Photo: Thayer Allyson Gowdy
Total Time
4 Hours
Serves 12

Char siu—Chinese-style barbecued pork—is popular throughout the Islands. We've used its sweet, tangy glaze on pork tenderloin and pineapple, and then tucked both into Hawaiian sweet rolls.

How to Make It

Step 1

Make brine: In a large pot, bring 3 1/2 cups water to a boil. Stir in salt, brown sugar, and vanilla. Chill until cool.

Step 2

Put pork in a 9- by 13-in. pan and pour on brine. Chill at least 3 hours and up to

Step 3

Make char siu glaze: In a small bowl, mix together ketchup, hoisin, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. Pour half the sauce into another small bowl.

Step 4

Prepare grill for indirect medium heat (350° to 450°; you can hold your hand 5 in. above cooking grate only 5 to 7 seconds). Lay pork over indirect-heat area and cook, covered, until meat reaches 135° on a meat thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 5

Using a pastry brush and one bowl of glaze, cover pork with glaze, saving 2 tbsp. for the pineapple. Cook pork (if using charcoal, add 6 to 8 briquets to maintain temperature), turning occasionally, until glaze has caramelized slightly and meat thermometer reaches 145°, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 15 minutes.

Step 6

Lay pineapple slices on direct-heat area of grill, brush with 2 tbsp. reserved glaze, and cook, turning once, until grill marks appear, about 4 minutes per side. Remove slices from grill and cut in half.

Step 7

Cut pork into 1/2-in. slices. Cut a deep diagonal slit across the top of each roll. Fill each roll with a piece of pork, half a grilled pineapple slice, a cilantro sprig, and 1/2 tsp. glaze from second bowl. Serve rolls with remaining glaze for drizzling.

Step 8

*Find aromatic Hawaiian vanilla extract at gourmet grocery stores and; non-Hawaiian vanilla extract works too.

Step 9

Make ahead: Brine pork and make char siu glaze up to 1 day ahead.

Step 10

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Ratings & Reviews

fittoac's Review

October 22, 2011
I made these sandwiches for a tropical-themed wedding shower and they were a HIT! My husband gave me a hard time beforehand about the fact that I was making so many (36 sandwiches for 12 people, along with tons of other food), but not one single sandwich was left at the end of the party! People were raving about them. My husband and I both loved them. I'd definitely make them again, exactly as written.

janliao's Review

June 21, 2009
Great recipe. It was a hit at our luau. We doubled the recipe, made 48 sandwiches, but there was so much pork and pinapple left over. Followed the recipe to a T. Didn't need as much time on the grill as stated. Beautiful, and tasty!

jupaalda's Review

June 14, 2009
This is delicious; we had it at a cocktail party on Friday night and it was so good we made it again for a dinner party Saturday night. Delicious and a perfect mix of the pork, the pineapple, the cilantro, the marinade. YUM!

KristinaHofstad's Review

May 28, 2009
I love garlic, but it's way too much. Next time I will cut the garlic in half. I ran out of the sweet rolls. The dish isn't really complete without them.