15 Jan2007


I am almost certain that somewhere on the planet, a Filipino national out there is currently consuming a stick of Pinoy style pork barbecue. Pork barbecue is definitely a favorite, even though it didn’t come out as such in Marketmanila’s survey of favorite pinoy dishes whose results were summarized in this post. From small towns to hidden corners of large cities in the Philippines, sidewalk vendors are fanning the coals as they cook up some pork barbecue. I suspect we all have our favorites, but the key to this dish is the flavor that emanates from local pork, and ideally, the fat to meat ratio that results in the flavor, mouth feel, moisture and the taste that only comes from our own brand of charcoal roasted heaven on a stick. Everyone’s marinade differs a bit; whether salty, sweet, spicy or all of the above, pork barbecue is the stuff of good memories. I have perhaps consumed hundreds, possibly even thousands of sticks of pork barbecue since I was a child, and at home, my mom used to make it herself and I can distinctly recall how she used to skewer the meat so that it was impaled just right. And homemade from street-bought was distinguished by one clear difference…the homemade didn’t have the totally fatty piece of pork at the bottom of the stick! A couple of weeks ago, I decided to try making it on my own…

I started off with a big piece of pork pigue (not sure what that cut is in English)and cut it into smallish pieces. I think this was the first error. The pork didn’t have enough fat. bbq2While I had intended to make a leaner barbecue, this may have been a touch too lean. Next, the pieces were too thin/small. If I had increased them by about 50%, they would have been ideal. Too thin and it dries out. Too thick and it doesn’t get cooked enough and you risk trichinosis or whatever cooties pork can have. You need to get the size just right. For the marinade I went a little overboard. I added Kikkoman, dark soy sauce, chilli sauce, pepper, sprite, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, a touch of tomato paste, etc. I let it marinate in the fridge for at least two days then skewered it and barbecued on a medium charcoal flame. They tasted pretty good but there was definitely room for improvement. I am curious what makes your pork barbecue special? Do you just buy it frozen and ready to cook (as I did from Ineng’s for a while), or do you make it yourselves? What ingredients do you use, how long do you marinate it, what cut of pork is ideal, do you tenderize it? Please let us know if you have any suggestions for the next time I make it. Oh, I almost forgot, we served the barbecue with my homemade papaya acharra and it was terrific! If you don’t feel like battling with a grill you can just pan fry the pork pieces in a hot stainless steel pan and eat it with rice and some chilli vinegar, yum!



  1. wysgal says:

    I have never been able to replicate the bbq from street-side stalls. I always like mine well grilled with a sweet marinade and a bit of fat … together with a plate of steaming white rice!

    Jan 15, 2007 | 7:33 am


  2. Notice: Undefined variable: oddcomment in /home/marketman/marketmanila.com/wp-content/themes/marketmanila-v2/comments.php on line 33
  3. MRJP says:

    Oo nga, what is it in the marinade of those bbq’s which you can buy at the street corner? I always wondered why I have never been able to make the same marinade, ever. But my uncles and aunts back in the Philippines used to make bbq’s which taste the same, they told me that the secret is 7-up…. eeehhh, added that too but mine never came close to the taste of their bbq’s.

    Jan 15, 2007 | 7:50 am

  4. fried-neurons says:

    Hmmm… yeah, our cook also used to put 7-Up in the marinade… Ah, good memories. I actually really liked the big piece of pork fat at the end of the skewer… especially if the outside was a little bit charred and blistered…

    Jan 15, 2007 | 8:23 am

  5. erleen says:

    Seeems anything bought streetside has this taste that we cannot replicate at home…. Fishball sauce…the bagoong on the mangga-on-stick…gulaman…the BBQ’s are incomparable. Not really sure if it the marinade or the smoke from the jeepneys’ and tricycles zooming by…hehehe.

    The way I do it:

    soy sauce, brown sugar, calamansi(i throw the skins in after squeezing), UFC catsup, ground pepper, garlic, TBSP or so of perrins, vetsin( you can omit this)

    we like it on the sweeter side. we make extra marinade so we can have some left over to brush pork with while on the grill.

    Jan 15, 2007 | 8:58 am

  6. joey says:

    Like wysgal I have never been able to replicate street bbq…I like mine sweet and a little spicy with lots of taba interspersed throughout :) YUM!

    Jan 15, 2007 | 9:22 am

  7. Marketman says:

    Do you think they also use a meat tenderizer of some sort? Say the baking soda or is it powder trick used by Chinese restaurants sometimes? Hmmm…

    Jan 15, 2007 | 9:31 am

  8. greengrapecake says:

    Hi MM,
    Please educate me, what is this powder trick and what does it suppose to do?

    Jan 15, 2007 | 10:58 am

  9. chris says:

    In our old neighborhood in Times St., there used to be a weekend bazaar every Sunday (don’t know if they still have it). The barbecue they sell is out of this world delicious. It’s tender, not too sweet, spicy- all flavor components were just right for me. I used to eat at least 5 sticks even before we start our Sunday family dinners. Never got tired of having it every week.

    Jan 15, 2007 | 11:51 am

  10. chris says:

    Could the street corner barbecue’s secret be UFC banana ketchup? I think they just mix that up with oil and use it to baste the meat as it cooks on the grill.

    Jan 15, 2007 | 11:54 am

  11. catalina says:

    Pork BBQ, IMO is kind of like Adobo or Sinigang–every family has its own secret recipe, each one absolutely the best. This is my family’s recipe–my 3 daughters in the US have introduced this to their American friends and it’s been a hit every time; no need to pound the meat or add tenderizer. We use kasim (picnic/shoulder) with a strip of fat and marinate at least overnight in 8 oz 7-Up or Sprite, 1/2 cup banana ketchup, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup Chinese soy sauce, 1 to 2 heads garlic (crushed), pinch of salt, few crushed peppercorns (omitted when served to kids). Marinade is good for a kilo of pork. Add half a cup of canola oil to the remaining marinade to baste the BBQ with — this plus the mandatory piece of fat at the end of each skewer give the BBQ its prized kanto (street-corner) flavor; the meat is tender and doesn’t stick to the skewer.

    Jan 15, 2007 | 12:08 pm

  12. Jacob's Mom says:

    Mama Sita makes a nice bottled marinade. I let the meat sit in it for a day or two. My little one gags on the tiniest sliver of fat so I make it with lean meat too. Since the weather keeps me from grilling outdoors right now, I stick the skewers under the broiler for maybe 10 mins or so. Turns out really, really nice. Almost like what I used to eat back home. :)

    Jan 15, 2007 | 12:12 pm

  13. catalina says:

    MM, you’re right — (1) Always serve pork barbecue with papaya achara. (2) Marinated pork can be fried instead of barbecued; my Pinoy-American granddaughter couldn’t wait for the barbecue so we fried the pork pieces — ok na sa kaniya; but not for us true-blue Pinoys who look for the charcoal-grilled flavor.

    Jan 15, 2007 | 12:14 pm

  14. Anne says:

    in my case, I found that compressing the meat together in the skewer helps keep the juices in

    Jan 15, 2007 | 12:15 pm

  15. stadaenko says:

    aahhh…. pork bbq. as i always say, i’ve never met a pork bbq that i didn’t like. honest. whether it be from any children’s party, caterer, fast food, jeepney stop, hotel, beer garden, etc etc etc. in fact, the more polluted the immediate environment of the actual ‘ihawan’, somehow, the more flavorful those damn bastards. aling nene cooks her bbq dead smack in corner the smokin’ south superhiway and zobel roxas intersection.

    MM, pork ‘pigue’ in english is simply pork hind leg and is composed of very lean muscles and minimal outer fat (used widely for xmas hams). pigs are more of a rear-wheel drive type of animal (as compared to cows which are more front-wheel) and so their hind legs flex harder and more often, thus resulting in tougher meats. it is also leaner because all this muscle activity sadly burns the glorious fat.

    for more fat ‘marbling’ and more tender meat, as advised by catalina, shift to buying the ‘kasim’ or pork shoulder which is from the fore-section of the pig, which has less muscle activity. less muscle activity – tender meats. less muscle activity – more fat. aaahhhh…. pork fat… how many ways do i love thee?….

    Jan 15, 2007 | 1:51 pm

  16. tulip says:

    Marketman, my folks are into livestock production(predominantely swine). My dad’s cousin makes her famous barbecue with sprite as the tenderizer, brown sugar, fresh red chili pepper, garlic, good quality soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar . She uses pigue(pork round) too. She marinates it at least overnight, sometimes freezes it too. When we go to the beach, it’s always requested. I think it’s in the proportion of each ingredients for the marinade that makes the difference. My sister tried replicating the recipe but she can’t even come close to it. My tita would always make anyone whom she shared the recipe to swear to keep it a secret when she was still doing this per order in her stalls.

    Jan 15, 2007 | 2:05 pm

  17. aleth says:

    here in dubai, i use the pork belly which sometimes is very hard to find bcoz it always runs out of stock – would you believe that!?! anyways, like the others above, i use 7-up, soy sauce, lots of garlic, crushed black peppercorn and marinate it overnight and charcoal-grill for lunchtime!! yummy – our foreign friends liked it and i also use the same kind of marinate for chicken bbqs – kids love those jumbo chicken wings!!! of course served with achara, but sometimes mang thomas lechon sauce do the magic also!!!

    Jan 15, 2007 | 2:20 pm

  18. aleth says:

    oppps… typo… same kind of “marinade” pala sori po – :)

    Jan 15, 2007 | 2:22 pm

  19. relly says:

    I personally used “pigue” or the ham part “Jambon in French” because i do not really want to get too much fat! Like your marinade but instead of adding tomato paste, i add Catsup or instead “Hoi Sin” sauce.
    In needs basting while cooking and since they have been marinated enough longer that the meat have already been half cooked in its marinates they do not need a longer cooking time.
    You are right, the thickness in cutting plays major role, not too thick nor too thin and they are quicker to cook?
    Your BBQ looks yummy

    Jan 15, 2007 | 4:51 pm

  20. teny says:


    We usually use the part KASIM. Not sure what exactly what part of the meat that is but that’s what our cook uses.

    Just like your recipe I use seven up, sugar, soy sauce but to add moisture to the dish I also use peanut butter.

    I only use the ketchup mixture to brush the meat while it is being grilled to add flavor and also good color.

    The technique is also how often you turn the bbq while grilling. I only try to turn it once or twice so that the grill will be free from burnt stains from dried ketchup mixture

    Jan 15, 2007 | 5:43 pm

  21. lee says:

    i love pork barbecue slightly burnt. The odd piece of fat at the end maybe a visual peg that what you are having is pork from a pig. visual pig peg.

    Jan 15, 2007 | 10:11 pm

  22. elit says:

    We usually use pigue or kasim for our barbecue. But now that we are a “bit” diet conscious, we use pork “lomo”. It is leaner and doesn’t come out tough after you grill it. My Ate’s recipe uses pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, salt, pepper, garlic and worcestershire sauce. Just before cooking she squeezes some calamansi in the marinated pork.

    Jan 15, 2007 | 10:13 pm

  23. Zita says:

    Speaking of bbq. I just made lamb kebab last week. I should post it soon… if I get to it. Lol. I still like the bbq that I used to eat dati sa kalye namin.

    Jan 15, 2007 | 10:31 pm

  24. cindy says:

    We use the usual brown sugar, garlic, sprite, toyo, clamansi combo, but when in a rush or plain lazy, a bottle of mama sita bbq marinade doctored a bit is pretty good. For brushing on the grill the lazy version is melted butter (or star marg) with ketchup. I f i have the time I make the basting sauce from pork broth, molasses, brown sugar and peanut butter —has to be lily’s—it comes out dark and a bit sticky like aristocrat or three sisters

    Jan 15, 2007 | 10:34 pm

  25. F1foodie says:

    So yummy but also so labor intensive! I have three suggestions you might want to take a swing at.

    1. If you are using a leaner cut, include about a quarter cup of vegetable oil into your marinade.
    2. The Chinese pre-treatment never hurts, about a Tablespoon or so of cornstarch added to your marinade.
    3. Pre soaking your skewers, before use, will keep some moisture in the meat and also assist in its easy release.

    Oh great! Now I have the wickedest cravings for Pork BBQ and papaya atchara, hahhah, thanks MM.

    Jan 15, 2007 | 10:39 pm

  26. Maria Clara says:

    Catalina’s recipe sounds wonderful. Thanks a million Catalina for sharing your recipe. I will definitely try it. Marinating and turning the meat twice a day helps a lot too. Two days of marinating and turning I believe is sufficient time. The meat should have sufficient fat to bath itself while on the flame thus yields a moist and juicy barbecue. When the barbecue first hit the flame it should be hot then move the barbecue to a tamed flame to finish it off while brushing it with the oiled marinate. I love it with papaya atchara and red fried rice which they called Java rice. Aridelros, I guess peanut sauce is for satay which is different from ours. Satay is dominant in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

    Jan 16, 2007 | 1:42 am

  27. Ted says:

    I used to make bbq with the pork shoulder or pork butt, but costco introduced me to the boneless sparerib cut, which i think the type of cut is from the meat that is inside of the ribs. They are already precut 2x2x8 and all i have to do is to make a 2x2x1 inch slice, they have enough marbling that you don’t need that extra fat at the bottom end of the stick.

    Now for the marinade, i got this from my mom’s secret recipe which i’ve been using for the last 20 summers of bbq’ing.
    For every kilo or 2lbs of meat, combine 1 cup of pineapple juice, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of kikkoman dark soy sauce, 1 whole head of garlic; crushed, 1/2 can of 7-up or Sprite, 1 tsp of ground black pepper.

    Marinate the cut up pork overnight or at least 4hrs, soak the bamboo sticks in water at the same time.

    Skewer the pork, and reserve a cup of the marinade. Add a 1/4 cup of banana catsup (if you want it spicy use the tamis- anghang) and 2tbsp of vegetable oil to the marinade and boil and simmer in a sauce pan for 5min to kill the trichonosis. You will brush this marinade to the bbq’d pork in it’s last 2 minutes of grilling.

    One more tip when grilling, cover the part of the grill where the handle of the stick will lay with double folded aluminum foil, to prevent the stick handles from burning.

    Jan 16, 2007 | 3:17 am

  28. Ted says:

    As for the achara, since it is really hard to get nice green papaya’s in my side of the world and if i get them the time to grate them and soak them in salted water waste too much of my time, so here’s another tip. I’ve been using the bottled sauerkraut as a substitute for the papaya, i just drain these sauerkrauts and wash them in water and then squeeze them dry (parang mano-manong labada), then put your own secret blend of spices and vinegar and walla,,,no one could tell the difference.

    Jan 16, 2007 | 3:25 am

  29. Maria Clara says:

    Ted your barbecue marinate sounds terrific too along with your grilling tips and your atchara sauerkraut. You eliminate the work of grating the papaya. Thank you for passing this along to us.

    Jan 16, 2007 | 4:27 am

  30. petitefleur says:

    I remember I was a chief cook in one of the functions we had in a catering class in college where the theme was cocktail. One of the dishes was BBQ and I used honey, catsup and soy sauce for basting. For the marinade, it was just calamansi, 7-up or sprite, salt and pepper. I prepared this dish many times and those who had the chance to taste eat asked for the recipe. Unfortunately, I lost the original recipe and couldn’t remember the measurements of each ingredient. :(

    Jan 16, 2007 | 7:19 am

  31. DivineG. says:

    BBQ sold on the street, yeah, they are good. I used to buy the BBQ tenga also and what they call the IUD chicken intestines. I think the vendors just used toyo, brown sugar, banana ketchup, kalamansi juice, salt and pepper and minced garlic. They could’nt have used more expensive ingredients or else they would not be making too much profit. If I make my marinade at home I still use the same ingredients but I sometimes add a little pineapple juice and a little oyster sauce. I had a friend who used to add peanut butter to the usual marinade and uses chicken instead of pork and they are good. In the States they usually call what we call bbq, kabobs. The Filipino stores have big chunks of meat , I still prefer the usual way the vendors did it, not too thin not too thick and cooked in a very hot grill at a very short time but cooked all the way thru so it still soft not tough.

    Jan 16, 2007 | 8:36 am

  32. mench says:

    my aunt uses “bilog” (GSM round, the liquor) instead of Sprite and it tastes good.

    Jan 16, 2007 | 10:34 am

  33. atwe says:

    Can’t BBQ because of the weather? Or live in a high-rise surrounded by more high-rises without BBQ facilities? Soaking the sticks in water for at least 3 hours before you make “tuhog” will allow you to use the oven grill or a convection microwave. Zapping the skewered meat in the microwave (times vary according to wattage) prior to grilling shortens cooking time and ensures those cooties cook.

    Jan 16, 2007 | 11:58 am

  34. Pete says:

    I love pork bbq on a stick. I’m so excited, I will be in manila on friday and the first thing I’m doing is going to JT Manukan to eat about 20 sticks of this lovely meat on a stick. I’ve been dieting for the past month. I want to reward myself with some BBQ and San Mig!

    Jan 16, 2007 | 2:55 pm

  35. trishlovesbread says:

    Amy Besa’s “Memories of Philippine Kitchens” has an excellent recipe for this marinade–it includes lemongrass, I think. I’ve also tried substituting ginger ale for the 7Up/Sprite and it was fantastic.

    Jan 16, 2007 | 4:33 pm

  36. stef says:

    we use “pork butt” here (US), which when translated seems to be our pork “pigue”, but actually pork butt comes from the pig’s shoulder. misleading terminology — no idea why americans do that.

    Jan 16, 2007 | 11:08 pm

  37. elna says:

    The key to a great bbq whether it’s chicken or pork is suka (coconut wine) vinegar. I simply add it to the marinade with the usual soy sauce, brown sugar, lots of garlic, kalamansi juice, a little bit of salt & pepper. Whenever I use tuba vinegar it always tasted just like the JT’s bbq or the best inasal I’ve had in Bacolod. Whenever I go visit the Phils I make sure I take back with me a lot of tuba vinegar as it is the key to the best adobo as well. I find that using any other vinegar for pinoy cooking like adobo or bbq is just not as tasty. For meat tenderizer, back home we always add to the marinade some juice of freshly grated unripe papaya – simply grate and squeeze juice like you’d extract gata from the grated coconut. For the cut of meat, kasim or belly is my favorite for pork bbq and thighs for chicken bbq.

    Jan 17, 2007 | 5:52 am

  38. Vennis says:

    i love barbequed pork!!!there’s no need to buy a pork or meat tenderizer its in the marinade and the way you cut your pork pieces.add lemon or calamansi or pineapple juice to your marinade of soy sauce,perrins,garlic crushed(for added street scent!!!)the acidity of the citrus tenderizes the meat naturally.the marinade my mom makes when I was still a kid till now I’m 26 varies in proportion…but it’s basically soy sauce,sugar,grated ginger,crushed garlic,vinegar,lemon or calamansi or pineapple juice,powdered pepper or crushed peppercorns,just adjust the proportions according to your taste, by the way, don’t add salt as salt toughens the meat.

    Jan 20, 2007 | 10:24 pm

  39. Spoilee says:

    I hate to be bias but I firmly believe that our traditional home concoction of barbeque marinate would be loved by all coupled with by the best meat in town… am looking for people to do taste testing on a regular basis…anyone interested for the pooling?

    contact me SPOIL at spoilee@gmail.com

    Jan 23, 2007 | 2:13 pm

  40. MasPinaSarap says:

    I tried throwing this stuff together once, 7-UP, brown sugar and all that, but I don’t think I marinated it long enough. Using Sukang Iloco will add a nice dark tang if you’re into that.

    Ted, I must try that recipes your recipe, thanks!

    Feb 2, 2007 | 7:34 am

  41. Raider says:

    i love cooking … i am still on the process of specializing my barbecue special i will soon share my recipe if i will have my special barbecue.

    Apr 10, 2007 | 3:50 pm

  42. BBQ Fan says:

    I love the Filipino BBQ Pork on a Stick. Every summer we have a local street market down town & the longest line are always for this item! I always wanted to try my hand at making it & with the above recipes will give it a shot. I asked once what they use for Marinate Or why the meat was a “pink” color before BBQ’ing & what I was told was That they use an ingredient Called “Torcino” a kind of a cure for meat. Anyone hear of using this?

    Jun 2, 2007 | 9:26 am

  43. Marketman says:

    BBQ Fan, redness could come from saltpeter or the same chemical/ingredient that can make ham pinkish. In Manila, many colks just add a little red food coloring to make it pinkish… I have a recipe for tocino in the archives that discusses this…

    Jun 2, 2007 | 9:39 am

  44. dhayL says:

    Whenever we’re having a pork bbq we always use “pork butt” (i don’t know what’s in tagalog) only because its tender and it cooks fast. Honestly, i never made a pork bbq using homemade marinade as yet, we often go with mamasitas’. Although, when i make baby back ribs, i often boil the meat first with peppercorns, onions, garlic, salt and bay leaf, then i throw it in the grill, and brush it with my homemade marinade – soy sauce, brown sugar, lemon or orange juice, and olive oil, and it taste pretty good!

    Catalina, you’re recipe sounds delicious, i should give it a try, and next time i should buy pork picnic instead! thanks!

    Jun 7, 2007 | 6:13 am

  45. BBQ Fan says:

    Well, I spoke to a coworker from PI & she let me in on a recipe that she uses from time to time to make the BBQ Pork on a Stick. She explains there are as many variations as there are vendors that sell it back in PI. Her version is something like this: To each Kg (2.2Lbs) Pork Add 1 cup Soy sauce, 1 head Garlic minced, 1 onion Chopped, 1/4 cup Calamansi Juice or 1 TBS Concentrate, 1/2 Cup Sprite, 1 Tsp Black Pepper, 3 TBS Brown sugar, 1/2 Cup Banana Catsup UFC. Marinate for 3 to 4 hours or overnight. I’m going to try this tomorrow & see how it compares. If it’s half as good as the BBQ Pork I get from the street faire I’ll be extremely Pleased!
    She also gave me a Faster version when time is short. It’s as follows. 2 cups Mama Sitas Barbecue Marinade, 1 TBS Calamansi concentrate, 1 tsp Salt, 1/4 tsp pepper. I also made up some of this & will BBQ it up tomorrow. Will share my results when done.

    Jun 10, 2007 | 3:09 pm

  46. BBQ Fan says:

    Well, Back to the ol’ Drawing board. Both came out ok. Just Ok. Both were a little too salty for my tastes & nothing like what I get down at the street faire. Oh well, will make some adjustments & see where that leads me. Observations for this cook. 1-Too Salty. 2-couldn’t taste the Garlick at all. 3-Maybe not let marinade overnight. 4-Couldn’t taste sweet at all. Will Try again Next weekend.

    Jun 11, 2007 | 8:41 am

  47. Marketman says:

    BBQ Fan, I would marinate for a few hours (though I have previously left it in the fridge/freezer longer). Then maybe the key is the cooking technique perhaps? You must cook it over a lower flame and continually baste… a sugary basting liquid may get you that sweetish finish you seek… good luck with the quest…

    Jun 11, 2007 | 8:57 am

  48. Maria says:

    When you are in manila, try Aling Nena`s Pork Barbecue in Market Market at The Fort. It`s superb.

    Sep 13, 2007 | 6:42 am

  49. prEttyD0LL says:

    When you are in Manila, you should try Grill Queen. They have lots of branches. The one I know of is in Kapitolyo West Subdivision (Near the gate) in Shaw Blvd. Pasig.

    Grill Queen is the best bbq I have ever tasted. I love their chicken ass also… hahaha… Also try their Grilled Squid and other stuff. A lot of expensive cars always pass by their bbq stall on their way home just to buy their delicious bbq.

    Also, when i visit Davao 1998, I also tried the best bbq in Padis Point. Never tired of ordering the same thing over and over again..

    Speaking of bbq, I’m going to Grill Queen later. Need to advance order for our team outing this Saturday…. Yipee!!

    Sep 19, 2007 | 3:00 pm

  50. Gaga says:

    Hello guys. I really do appreciated all the sharing. I will try to grill this weekend. My husband loves the Filipno pork bbq. Thank you again.

    Jun 25, 2009 | 9:28 pm


Market Manila Home · Topics · Archives · About · Contact · Links · RSS Feed

site design by pixelpush

Market Manila © 2004 - 2020