You can’t call it a barbecue unless smoke gets in your eyes, and you can’t decide on the best barbecue until you’ve tried the Filipino pork version of this mouth-watering grilled food. Unlike hamburger patties or hotdogs that you can simply throw in the grill straight from the package, the Filipino pork barbecue requires some prior ritual. The meat has to be marinated overnight with soy sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, garlic, banana ketchup and other spices. Simply basting the raw meat while grilling won’t give you the same flavor and consistency of the finished product.
While pork barbecue is served in many top restaurants or even at 5-star hotels in the Philippines, this skewered, sweet-flavored meat is quite a common street food, peddled by vendors who set up make-shift stalls at street corners or in bus and jeepney stops. It is best consumed fresh off the grill and dipped in a sauce consisting of vinegar and hot chili peppers.
So next time smoke gets in your eyes, it had better be from a grill that’s cooking Filipino pork barbecue!
1 lb pork belly or pork butt cut into 2-inch slices (about 1/2 inch thick)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup banana ketchup
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup rice vinegar
3-5 pieces red or green chili pepper, chopped
In a large mixing bowl, combine garlic, soy sauce, lemon juice, sugar, ketchup, salt and pepper to taste. Add the pork slices and mix well, making sure they are evenly coated. Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to grill, string the pork slices on skewers, basting each skewer with the marinade. Grill skewered pork on either side while basting with the remainder of the marinade. In a tall glass jar, pour the vinegar and add the chili pepper slices. Dip each skewer into the vinegar and chili sauce and serve warm with steamed white or yellow rice and your favorite vegetable salad. I suggest the Baguio Vegetable Salad.