Cantonese Sweet and Sticky BBQ Pork Chops with Apple and Arugula Salad

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 35 min (includes resting time)
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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1/2 cup (120 ml) soy sauce

1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (90 ml) hoisin sauce

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (90 ml) ketchup

1/3 cup (80 ml) oyster sauce

2 tablespoons (30 ml)sherry

1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger

1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

2 to 4 drops red food coloring, optional (see Cook's Note)

2 pounds (900 grams) pork chops (each at least 1-inch thick)

4 tablespoons (60 ml) honey

Vegetable oil, for greasing

Apple and Arugula Salad, recipe follows, for serving


2 sweet-tart small apples, such as Honeycrisp

7 ounces arugula, preferably organic

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons dried cranberries


3 tablespoons (45 ml) fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)

3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup

Pinch each of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Special equipment:
an instant-read or probe thermometer
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, hoisin, ketchup, oyster sauce, sherry, ginger, five-spice powder, and food coloring, if using. Set the marinade aside.
  2. Place the pork chops in a shallow baking dish. Pour the marinade over the pork. Let the pork marinate while you prepare the salad or up to overnight in the refrigerator. (The longer it marinates, the better the flavor.)
  3. Transfer the pork marinade to a small saucepan. Stir in the honey until completely combined. Bring to a boil and reserve this sauce for serving.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat a grill or grill pan over high heat until hot, 5 to 8 minutes.
  5. Wipe excess marinade from the pork chops. Grease the grill or grill pan with vegetable oil right before adding the chops. Grill the chops until golden brown with some grill marks on the bottom, 5 to 8 minutes. Flip the chops over and cook until the internal temperature reaches about 145 degrees F, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let rest for at least 8 minutes. Smother the chops with some of the reserved sauce, slice into 1/2-inch wide pieces then drizzle with some more of the sauce. Serve with the apple and arugula salad.


  1. For the salad: Peel, quarter, core and thinly slice the apples. Combine with the remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. For the dressing: Combine all of the ingredients in a mason jar and shake vigorously. Taste and adjust the seasonings, as needed.
  3. Toss the salad with the dressing and serve immediately.

Cook’s Note

Red food coloring will make your chops look like gorgeous Chinese barbecue. The flavor will be great without it but that's how the restaurants do it.

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