Baked Char Siu Bao - Buns With Minced BBQ Pork

Dec 07, 2005 by kiteless | 6 Comments| Share it:   



5 ratings


  • Prep: ~30 mins.
  • Cook: ~30 mins.
  • Serves: 8

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If you know what Char Siu Bao is, you already know how delicious these hot little buns are. They can be baked or steamed, but both have soft, slightly sweet, pillowy dough wrapped around a savory and sweet filling of thick sauce and minced BBQ'd pork.

Please note that if you decide to make this, you will need several hours on multiple days to complete this. The internet is deceiving, and while none of this is terribly difficult, it IS time consuming! The pork needs many hours or days of marinating and refrigerating, and my dough took a total of 5 hours to rise. That being said, if you love bao as much as I do, these will be worth it.

Makes 16 bao with leftover pork (which is a good thing).

Make the Char Siu (BBQ'd Pork)

Your first ingredients:

About 2-2.5 lbs of pork butt/shoulder
1 1/2 TB dark soy
1 1/2 TB light soy
1 1/2 TB honey
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 TB Oyster Sauce (make sure Oysters are actually in the ingredients)
2 TB whiskey
3 1/2 TB Hoisin sauce
pinch pepper
1/2 tsp five spice powder

The rest of the ingredients can be found below, in their corresponding recipe sections.

Step 1

Line a large roasting pan with foil. Mix up all ingredients except the pork and set aside.


Step 2

Cut your pork into 1"x1" strips, trimming away excess fat. Place in the roasting pan and pour the sauce over the top. Turn to coat, and let marinate for 4 hours or up to overnight.


Step 3

When ready to cook, put your oven rack on the second closest position to the broiler and preheat the oven with the broiler for a few minutes. Broil pork for 20-30 minutes. Turn and baste at 8 minute intervals. Pork is done when the thickest section is cooked all the way through (no pink). Watch for burning sugar, and some of the edges will and should get a little crispy. If your pan turns dry (mine didn't), add a little water a few TB at a time. Looks like this when done: Let cool to room temp, and refrigerate for 4 hours or up to overnight. Now, this stuff is absolutely delicious on its own. Use in stir-fries, sandwiches, chop up and put in soba, udon or ramen soup. I will definitely make this again.


Step 4

Make the filling You'll need: 4 tsp oyster sauce 1 1/2 tsp dark soy 4 tsp ketchup 1 TB sugar pinch pepper 6 TB chicken broth 1 tsp sesame oil 1 TB peanut or vegetable oil 2/3 cup minced onions 1 cup roast pork 2 tsp Shao-Hsing wine or sherry


Step 5

Mix oyster sauce through sesame oil and set aside. Mince your onions and pork. I decided to double the recipe halfway through this step, so the next few pics will show half the amount you need.


Step 6

Get a wok or saute pan hot and put in the oil. Add onions, lower heat to low, and cook until onions start to turn brown, just a few minutes. Add pork and raise heat to medium-high, stir-frying for a few more minutes until pork is heated through, about one minute. Reduce heat to very low, add wine or sherry, and mix well, cooking for another minute or so. Add sauce ingredients and stir-fry until mixture is thick and bubbly.


Step 7

Remove from heat and put in bowl. Let cool to room temp then refrigerate for 4 hours or up to overnight (yes, again!) You can make the dough while you let this cool and rest in the fridge.


Step 8

Make the Dough! 3 tsp dry active yeast 1/2 cup plus 2 TB sugar 2/3 cup hot tap water 2 2/3 cups high gluten flour (look for flour that says best for bread machines) 1 egg, beaten 7 1/2 TB peanut or vegetable oil I have no pics of this part as I forgot, plus my hands were super messy with sticky dough, for a lot of it so I'm sorry! In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the hot water. Set aside in a warm place for 30 - 60 minutes (the colder it is inside the longer it will take). Yeast is ready when the top is foamy and light brown. When ready, add flour, egg, and oil, stirring continuously with your hand or a wooden spoon (I prefer the spoon). Stir and knead for several minutes until dough is cohesive and sticks together instead of being a gooey gloppy mess. You may need to add more flour, I think I added about 1/4 cup more a tablespoon or so at a time. When you feel you can knead it without it sticking everywhere, turn it out onto a floured work surface. Knead for 15 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Re-flour and scrape up work surface as often as necessary to prevent sticking. When ready to rise, put into a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise until about tripled in size, anywhere from 2 - 5 hours.


Step 9

After rising (you can see where I poked and lifted the dough with my fingers).


Step 10

Making the bao! You'll need 2 large cookie sheets, and 16 squares of wax paper cut into approximately 4"x4" squares. When the dough is ready, divide the dough in half, and put half on a work surface, and the rest back in the bowl with the damp cloth on top. Knead the half you have out for a few minutes. Divide into 8 equal pieces by rolling out into a log, and cutting in half, then cutting pieces in half until you have 8 equal pieces.


Step 11

Roll the pieces into balls, and put back what you're not using at the moment in the bowl under the cloth. Make a well into your dough ball, like this:


Step 12

Stretch/press to make a little bit bigger and make the edges thinner, and spoon a scant tablespoon or so of filling into the well. Hold bao in one hand, and with the other, pinch two sides shut.


Step 13

Turn the bao a 1/4 turn, and pinch the opposite two sides shut.


Step 14

Now pull the other open corners shut together. You'll be pinching a total of 4 times. Then do a final pinch, and kinda twist the whole bottom together to make sure it's sealed. Don't make your dough too thin, or the filling will bust out when you go to bake it.


Step 15

Place you bao sealed-side down on a wax paper square. Repeat for all your bao.


Step 16

Let rest in a warm spot for about an hour, or until they've risen a bit. A puffy, risen bao: When risen, lightly mist the bao with water and using a pastry brush, brush the outside with a beaten egg. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown on top. Rotate trays 180 degrees about halfway through baking to ensure even baking.


Step 17

Your patience is rewarded with a tray of golden brown, perfectly cooked bao:


Step 18

Let cool for a few minutes before ripping into! The finished product:

Now that you have learned how to make baked char siu bao - buns with minced bbq pork, please be sure to view these other pork recipes. Also, you will love these Chinese recipes.


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user does not have an avatar mariras266

Oct 05, 2007

I just moved to a small town in upstate NY and the Chinese food is terrible. I miss pork buns so I decided to find a recipe and see if I could make them myself. This recipe is the best. OMG it is so good just like from the store. If you have chance try it, It is definitely worth the time and it really wasn’t that bad at all. Tomorrow I am having some friends over for dinner and this is one of my appetizers I am also trying the sesame chicken recipe. After this I have full confidence it will be great. 

user does not have an avatar arno

Aug 13, 2009

I live in Johannesburg, South Africa,and I recently went to our local Chinese restaurant for Yum Cha,they had these Bake Char sieu buns, that were to die for. the buns were made to a perfect round shape and the inside was almost hollow with a few pieces of pork, does anyone know how to do this, to make the inside hollow??

user does not have an avatar Poobah

Sep 22, 2009

I just made these. Wow! They are terrific. I am now being pressured to make many more! smile

user does not have an avatar gumpsht

Mar 17, 2010

An added bonus:  After final rising, just before baking, spritz with sugar-water.  It’s delightful!  (add sugar to your water and disolve it completely before using….  just don’t use it super hot… wait until room temperature!).  You’re making me Wish!!  Guess what I’m making this weekend!!!  I’ll double the recipe so I can freeze them and have them when I want!

user does not have an avatar Josh

May 21, 2010

I grew up on BBQ pork buns from downtown Oakland. I live in Fresno, when I go back to the bay area every few months I get a dozen pork buns to take home and freeze. I can’t wait to make these and see if i can come close to the taste of goodness that I love.  I’ll let you know how they come out. Has anyone tried to use beef in there pork buns or shredded BBQ pork? Any variations out there?

user does not have an avatar Dunekil

Feb 28, 2013

I make these once in a while they became my trademark as a cook in my friends circle, they always ask every couple of months when I`m making them cause they are to die for.
I added something of my own: use 2 eggs or 1 depending on how much you make, with 1 TB of honey. mix them and then add them on the bread in the oven it give the buns an extra nice look and tastes heavenly smile

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