|Filipino BBQ Pork Kabobs|
Happy Labor Day and welcome to Day 1 of Kabob Week! This week, I'll be sharing 5 different kabob recipes with you as we start wrapping up the summer and grilling season.
For Day 1 of Kabob Week, we are having Filipino BBQ Pork Kabobs. I was first introduced to these a couple years ago when I went to LA with my brother Eddy and his girlfriend Tiff. Eddy was in his best friend's wedding, so while he was doing all of his pre and post wedding duties, Tiff and I gallivanted all over LA.
After an afternoon at Venice Beach and stuffing ourselves with fried food, we went up to my brother's friend's sister's house (whose husband is a spitting image of Patrick Dempsey!) who was having a BBQ. Tiff and I were far from hungry, but they were making some kabobs that we had to try. And we continued to eat. And eat. And eat. They were one of the best things I've ever eaten! It was sweet and savory, a little salty and a little fatty, and with this amazing caramelization. Ugh, if you could only bottle up the flavor and savor it every day!!
When I asked what was in them, they said it was just Filipino BBQ that's made with ketchup and Sprite (or 7-Up, I can't remember). So when we came home to Albuquerque, I asked my mom to make them. We found a recipe and it just wasn't the same. Now whenever I see my brother's friend, I ask him about what's in it. And he won't tell me. He confirms the ketchup, but when I ask about Sprite or 7-Up, he just laughs.
The other day I was determined to find the recipe, so I looked up all the Filipino BBQ Pork Kabob recipes that I could find that I thought sounded closest and found this one. Since the original kabobs that I had were a little more sweet, I went for the recipe that had more brown sugar and soda. This particular recipe used 7-Up, so I stuck with that. I prefer Sprite, so next time I might try it with that to see if it comes out any different. In addition, some recipes called for pork loin, pork belly, or pork butt. Since pork loin seemed too lean (the fatty bits were some of the best parts) and I didn't want to deal with taking off the skin from the belly, I decided to go with the pork butt. I still had to trim some fat from the meat because I didn't want it to be too fatty. I also continuously basted the meat (separated into two bowls-- one for raw meat while it was cooking, another to baste the cooked meat just in case of contamination). I wanted to make sure those suckers had that caramelization thing going on!
The result??? Oh my. Very, very close! Close enough to satisfy my craving and make myself proud. ;-) Next time I make these, I'll have to invite Tiff and my brother over to see how they think they compare.
|Me and Tiff on our last day in LA|
Filipino BBQ Pork Kabobs
From Big, Bold, Beautiful Food
3 lbs thin cut center cut pork loin chops, pounded until very thin (between 1/8-1/4 inch) and cut into 1 inch wide slices against the grain (or you can use pork butt, partially frozen for easier cutting, and slice thin) (I used pork butt because I like that it has a little more fat. You still might need to trim some of the fat. You can also use pork belly, just remove the skin before slicing.)
1 can 7-up (12 oz.)
1/2 c. oil
3/4 c. soy sauce (I used gluten-free soy sauce)
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. ketchup or banana ketchup (I used regular gluten-free ketchup)
6 Tbsp. lemon juice (about 2 lemons, squeezed)
8 garlic cloves, smashed
4 big scallions, chopped or 1 small-medium onion, chopped (I used a medium onion)
1 tsp. kosher salt
Ground black pepper
If you like spice, add 2 tsp. sriracha hot sauce or more, or 1-2 tbs. Frank's red hot sauce, or any chili sauce or fresh chilis (optional) (I left this out)
1/2 c. 7-up
1/4 c. soy sauce (I used gluten-free soy sauce)
1/4 c. ketchup (I used regular gluten-free ketchup)
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Prepare the pork as noted above. Mix the marinade ingredients together well. Combine the pork and marinade in a Ziploc bag. Seal and put in the fridge for a minimum or four hours, but better yet overnight or up to 2 days. (I marinated mine overnight.)
Soak bamboo skewers in water for a few hours or overnight to avoid burning when cooking.
When getting ready to cook, slide pork onto skewers, putting several pieces on each skewer as fits with room on the bottom to hold the stick.
Barbecue over medium-high heat over hot coals or gas grill until pork is done, basting as necessary to put a nice glaze on the meat. Depending on the thickness of the pork, you can char the meat first and then move it to a cooler side of the grill to finish cooking. (I also continuously basted the meat. I separated the basting sauce into two bowls-- one for raw meat while it was cooking, another to baste the cooked meat just in case of contamination).