Pork Barbecue Skewers

Pork barbecue skewers was a slice of my life during my younger days in the Philippines. It's street food with a bang. Park one of the barbecue grills in one corner of a road and expect everyone to flock to it, patiently waiting for his turn to have the freshly-grilled skewers. You wait while your skewers get cooked and if you are within a 1-mile radius, the incredible smell will drive you to the source - running. I was one of those people who was answering to the call of smell then leaving with a full tummy in the end and a thinner wallet too. It has been so many years since the last time I stood in a corner and waited for my barbecue skewers cook amidst a cloud of smoke and I thought that it's about time I recreated it in in the comfort of my own home in Italy.

What makes the Filipino pork barbecue skewers peculiar is the use of ketchup in the marinade. Like a lot of dishes in the country, sweet ingredients are added because a conflict of strong flavors underline the flavors of the Philippines. Sweet, sour and salty - they are all packed in the skewers. The meat is sweet and salty at the same time while the ubiquitous dip is sour, made mainly of vinegar and lots of onions. Hold your breath!

Pork barbecue skewers are always cooked on a hot grill which imparts the wonderful smoky flavor but if you can't wait for summer to arrive, you can also cook them during the colder months indoors. If you are cooking a small batch, on a stove top griddle would be good but if you are cooking a big batch, it's best to cook them in the oven on a lined baking tray. Ketchup creates a sticky residue that hardens while cooking. 

Scroll down for the recipe or go to the link of the Pork Barbecue Skewers at She Knows. To see more of my recipes there, click on my Profile Page

Pork Barbecue Skewers

Yields 10 – 12 skewers

  • 1 kilo pork shoulder, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or other kind of oil)12 skewers

  1. In a small bowl, mix together all the marinade ingredients, except for the olive oil. Adjust the taste if needed. Set aside 1/4 cup of the marinade, and mix it with the olive oil. Place it in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate.
  2. Place the meat in a container with a cover, then mix it with the remaining marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  3. When ready to cook, discard the marinade, and thread the meat on the skewers.
  4. You can cook them two ways: on the stovetop or in the oven. If you are cooking a small batch, it’s easier to cook them on a hot stovetop griddle. If it’s a large batch, then it’s better to bake them in an oven heated to 375 degrees F for 20 – 25 minutes or until they are cooked through. While cooking, baste them with the marinade that you had set aside.
  5. Serve hot. You can serve them with a simple vinegar sauce by combining vinegar, salt, sugar, pepper and minced onions. 
  6. Note: Ketchup will leave a sticky residue after cooking. If using a griddle, make just 1 batch, because the longer the ketchup stays on the griddle, the harder it becomes. Pour some water on the griddle immediately after cooking to soften the residue. If baking, line the baking pan with baking paper.

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