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Pork Barbecue On the Grill Filipino-style

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These Pork Barbecue On the Grill skewers define nearly every Filipino party. There has never been a time when guests refused these char-grilled pork bits on bamboo skewers. Whether I am here in the States or back in the Philippines, when these pork BBQ sticks are served, they are gone in a few minutes. Guests dive for it quickly. Nothing is left. The slightly burnt, empty bamboo sticks are seen laying vacantly on finished dishes, probably right next to leftover tendrils of pancit (noodle dish) or strays of a lumpia wrapper (vegetable wraps). This is the typical scene at any Filipino-hosted party.

Pork barbecue on sticks are actually street food in the Philippines. You will find it in a lot of street corners, the succulent dark pork grilling on a make-shift outdoor grill. Often it is sold by the piece or by the bundle. It is extremely affordable, too. If you follow the addictive aroma of char-grilling pork, the scent and the smoke swaying in the warm winds, then you will not be able to resist buying a few sticks or even a large bundle. It is served as ‘pulutan (say “pooh-loo-tan”) which translates to appetizers served with beer or else can stand alone as an entrée served with sides. Each pork barbecue piece is thinly sliced in square inches but is packed with layers of flavors. With each bite, one can savor the sweet, savory and spicy all at once. The more you eat it, the more you’ll want it again and again.


Here in America, once Memorial Day weekend starts on the last weekend of May, it is time for us to take off the covers of the outdoor grill and start cooking. In preparation, I pre-marinate the pork shoulder pieces ahead of time, keep them in a plastic container and freeze it till we are ready to fire up the grill.

I won’t keep you too long on this blog post. You shouldn’t keep these pork barbecue skewers waiting. Brush on the marinade now. Enjoy the whiff of the calamansi and soy sauce seeping through the pieces. Watch the succulent pork slices transform into dark, glazed morsels. Gather the family and friends. These sticks go fast. Take my word. So don’t forget to save some for yourself, the grill master.


Pork Barbecue On the Grill Filipino-style

These grilled Pork Barbecue, Filipino-style are a favorite every time we have a party or I bring it to friends. What makes these hard to resist is the basic marinade which has all the essential flavors and aromatics typical in Filipino dishes. Every stick of pork has combined flavors of the sweet, savory and spicy. The recipe below makes about 12 to 14 sticks. Double or triple the amount if you're having company. You'll be glad I warned you. This is an Asian in America recipe. Serves 4.
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Asian, Filipino
Keyword: Filipino Pork Barbecue Philippine Cuisine
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 122kcal
Author: Elizabeth Ann Quirino


  • 2 pounds pork shoulder or pork belly slice in 1-inch cuts, ready to skewer
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen calamansi concentrate or use fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup banana catsup from Asian markets (or use tomato catsup)
  • 8 ounces Sprite or 7-Up soda
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper powder
  • 12 to 14, pieces bamboo skewers pre-soaked for 20 minutes


  • Mix the marinade ingredients together in a bowl : Minced garlic, soy sauce, calamansi juice (or use lemon), banana catsup (or use tomato catsup),  half of the soda, salt, black pepper. Leave ½ cup of the marinade plus the sugar, aside for the grilling glaze. Pour the rest of the marinade over the pork. Keep in a non-reactive container. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the pork overnight.
  • The next day, pre-soak the bamboo skewers in water for about 20 minutes. Then skewer the pork pieces into each bamboo stick, allowing approximately 6 to 7 pieces on each one.
  • Pre-heat the outdoor barbecue grill to a medium high heat. Get ready with the grilling glaze set aside from the day before, add the sugar and remaining soda. Grill the barbecued pork, about 12 minutes on each side while rotating the skewers. Total grilling time should take about 30 minutes. Baste the pork barbecue every few minutes so that it gets moist and shiny.
  • When cooked, serve hot on long platters and garnish with tomatoes, cucumbers and green pickled mangoes or some "achara", green papaya pickle relish.
  • Cook's Comments: I always add the sugar ingredient in the marinade or glaze just before grilling the meat. This way, the sugar does not crystallize or stay too long on the pork cuts which causes the barbecued meat to harden.
  • Add a spicy note: if you want to make the marinade spicy add a teaspoon or two of sriracha sauce or else 1 to 2 bird's eye chilies ('siling labuyo' in the Philippines). Mix and marinate according to directions above. This is an optional way to add spicy flavors to the pork barbecue. When there are little children around, I turn down the spice level and omit the spicy ingredients.
  • *Recipe Notes: Filipino banana catsup can be found in Asian groceries in the Philippine aisle, or online Asian groceries. If you have time, there are recipes for homemade banana catsup. But if you prefer, substitute tomato catsup in this recipe and the results are just as good.
  • *Cooking Indoors: In the winter months, we shut down the outdoor grill for safety reasons. But this does not stop us from enjoying our Filipino barbecue. To cook indoors, thread the pork slices in pre-soaked bamboo skewers as directed above. Preheat the oven at 375 F degrees. Grease and prepare a shallow baking pan, measuring approximately 9 x 13 inches with a height of not more than 2 inches. Place the grill rack over the shallow pan, which has the horizontal slots across it. Grease the entire grill rack. Place the skewered pork pieces on the grill rack. Position the shallow pan in the center of the oven. Roast in the oven 375 F degrees for 30 minutes, basting occasionally so it has a shiny glaze.
  • COLOR and COOK Food Coloring Book: Color, cook and share my original drawings like this Pork Barbecue from my "COLOR and COOK Food Coloring Book" by Elizabeth Ann Quirino on Amazon.com. Relax and color these unique Filipino food art I created for you. CLICK here to buy.
  • Hello, Friends! All the images and content here are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to use my photos or content on your website, books, publications, videos,  without my permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write it in your own words and simply link back to this blog to give proper attribution. It’s the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]


Serving: 1g | Calories: 122kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2209mg | Potassium: 98mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 0.9mg

Notes on Nutrition: 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]


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      1. Elizabeth, Thanks for this recipe, It brings back memories of when I lived in the Philippines. I had to always stop and get some from the corner BBQ. I used this recipe on my wife who is Filipina she was impressed.

        1. Hi Judy, to reheat the pork bbq skewers in the oven, cover them with foil, then reheat at 350 F for 10 to 12 minutes. Or else, try reheating in the toaster oven at the same temperature. If you reheat in the microwave, remove the pork pieces from the skewers and plate them – heat on high for 1 minute.

      1. These are the exact same ingredients my mom use back home but I can’t do it right. Thanks to your notes I will do it this weekend and hopefully get it right this time.

    1. Hello! Thanks for the recipe, but I want to make enough pork barbeque for my church. How many servings does this recipe serve?

      1. Thanks, Bryan. As I indicated in the intro paragraph of the recipe, this makes about 12 to 14 skewers, with around 5 to 6 pieces of pork barbecue on each. If you plan to bring it to a party, I suggest you double the amount. I’ve done that before. Enjoy!

  1. This post is awesome! Hi everyone I’m ashley from the Philippines. I’m planning to start a grilling business here next week, I bought my Hibachi Steel Charcoal BBQ Grill at goods.ph for a very affordable price. It is hard for me to start a business because my knowledge is limited about food. Thanks to this informative post I learnt new thing about bbqs.

  2. There is an Asian Doctor in our town who makes this dish and sells it at spring and fall festivals at Dan Nicholas Park. (His whole family helps and they donate the profits to charity). There’s always a huge line of folks waiting to purchase his wonderful BBQ. I always make it a point to go snd buy 10 to 12 sticks, even though I’m not a fan of crowded festival’s or standing in line. Thank you so much for posting this recipe and for you’re wonderfully detailed notes. The notes will really help me when I try this ASAP! May God bless you and your family for giving me an opportunity to make this delightful BBQ for my family!

    1. Thanks, Andy! So nice of you to share the story of the Asian Doctor selling BBQ in your city. Glad I can help with a recipe. Enjoy and please let me know how yours turns out.

  3. Thanks for sharing your recipe! I shared this with my co-workers today and they definitely want to try it 🙂

  4. I live in Northern VA, and would like to try this recipe for some filipino friends of mine. I would like to make it authentic and use the calamansi juice. Would you happen to know where I can find it? If I find the concentrate, do I use the concentrate directly or after diluted with water? Also, if I cannot find it in local stores, do you know of a good brand/product I can order online?

    Thanks so much!!!

    1. Hi Chris. You can find frozen calamansi concentrate (unsweetened) in Asian or Filipino groceries, by the freezer aisle. I’ve been to the VA area before. There is a place called “Little Quiapo” and if you call them, find out if they carry frozen calamansi. Unfortunately, if frozen you can’t buy it online. Your next best bet is to ask friends in warmer climates (CA, FL, AZ) to send you fresh calamansi from their parts. I know that in NYC Chinatown fresh calamansi can sometimes be found, but it’s extremely pricey on the east coast. Good luck and hope you find it 🙂

        1. Hi Chris, I haven’t tried this product. What I use is Manila Gold Calamansi Frozen Concentrate which is distributed by Ramar Foods and is way much cheaper than this Calamansi Puree you found online. I am also not sure if you can order calamansi puree online and the shelf life of it while in transit. If you like, Meyer Lemons are the closest in flavor to calamansi and are a cheaper, easier substitute. Good luck 🙂

    1. Hi KJ. Yes you can make it ahead. If reheating in the oven, I suggest you wrap it in aluminum foil so it stays tender — keep oven temperature low, about 325 F for about 20-25 minutes. For leftovers, if there are only a few pieces, I remove from the skewer and heat it on top of the steamed rice inside the rice cooker.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this! It means a lot to me. I’m Filipina and I live in California away from my family in the Philippines. Unfortunately, I grew up never learning how to cook Filipino dishes.

    I’m married now and just learning how to make some of my childhood favorites. I can’t wait to try this recipe! Thank you again!

  6. Im glad na nagpost kayo nito,kailan ko pa talaga kasi ito ung negosyo ko kasi wala nang pasok.kasi gusto ko talagang maging perfect ung pag gawa nito.salamat

  7. Hi Eli I just read ur recipe of Filipino style grilled pork I m going to start a new business of grilling I will add this particular recipe in my menu thanks for the awesome and easy recipe

  8. Hi Liz, I just wanted to tell you that today was my first time visiting your site and I must tell you that I made your BBQ Pork on skewers exactly as posted and wow wow wow, without a doubt best I have ever made and the best I’VE ever tasted.
    I am from the East coast of America, living in the Philippines.everyone needs to try making these pork BBQ. Tomorrow I will make the boneless skinless chicken BBQ,,,thank you very much Liz

    1. Thanks, Bill. Glad you enjoyed the Pork BBQ recipe. It is everyone’s favorite. You’ll enjoy the chicken barbecue, too. Thanks for the support and blog visit 🙂

  9. Sarap sarap!
    OMG! Thank you so much for the pinoy bbq stick recipe. I love them so much! Thats my favorite food in the philippines and very delicious. All my guest love them, too. 🙂

    Regards from Switzerland! Ging2x

    1. Hello, thanks so much for the recipe! I’d love to try this soon. I do have a question though. You said to use half of the soda, which means only 4oz right?

  10. Hi , thanks for sharing. I prepare this for birthday party . Use this as chicken BBQ . I use tomato ketchup. Can’t find banana ketchup here in malaysia.

  11. Made this while camping this past weekend. Found calamansi at Walmart online. My grocery store sells banana ketchup
    Thank you so much for the recipe! Have tried others from online sources and this one is the best!!!

  12. Hello did you use pork shoulder in the pictures? I tried making this for my Filipino relatives and used pork belly but it had hard white parts all on it. Thanks a bunch foe your help!

    1. Hi Nadia,I used pork shoulder for this recipe and the photographs. You can also use pork belly as I indicated on the list of ingredients. Try to slice off some of the fat before grilling so you’ll have less hard, white parts. Hope this helps 🙂

  13. Another option for winter time and if you only have shallow baking pan: cover pork shoulder cubes (with marinating juice) with foil, bake/roast for (3-4h at 200F), remove the juice, glaze and broiled each side and glaze again.

  14. Oh no! I skimmed the directions too fast and added the entire amount of sugar and ginger ale to the marinade and poured over the pork. Then I read your tip about the sugar crystallizing and hardening the meat! Will they still turn out ok??

    1. Hi, Fran. Yes, it will still turn out okay. This is a readers’ favorite recipe and you’ll know why. I’m sure you’ll make the pork barbecue again and again. Thanks and enjoy 🙂

  15. Hello po. Is it okay if I add all the ingredients together and then the marinade plus add oil to use as baste? Will that be super sweet?

    1. Hi Julie. I have not yet tried your suggestion of mixing all the ingredients with oil. So I can’t predict what the flavor will be. You are free to experiment.

  16. Just made these for an office BBQ and it was a hit with everyone. We added some pineapple to the skewers but the meat was delicious. Definitely saving this recipe!

  17. This is really helpful. Thank you so much for all the tips. Just a question. Since I came here in US, I’ve found out that their soy sauce kinda taste different from ours, may I know what type or brand of Soy sauce do you use for this recipe? And does doing it in an oven taste the same? Thank you so much!

    1. Hi, Michelle. I buy any brand of Philippine soy sauce from Asian supermarkets — I can’t give a specific brand because availability varies in different stores. The taste and flavors are the same if you cook it in the oven. Hope that helps.

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