One of my absolute favourite things when exploring the nooks and alleyways of Chinatown, is to track down a BBQ stall and snaffle some Char Siu, (pronounced - Char Shoo).
Char Siu is that gorgeous, red glazed and charred piece of BBQ pork hanging in the window, between the whole roast ducks and Chinese sausages.
Its sweet/salty glaze works wonderfully with the porky taste of the meat and the flavour of caramelised burnt bits, it's a perfect treat hot and fresh, or next day for cold cuts or added to your favourite stir fry.
The only thing better than the Chinatown Char Siu is your own, home made Char Siu, it's a such a quick, easy and delicious cook!
What you'll need...
1 x 400g jar of Char Siu sauce available in the Asian section of Coles or Woolies or any Asian supermarket.
1 x Pork Loin, you can get this cut from quality Asian butchers.
Your trusty smoker with fuel and wood smoke of choice.
How to do it...
So the night before your cook, trim any loose, excess fat from the loin and cover generously (about 1/2 the jar) of the Char Siu glaze. Bag it, fridge it, let it marinade.
The next day, take your pork out of the fridge and let it come to room temp.Light your coals, I love using Gidgee from Western Qld, burns really hot and clean, which is exactly what you're after here. You won't need much fuel, we're only after about 2 hours of burn time.
I decided to try a bit of Aussie Black Wattle wood for smoke, a rather dense wood, smoulders great with a pleasing blue, subtle flavoured smoke.
For the first stage of this cook, you'll want to get the temp around the 350F mark. With my Pro-Q, I achieve this by running a dry water pan, which allows it to easily get up to those sort of temps whilst maintaining the indirect heat approach. I like to line my water pan with foil to help keep it clean and to make cleaning up a doddle. Once your smoker's hit the mark, give the loin another glaze with the Char Siu sauce and lay it out on the grill.
Cover your smoker, chuck in a chunk of wood for smoke, and let it do it's thing for the next 30 mins at 350F. After half an hour, bring your smoker's temp down to 225F, easily done by adding some water to your smoker's water pan.
Put your meat probe into the pork loin and monitor the internal temp, we'll want to hit 155F, I set my alarm to go off at 150F so I can catch it in time and not let it overcook.
Now, every 20 minutes, baste the loin again with the Char Siu sauce, then at the next 20 minute point, carefully flip the loin, and baste the other side, repeat this basting cycle until the loin is done, and you have a lovely rich, red glaze set in.
In my case, it only took 90 minutes to hit 155F.
The next stage is to do a quite aggressive reverse sear over direct heat. I break my Pro-Q down to just the charcoal bowl section, give the Gidgee a little pep up with a blower fan to get the temp nice and hot again, and I then put one of the grills directly over the glowing charcoal. Lay your cooked, red loin down over the coals for about 3-5 minutes each side, you are looking to develop the blackened, caramelised goodness, basting with the sauce when turned.
Once it gets to a point where you're happy with the look and colour of it, pull it off the coals and wrap in foil, letting it rest for 30mins. Once rested, snaffle the burnt ends for yourself, it's the cooks privilege!!!
Make slices about 5mm thick, and serve with your favourite sides, my wife loves it with just plain old rice, me, well I can't go past my world's best potato salad (but that's for a later post!).
Enjoy your journey into the exotic east of BBQ.