Chinese BBQ Pork (Char Siu)
3 lbs boneless pork (pork loin or tenderloin)
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp Chinese red cooking wine
2 tsp Five Spice Seasoning
1 1/2 tsp salt
3-5 drops red food coloring (optional)
For finishing glaze:
2 Tbsp honey, diluted with 2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp Chinese Hot Mustard Powder mixed with 1 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp ketchup
Mix marinade ingredients together. Cut pork (with the grain) into strips approximately 2 inches thick and 7 inches long. Using cuts with fat and tendons leads to more flavorful and tender cooked pork. The leanest cuts are not more desirable here. Add pork to marinade and massage with gloved hands to thoroughly mix and begin to work the marinade into the meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
A note on color: restaurant and grocery store Chinese BBQ pork is red in color, usually because it is dyed with red food coloring. Some chefs try to achieve the red color with ingredients such as beets or red yeast rice. But these add flavors to the finished dish. Many chefs also admit that for home cooking, they don't use red coloring at all! Since our primary test chef for this meal is colorblind, we opted to skip the red coloring entirely. Feel free to add or omit as you see fit! If you do use it, just add it to the marinade, and note carefully the instruction to mix with gloved hands.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a roasting pan by lining it with aluminum foil and adding 1-2 cups water to cover the bottom. (This will aid in cleanup, reduce smoke, and create steam that will help keep the pork moist.) Place a rack over the pan, and arrange the marinated pork on the rack. Keep all the marinade that is left in the bowl! You will use it for basting.
Roast in four stages, basting in between as described below. Move quickly so the pork cools as little as possible while being basted outside the oven.
Roast at 425 for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip, and baste with half the remaining marinade.
Roast at 425 for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and baste with the remaining marinade.
Roast at 425 for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, baste with diluted honey, flip to baste both sides.
Increase oven temp to 450 degrees. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest piece of pork.
Roast at 450 for 5 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meat is 160 degrees and a little char forms on a few points of the exterior. Remove from oven and let rest, cooling on the racks. When cool enough to handle, cut and serve with Chinese Hot Mustard sauce and ketchup.