2 lb pork loin
2 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons smashed Sichuan peppercorns
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon five spice powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup whole star anise
1/4 cup white tea leaves
Whisk together the spices. Rub on all sides of the pork. Store any leftover spice mixture in an air tight container.
Place a 8x8 square disposable heavy duty baking pan on the bottom of your charcoal grill and arrange the coals on either side. Pour water in the pan to the halfway point and the tea and star anise. Place mesquite chips in a foil packet, poke holes in the foil, and place on the coals. Place the pork on the center of the grate, over the disposable tin.
This will allow the pork to cook evenly on indirect heat. Keep the lid ajar until you start to see smoke.
Cover, leaving the top vents open and cook, turning the pork occasionally, until fully cooked, about 2 hours.
Note: If you notice that the smoke stops smelling like mesquite, replace the packet. Also, if the temperature seems to dip, add a couple of (cold) coals and uncover for a few minutes.
Tip: Crush the Sichuan peppercorns in a molcajete (like my husband is demonstrating below) or just crush them with your fingers.
This is some seriously juicy, flavorful pork. The "slow and low" method keeps the loin from drying out and the spices seal in the juices. It really is my favorite way to cook pork loin, which as a fairly lean cut of meat is easy to over cook. Not using this method. It is incredibly easy but yields tender, juicy meat every time. In this version the Chinese spices permeate the pork, infusing it with a spicy, sweet flavor that pairs well with everything. Leftovers are great in sandwiches.