18 January 2011

Barbecued Pork Tenderloin

five spice
You know that smell when you walk down a Chinatown strip - sort of sweet and gamey - honey and spice and smoke and roasting meat? Part of it is Peking Duck, and the other part is Barbecued Pork. It's one of ten key smells in the world that makes me hungry, even if I'm so full I can barely waddle (along with things like Sri Lankan curried eggplant, fresh bread etc, etc.)

Now the real stuff has things like maltose and shaoxing wine in it, involves cooking a caramel sauce, then marinating overnight and then cooking pork belly for about 45 minutes. Funnily enough, it doesn't even involve a "barbecue"...

My version has umpteen less ingredients, uses a very lean cut of meat, and cooks in 10-15 minutes.

  • 2 tsp Chinese Five-Spice (or four-spice if you can't get five, and add black pepper)
  • 2 big glugs of Hoi Sin sauce (I mean the red-brown one. If you can only find the thick black one, use Chinese plum sauce instead. )
  • 1 glug of Light Soy sauce
  • 1 big pork tenderloin (will probably be around 600g and should feed three provided you serve with something else)
  1. Mix all ingredients, and rub into pork. I like to slice a tenderloin into three big rolls, but you can also slice into bite-sized pieces. Leave for minimum 30 minutes, but can go overnight.
  2. Heat a BBQ or Wok, oil surface and cook on high heat. 3cm diameter tenderloin on the barbecue will take about 10 minutes, turned four times. If sliced and in a wok, it will only take about 5 minutes.
  3. Add a little water to the marinade left in the bowl, and pour on top for the last minute (If you are using a grill, you might want to cook this down in a saucepan a little instead)

Serve with steamed jasmine rice or egg noodles. Mmm and snow-peas stir-fried in sesame oil and garlic...

Note on cooking meat on the barbecue:
It's best not to slice into meat to see how cooked it is, particularly a relatively fat-free piece like tenderloin, because the moisture is lost quickly and you will end up with a dried up old boot. Use the back of your tongs and press. Then use the tongs and press the fleshy part of the side of your palm under the thumb. If it has the same amount of give, it's rare. If you touch your thumb to your tall-man finger and try again, and the tenderloin feels like that, then it's medium. Please don't cook too much over that, because the meat will continue to cook even once you take it off the hotplate, and will lose all it's juices. I'm just trying to help - I really don't want you wasting good quality meat. Don't worry, if you get to medium, there shouldn't be any blood. Have a look here, there's pretty picture to help.

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