A few weeks ago, we made a balikbayan visit to the Philippines. When we arrived at our Tarlac home, a sumptuous feast awaited us and over two dozen Pork Barbecue skewers were at the center of the table. Nothing else is as classic and iconic as these charcoal-grilled skewered pork pieces. This is the dish that tells you you’re in a Filipino home even if you don’t ask.
In our case, we had just come from a long 16-hour flight from the USA and a tiresome five-hour car ride from Manila, humid weather and traffic all thrown in. It was a relief to finally arrive home to what was familiar. The dining table was filled with a spread of our favorites – Pancit Bihon, Kare-Kare, Fresh Vegetable Lumpia and of course, the Pork Barbecue. Desserts were the fresh tropical fruits I have missed – sweet, ripe mangoes and bananas.
What makes these Pork Barbecue special? The sight alone is irresistible – glazed pork pieces on a bamboo skewer, the edges of the cubed morsels slightly charred and totally inviting you to take a bite. The aroma is hard to ignore – it is a robust mix of sweetness, saltiness and hints of spicy notes. And the layers of flavors are unrivalled – you bite into a heady mix of sweet-savory that’s at the same time succulent and tender.
The process to prepare these pork barbecues is simple. I have a recipe from my latest cookbook My Mother’s Philippine Recipes which I am sharing with you. It’s homespun, and yet it is out-of-this-world. It is hard to have just one skewer. You’ll find yourself reaching for a second, then another and another as the meal progresses. As I felt jet lag set in and my eyes started to feel heavy with sleep, I took one more look at the dining table and was grateful for the food before us. It was sheer comfort food. And it felt good to be home.
This post is dedicated to my son, Tim who celebrates his birthday today. If we were having a party at home, I’m certain these barbecues would be a hit with our guests.
*This recipe was also featured by The Happy Home Cook on Positively Filipino, the premiere online magazine.
Pork Barbecue from My Mother's Philippine Recipes
- Outdoor grill: Charcoal or Gas; Grilling accessories
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup calamansi juice or lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon grounded black peppercorns
- 2 whole heads of fresh garlic peeled, minced
- 1 to 2 whole siling labuyo (bird's eye chilies) sliced siling labuyo (bird's eye chilies)
- 1 can (8 ounces) Sprite or 7-Up soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 pounds pork shoulder sliced in 1-inch cubes
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 20 to 24 pieces bamboo barbecue skewers pre-soaked in water for 20 to 30 minutes
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil for glaze
- 1/4 cup banana ketchup for glaze
- 1 Tablespoon calamansi juice for glaze (or lemon)
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce for glaze
- · In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine these ingredients: soy sauce, calamansi juice, ground peppercorns, garlic, siling labuyo, Sprite (or 7 Up) and salt. Blend well.
- · Soak the pork shoulder cubes in the marinade. Cover and keep pork marinated for 6 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
- · When ready to grill the barbecue, pre-soak the bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes. Set aside.
- · To the marinated pork, add the brown sugar. Mix thoroughly.
- · Skewer the pork pieces through the bamboo sticks. Place 4 to 5 pieces in each skewer.
- · In a small bowl, mix the glaze ingredients: vegetable oil, catsup, siracha and calamansi juice. Baste the pork barbecue with the glaze every few minutes while grilling.
- · In a pre-heated outdoor grill set at medium high, grill the pork barbecue for 12 to 15 minutes each or till thoroughly cooked.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of the marinade ingredients. The actual amount of the marinade consumed will vary. The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe? I have more classic recipes inspired by my late mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE my original recipe, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]