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.
2poundspork shoulder or pork bellyslice in 1-inch cuts, ready to skewer
1/4cupfresh or frozen calamansi concentrate or use fresh lemon juice
1/2cupbanana catsupfrom Asian markets (or use tomato catsup)
8ouncesSprite or 7-Up soda
1teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper powder
12 to 14,pieces bamboo skewerspre-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.
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.
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