-yuk!! Anything that involves pork and skin makes me happy :)

  • Reggie

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. I love the website. I discovered your site after reading an article posted on CNN.com. I love to cook and I am ready to try my hand at a new level of cooking. I will surely follow your blog for any new updates and postings. I have a question about this recipe. If I wish to use a slow cooker how will this affect the cooking time and taste of the meat?

    • marc

      Hi Reggie, thanks and welcome:-) You could use a slow cooker, and I’m sure it would be tasty, but it will be a different dish. The key feature of siew yuk is its crisp skin, which you wouldn’t get in a slow cooker.

  • Reggie

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. I love the website. I discovered your site after reading an article posted on CNN.com. I love to cook and I am ready to try my hand at a new level of cooking. I will surely follow your blog for any new updates and postings. I have a question about this recipe. If I wish to use a slow cooker how will this affect the cooking time and taste of the meat?

    • marc

      Hi Reggie, thanks and welcome:-) You could use a slow cooker, and I’m sure it would be tasty, but it will be a different dish. The key feature of siew yuk is its crisp skin, which you wouldn’t get in a slow cooker.

  • amar

    but there other more stuff accept this kind

  • amar

    which one perfect

  • James

    Made this the other day, its amazing how the skin puffs up so quickly in those last few minutes. So tasty!

  • http://www.parnas.eu/stegt_flaesk_koebenhavn.php Chelsea

    Actually, I haven’t tasted it but since I have read this blog, I think it so easy to prepare this kind of food and also it looks so yummy. I really wanna try it.

  • Leemcbrec

    Yum that sounds good! Saw you on Chopped–they chopped the wrong guy! (I felt it was likely because you didn’t have their required ‘culinary background’–folks can be a little snobbish about stuff like that!) Very impressed with your site and look forward to trying your recipes!

  • chris sutton

    Can you tell me exactly how you make the dipping sauce? Thanks.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Mince some ginger, garlic, and scallions. Pour sesame oil over them, and add a pinch of salt (to taste).

  • jenn

    Hi Marc, I love your website–every recipe I’ve tried has been delicious…If I wanted to roast an 8 pound picnic roast, how long do you think I should leave it in the oven? Also, if I smeared the 5-spice paste over the roast two or three days in advance, do you think the salt would concentrate the flavors? Thanks!

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Jenn, great idea! You’ll need to make extra spice paste for the size (and because if you let it sit, liquid will come out of the roast diluting the paste. Score the skin, rub it in, then wrap the whole thing tightly in plastic wrap, then place it in a bowl or tray before putting it in the fridge. As for roasting times, it’s going to take a while for a roast that size. To be honest I’ve never done one that large so I’m not sure how long it will take, but I’d give yourself 12-15 hours.

      • jenn

        Thanks so much, Marc!

  • Ray Gazley

    Another great recipe. Made this last night with a free range piggy shoulder, and was a bit scared to leave it in the hot oven at the end (was thinking it would dry out the meat). Thus, didn’t get the whole thing crispy, but the bits that did go were delish. Meat was never in any danger of going tough/dry… what was I thinking…?will know for next time. Thanks Marc x

  • Jenn

    Hi Marc. I’ve made this recipe twice in the past five months and the pork is always succulent and crispy. I’m considering making this again using your cooking method but changing the spice mixture: fennel seeds, star anise, coriander, black pepper, bay leaf, cumin, juniper, thyme. I was thinking about creating a brine with the spices and leaving the picnic roast to to brine in the refrigerator for about 24 hours first…If I do brine the pork, do you think I should also create some sort of rub with the same spices, some oil and garlic to rub all over the pork before I roast it (to create a crust)? Or is this unnecessary? Thanks so much, Marc. I rely on your site weekly for dinner inspiration.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      You can try it, but I don’t think a brine will work well because you’re introducing more moisture into the skin (which might prevent it from keeping crispy). Your blend of herbs and spices sounds great though so you may want to try integrating them into the rub and leaving it on the surface of the pork for a day or two in the fridge. I hope that helps.

      • Jenn

        Very helpful. I’m glad I consulted you before experimenting. Thank you!

  • dedy oktavianus

    i can barely hear the cracking skin when i eat that lusciuos delicious siew nyuk……
    even i’m not a chinese descent, i just ovin it, never made with shoulder but only the belly….
    btw, do you think this recipe suits for a junvenile wild boar????

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Dedy, I’ve never done this with boar, but typically boar is much more lean than pork. Given the long cooking time, if you don’t have the fat the meat might get dried out.

  • JvC

    Hi Marc. I bought a pork shoulder not really knowing how to cook it and following the success of your Masoor Dal I searched for a pork recipe on your website and came across siew yuk. Finger licking good! Although I found the dipping sauce too oily with the only liquid coming from the sesame oil. Maybe I’ll add some ketjap manis next time as the pork is already salty enough, so made some apple sauce as well. Keen to try more of your recipes now! John

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Glad to hear you enjoyed the pork! You could try making the same sauce with vinegar instead of the sesame oil for a lighter version, but I love the idea of serving it with apple sauce (maybe with some 5 spice instead of cinnamon?).

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I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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