Char Siu Chicken
Drew Anthony Smith

Char siu (meaning “fork roast”) is typical in Chinese cuisine and normally gets its red hue from food coloring. In this rendition, beet powder, a natural alternative, lends the bright red color and adds a little sweetness. Cooking note: Allow 2 days for marinating.

Char Siu Chicken Char Siu Chicken
Chinese barbecue, or char siu usually gets it's trademark hue from red food coloring; here beet powder is used as a natural alternative.
Yield: serves 4-6
Time: 25 minutes


  • 14 cup brown sugar
  • 14 cup honey
  • 14 cup ketchup
  • 14 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. homemade or store-bought beet powder
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 12 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 (4-lb.) chicken, halved lengthwise, backbone discarded
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Mix sugar, honey, ketchup, soy sauce, beet powder, vinegar, hoisin, and Chinese five spice in a bowl. Toss marinade with chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 2 days.
  2. Build a medium-heat fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium. (Alternatively, heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium.) Remove chicken from marinade, rub with oil, and season with salt and pepper; grill skin-side down, turning once, until charred and cooked through, about 30–35 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh reads 165°. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest 15 minutes before carving.