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Filipino-Style Barbecue

These slightly sweet and savory pork skewers are one of my favorite dishes from the Philippines.

Quick background: Life can be pretty ironic. I grew up in Philippines but I never learned to cook any Filipino food until I moved to Norway. Filipino restaurants weren't really that common there and when I started craving for food that tasted like home, I was finally forced to learn a few recipes. Now, I live in Australia-- in a town that doesn't have any Filipino restaurants, so I continue to learn Filipino recipes and add my own twists to elevate it.

Okay, these are the ingredients you need.

  • spare ribs/pork belly (500-600g)

  • soy sauce (about 100ml)

  • calamondin/Filipino lime--if you don't have any, just use regular lime (about 10 pieces)

  • oyster sauce (about 3-4 tbs)

  • a whole head of garlic

  • pepper (to taste)

  • banana ketchup--couldn't get any here so I used tomato ketchup (about 4-5 tbsp)

  • soda--some people use Coke, others use Sprite (about 250-300ml)

  • corn starch (about 1-2 tbsp)

Adding corn starch isn't really in the original recipe and people don't use it to make this. However, adding this allows the meat to absorb more marinade and keeps it moist during the cooking process, ensuring a tender and juicy texture.

Making the Magic Marinade

  1. Chop up garlic into small pieces.

  2. Slice calamondins/limes in half and squeeze into a bowl. Make sure to use a strainer to separate the seeds. They're bitter and you wouldn't want them there.

  3. Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic, ketchup, soda, and pepper into the calamondin juice and mix.

  4. Slice up your meat into skewer size and add into the sauce.

  5. Sprinkle cornstarch evenly onto the mixture.

  6. Massage the meat gently and let it marinate for 6-24 hours. I did 24 to really let that flavor soak.

After 24 hours, it is time to torture the neighbors with the smell of smoky, savory meat being grilled.

Let me talk about the traditional way of cooking it first. In Philippines, the meat is just skewered after marination and then grilled on charcoal. While grilling, the sauce is brushed onto the meat every now and then to prevent it from drying while ensuring it is fully cooked. This technique is necessary because there is no corn starch used in the marinade.

My method:

  1. Drain the sauce from the meat. Make sure to keep the sauce.

  2. Heat the pan.

  3. Sear both sides the meat without using any oil (it will produce its own oil from the fat).

  4. Add the sauce into the pan. Once the sauce starts to simmer, put the heat on low.

  5. Go play some games and check the pan every now and then. When the sauce has been reduced to the consistency of ketchup, you can let it cool and start the grill.

  6. Skewer the meat once cool enough to touch. Be careful not to rip the pieces, they will be very soft.

  7. Put the skewers on the grill just long enough to char the fat.

  8. Enjoy!

No charcoal grill? No problem. You can skip the grilling process, the meat will still be very tasty and moist. The only difference is, it will not have that smoky flavor and distinct umami taste from the burnt fat.

Hope you guys enjoy this recipe!

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sue lim
sue lim
Feb 10

Wow, this looks mouth watering! Thanks for sharing!


Good Game
Good Game
Feb 10

This looks amazing!!


Feb 10

I didn't delete comments. I had to republish! Sorry, guys!

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