Don’t they look just fabulous? Succulent pieces of pork interspersed with fresh slices of sweet and tangy pineapple. Long time readers of the blog might be aware that I seem to only have one acute food allergy — to pineapples. I used to LOVE eating pineapple as a kid, particularly the hard juicy core, and consumed a LOT of pineapples. Then sometime after college, and living abroad for many years, I started to get an itchy mouthfeel whenever I ate fresh pineapple and now my throat starts to constrict, I get rashes, and frankly, I can’t even be close to anyone peeling and slicing a pineapple! Despite this, I still occasionally try dishes with cooked pineapple, or canned pineapple, but try to stay away from fresh pineapples. I even get nailed if I take fruit from a hotel buffet and the utensils have touched some pineapple earlier in the day… :(
But the “pork barbecue on a stick obsession” was taking root, and on the way to Nasugbu, I concocted a pork and pineapple version while driving by pineapple plantations and vowed to give it a go at the beach. We stopped and purchased a few fresh pineapples in Silang, Cavite, and thankfully we were traveling in several vehicles, so the pineapples were exiled to another car, far away from me and my allergy. :) At the beach, the crew peeled a pineapple, blitzed it in a powerful blender, and strained the pulp to yield nearly two cups of insanely fresh pineapple juice. To about 2/3 kilo of sliced pork, I added about a cup or so of pineapple juice, several tablespoons of brown sugar, some Sprite, several tablespoons of Kikkoman soy sauce, and some salt and pepper. I let this marinate for about two hours or less, intuitively worried about meat texture with excessive time in the marinade…
The pork was then skewered onto the bamboo sticks, with pieces of freshly peeled pineapple in-between the pork. The leftover marinade was placed in a small saucepan and brought to a boil, with a touch more brown sugar added and seasoned with salt and pepper. I didn’t taste this until it had boiled for several minutes, and it seemed to be a nice balance of sweet and sour. My tongue still got a little itchy despite the pineapple juice having been boiled.
Onto a nice hot grill, the pork and pineapples were basted several times with the sauce, and cooked until slightly golden, with a few charred bits of fat. When we tried to flip them over, some of the pineapples and meat stuck to the grill, the first sign of something going awry…
…but they looked really appetizing and smelled amazing. We were all getting quite hungry, and some of the crew who are big on pineapples in food were already counting on several sticks of this version of barbecue!
After taking all the barbecue sticks off the grill and cooling them for a few minutes, I bit into my first piece of pork and within a split second, wanted to spit it back out! It was DISGUSTING! Apparently, the fresh pineapple juice had just truly pummeled the meat, making it a pulpy and obnoxiously distasteful mess. GROSS, actually. Never before have I cooked something so downright unexpectedly AWFUL! I thought maybe my allergies had something to do with my reaction, but the crew all tasted this version and couldn’t even finish a single stick! Yuck. Turns out fresh pineapple and pork can be really, really bad news and a food critic on television a day or two later was railing about the horrible combination and I completely understood why he was being so vehement about the topic. Canned pineapple and pineapple juice is a different story I gather from Bettyq’s comment in a previous post… but I am now elightened. No pork with fresh pineapple ever again! This was the first dish to get a big fat ZERO on the marketman scale. Sorry to say, it’s next stop was the rubbish bin. :(