Chinese Barbecue, Shao Kao (烧烤)

Shao kao (烧烤) or Chinese barbecue, has become my all-time favorite–possibly due to the fact that it’s been snowing in my home-state since November, and I’m ready for warmer weather. Traditionally a street food, this barbecue is great on the grill or griddle at home. 

The barbecue mixture itself is heavily spiced yet delicious, and it goes perfectly with any type of meat and vegetable. The versatility of this mixture also means it can be tweaked to meet your taste, such as more and less heat with the chili powder, and more or less umami with the oyster sauce. This mixture can be used as a rub or a marinade. I personally like to marinade my meat in the mixture for at least 10 minutes before skewering and throwing it on the grill, and then spreading on more of the mixture as it cooks.

If, like me, you’re looking for a kickstart to summer, try some Shao Kao on your grill or griddle today.



-1 lb beef, pork, lamb, or poultry, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

-2 Tbsp cumin

-1 Tbsp chili powder/flakes (or paprika)

-1/2 tsp salt

-1/2 tsp white pepper 

-1/2 tsp 5-spice 

-2 tsp ground sesame seeds 

-1 Tbsp oyster sauce 

-Oil, to create a spreadable paste

Optional items to skewer:



-Green onions




-Garlic, etc.


  1. Add the cumin, chili powder/flakes, salt, white pepper, five-spice, ground sesame seeds, oyster sauce, and oil into a bowl (preferably non-white Ave glass due to staining) and mix thoroughly.
  2. Add 1/2-1/3 of the mixture on your meat of choice and allow to marinade for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Skewer your meat and vegetables. (The skewers I use can be found here.)
  4. Cook the skewers on the grill or griddle until done, spreading on the remaining mixture as you grill. And enjoy^-^
Shao Kao on our griddle

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