Serves: Makes 4 to 6 servings
- 2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins
- 2 quarts water
- 1⁄2 cup coarse salt
- 3 star anise
- 1 cup ice cubes
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons five-spice powder
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 4 (3 by 1⁄2-inch) strips orange zest, finely slivered
- First, remove and discard the silverskin from the pork tenderloins: Lay 1 pork tenderloin on a cutting board and with a sharp paring or utility knife trim any excess fat. Locate the silverskin, which is a long, narrow, shiny white membrane that runs along the surface of the meat. With the tip of a thin, sharp knife, make a small cut at the top of the silverskin long enough for you to hold onto the skin with the fingertips of one hand. With the other hand, pull the knife, its blade leaning toward the skin, along the skin and parallel to the meat to separate it from the meat. Discard the skin. Repeat with the remaining tenderloin.
- Make the brine: In a large bowl, combine the water, salt, and star anise, and stir to dissolve the salt. Add the tenderloins and the ice cubes, cover, and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. Do not brine longer or the texture of the meat may be altered. Remove the pork from the brine, discard the brine, and pat the pork dry with paper towels. (The pork can be brined a day ahead, drained, and reserved for smoking the next day.)
- Set up the smoker, following the manufacturer's instructions. Place 2 tablespoons of the desired wood chips in the center of the pan, or as directed in the manufacturer's instructions. Place the tray directly on top of the wood chips, and then place the rack on top of the tray.
- Rub each of the tenderloins with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce. In a small bowl, mix together the five-spice powder, salt, and pepper. Using your fingers, rub half of the spice mixture into each of the tenderloins. Place the tenderloins on the grilling rack in the prepared smoker, folding under the narrow end of each tenderloin so it will fit. Lightly drizzle each tenderloin with 1 teaspoon of the honey. Sprinkle half of the orange slivers on top of each tenderloin.
- Close the smoker and turn the heat to medium, or follow the manufacturer's instructions. Set the timer for 25 minutes.
- Turn off the heat when the timer goes off, and let the pork rest in the smoker for 5 minutes. With mitted hands, open the smoker and transfer the meat to a cutting board. Cut on the diagonal into 1⁄4- to 1⁄2-inch-thick slices and serve.