After a year of waiting and longing, peering into the horizon with hapless melancholy, trying to find hope and fight off the apathy, National Barbecue Month is here, and we are overwhelmed with enthusiasm. To get you ready for the frenzy, here is Sticky-Sweet Grilled Pork Shoulder. This pork shoulder is a finger-licking addiction inspired by classic Cantonese cooking and features a thick molasses glaze.

Begin by slicing the pork shoulder into 2-3 even strips about 1" – 1½" thick, and then add to a resealable bag to marinate. The marinade is a heavenly smooth puree of garlic, ginger, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, honey, wine, chili oil, oyster sauce, and sesame oil. The aroma and deep flavors of these Asian ingredients will permeate the pork with moisture and savory goodness. Grill over medium heat to desired doneness, remove and let rest for 20 minutes. Bring reserved marinade, dark brown sugar, and molasses to a simmer and reduce to finish and glaze. Grill pork over medium-high heat, basting and turning every minute until thick, sticky glaze forms and caramelizes. 

So moist, sticky, crusty, and sweet – this is what I call grown-up candy. Just make sure you have an ample supply of wet wipes for clean-up! Perfect for a Memorial Day cookout, celebrate National Barbecue Month with Sticky-Sweet Grilled Pork Shoulder.

Serves: 8

Sticky-Sweet Grilled Pork Shoulder Ingredients


  • 2 heads of garlic, cloves separated, peeled
  • 1 wide 6" piece ginger, peeled, chopped
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce
  • ¾ cup fish sauce
  • ⅔ cup honey
  • ⅔ cup Shaoxing (Chinese rice) wine
  • ½ cup chili oil
  • ⅓ cup oyster sauce
  • ⅓ cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1 4–5-lb. skinless, boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt)
  • Kosher salt

Glaze and Assembly

  • ¾ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. mild-flavored (light) molasses
  • Bread-and-butter pickles, white bread, cilantro, and rinsed thinly sliced white onion (for serving)

Sticky-Sweet Grilled Pork Shoulder Directions


  1. Purée garlic, ginger, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, honey, wine, chili oil, oyster sauce, and sesame oil in a blender until very smooth. Place 1½ cups in a small bowl for glaze; cover and chill until ready to use. Pour the remaining marinade into a 2-gallon resealable plastic bag.
  2. Place pork shoulder, fat side down, on a cutting board with a short end facing you. Holding a long sharp knife about 1"–1½" above the cutting board, make a shallow cut along the entire length of a long side of the shoulder. Continue cutting deeper into the meat, lifting and unfurling with your free hand until it lies flat (it's better to end up with 2–3 even pieces than one uneven piece). Add to the bag with marinade and seal, pressing out air. Work pork around inside the bag to coat with marinade. Chill at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.
  3. Prepare grill for medium heat (with the cover closed, the thermometer should register 350°). Remove pork from marinade, letting excess drip off. Lightly season all over with salt. Watch for flare-ups. Cover and roast pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 140°–145°. (You can also do initial cooking in a 350° oven.) Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Do Ahead: Pork can be roasted two days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.

Glaze and Assembly

  1. Bring brown sugar, molasses, and reserved marinade to a simmer in a large saucepan; cook until reduced by one-third, 6–8 minutes (you should have about 1 cups). Keep warm.
  2. Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Grill pork, basting and turning with two pairs of tongs every minute or so, until thickly coated with a glaze, lightly charred in spots, and warmed through (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part should register 130°–145°; be careful not to overcook), 6–8 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; slice against the grain ¼" thick. Serve with pickles, bread, cilantro, and onion.

Taken from

May 11, 2022 — Jason Klein