Cantonese Barbecue Sauce

This barbecue sauce is truly all-purpose: ribs, pork, chicken all taste great with it!

This concoction uses considerably more processed ingredients than most of my other recipes, but even these can be part of a healthy lifestyle if used in moderation and on rare occasions – like that perfect late-summer barbecue. They can all be easily found in the Asian section of a conventional market.

The amount will work for approximately 2 lbs of meat. Because the sauce contains honey, you need to be very careful when grilling – it will burn easily, so after you sear on the initial grill marks, move the meat to an area of the grill with low heat to finish cooking.


  • 2 T light soy sauce
  • 2 T dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 c honey or light molasses
  • 2 T oyster sauce
  • 2 T Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 2 T hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp five-spice powder (optional) or anise seed


  1. Combine all the ingredients.
  2. Rinse and pat dry the meat you intend to barbecue, then rub all over with the sauce.
  3. Refrigerate the meat in the sauce at least 3 h or overnight, turning once or twice.
  4. Remove the meat from the marinade and grill to desired doneness – don’t forget the sauce will burn easily, so turn down the heat or move to a cooler section after the initial sear.
  5. While the meat grills, bring the sauce to a simmer on the stove and simmer on low for 4-5 m. It will now be safe to use this sauce either to give the meat a final coat when it’s cooked or to serve on the side as a dip. If you have any left over, you can freeze it and reuse it.

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