Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Thursday, February 20, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 35° Clear

Dorothy Dean presents: Filipino Pork Skewers are a crowd favorite

By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

A popular street food in the Philippines and staple at any Filipino barbecue, pork skewers are served slightly charred with sweet and savory flavors, and these delectable sticks of meat are always a crowd favorite.

Filipino pork skewers are great as appetizers or served as a main dish, commonly alongside rice or pancit, a Filipino stir fry of thin noodles, vegetables and a protein such as shrimp, chicken or pork.

The skewers start with pork butt that’s thinly sliced and marinated in soy sauce, banana ketchup, calamansi juice, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, lemon lime soda, garlic and seasonings. It’s marinated for at least 4 hours, or overnight, then laced on bamboo skewers and grilled until the pork transforms into succulent, glazed morsels.

If you’ve never heard of banana ketchup or calamansi juice, they’re staples in a Filipino pantry and can easily be found at any Asian specialty store. Banana ketchup adds a candied flavor, as it’s much sweeter than its tomato counterpart, and calamansi, similar to lime but more sour, adds a hint of citrus and subtle tartness.

When combined with the saltiness of the soy sauce, punch of vinegar and depth of sweetness from brown sugar and soda, the flavors are harmoniously joined together, creating ridiculously delicious and tender pork.

This marinade also can be used with chicken or steak. Or to try it as a sauce, just simmer it until thickened. It goes great over rice, veggies, noodles or grilled meat.

Filipino Pork Skewers

Adapted from

2 pounds pork butt, sliced thin

1 cup soy sauce

1 cup banana ketchup

1/2 cup calamansi juice (can substitute lemon juice)

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup lemon lime soda

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a large non-reactive bowl, add all the ingredients except the pork and whisk to combine. Reserve 1/2 cup of the marinade in a separate container in the refrigerator (this will be used for basting later).

Add the pork into the marinade and, using your hands, toss to combine. You also could place the pork into a zip-top bag and pour the mixture over and massage to combine. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Thread the pork onto metal or soaked bamboo skewers and discard the marinade. Grill the pork skewers on direct heat while basting with reserved marinade and turning as needed to obtain char marks, about 12 minutes on each side, or until caramelized and cook through.

Remove from the grill and serve.

Subscribe to the Spokane7 email newsletter

Get the day’s top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email