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.
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Hawaiian vanilla extract*
2 pork tenderloins (about 1 lb. each)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
12 slices of peeled and cored fresh pineapple
24 King's Hawaiian sweet rolls or other small soft rolls, warmed on the grill if you like
1 cup cilantro sprigs
How to Make It
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.
Put pork in a 9- by 13-in. pan and pour on brine. Chill at least 3 hours and up to
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
*Find aromatic Hawaiian vanilla extract at gourmet grocery stores and hawaiianvanilla.com; non-Hawaiian vanilla extract works too.
Make ahead: Brine pork and make char siu glaze up to 1 day ahead.
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.
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!
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!