This may be one of your Chinese take-out staples, but it’s also the perfect dish to throw on the grill this summer. The sweet chicken is laced with rice wine, soy sauce and Sriracha for a punch of flavor that pairs perfectly with the smokiness from the grill.
Traditionally red in color from the addition of food coloring, we are inspired by Chris Shepherd, who uses dehydrated beet powder to color the chicken naturally. We purée whole raw beets with hoisin sauce and brown sugar for a sweet Asian marinade that’s not only flavorful but also adds the vibrant color of traditional char siu.
Grilled Char Siu Chicken
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus overnight marinating
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes, plus overnight marinating
⅓ cup ketchup
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup honey
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Sriracha
2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 small (6-ounce) red beet, peeled and roughly chopped
One 3½-to-4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. In a blender, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, Sriracha, rice wine, hoisin sauce, five-spice powder, sesame oil and chopped beet. Purée until smooth. Transfer to a sealable plastic bag, add the chicken and shake to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
2. The next day, light a grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade, wiping off any excess sauce and place the chicken in a medium bowl. Toss with the vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning as needed, until charred and reading 165º on a meat thermometer, 16 minutes.
3. Transfer to a platter and let rest 5 minutes, then serve.