BBQ Pork Skewers 8.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Apr 22, 2015

This popular Filipino dish is based on the pork that restaurateur Meshelle Armstrong’s aunts, Tita Viloi and Tita Jet, make. Armstrong’s husband, chef Cathal Armstrong, tweaked the recipe a bit further, making it less sweet and using braised pork belly instead of pork butt (shoulder).

You’ll need to soak any bamboo/wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling.


Serve with garlic rice.

Make Ahead: The marinade can be made and refrigerated up to 3 days in advance. The pork needs to marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Where to Buy: The recipe calls for banana ketchup, which is sweeter than American ketchup. It’s available at markets such as Filipino Home Baking and Grocery in Wheaton (301-942-2800) and at some large Asian markets.

8 - 10

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 8-10 servings; makes 24 to 30 skewers

  • For the skewers
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped (2 cups)
  • 40 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 8 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • About 19 ounces (1 bottle) banana ketchup, such as Jufran Banana Sauce (see headnote)
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 pounds pork butt (fat trimmed), cut into strips that are 1 inch wide and 1/4 inch thick
  • For the dipping sauce (sawsawsan)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • 1 Thai (bird's-eye) chile pepper chopped (not seeded)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


For the skewers: Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Once it shimmers, stir in the onion and garlic; cook for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until tender. Add the soy sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, banana ketchup and salt; stir to incorporate and form a marinade/sauce. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer; discard the solids (or reserve the garlic for another use, if desired). Transfer to a container; refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Combine the sauce and pork strips in a gallon-size zip-top bag. Seal, pressing out as much air as possible. Massage to coat evenly. Refrigerate overnight.

Prepare the grill for direct heat: If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ashen, distribute them evenly over the cooking area. If using a gas grill, preheat by setting all burners on high (450 degrees) and closing the lid for 10 minutes; you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals or grate for 3 to 4 seconds. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames. Brush the grill grate.

Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce: Whisk together the vinegar, shallots, chili pepper and sugar in a small bowl.

Thread 2 or 3 slices of marinated pork on each skewer. Reserve some of the marinade for basting, and discard the rest.

Grill, uncovered, for about 5 minutes; begin to baste the meat with some of the marinade as soon as the meat loses its raw look. Cook until browned and lightly charred, then turn the skewers over and grill for about 5 minutes on the second side or until the meat is cooked through, basting as soon as the skewers are turned. The pork should be crunchy and caramelized on the outside.

Transfer the skewers to a platter; serve with the dipping sauce.

Rate it

Recipe Source

From Cathal Armstrong, chef-owner of Restaurant Eve in Alexandria.

Tested by Andy Sikkenga.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at