Barbecued Pork Chops, Pinoy Style…


What is it about the smell of grilled pinoy pork chops, redolent with soy sauce, garlic, pepper and something sweet like sugar or 7up, still oozing fat that is packed with flavor, and begs for vinegar to cut the richness of the meat? And why does my crew always prefer their barbecued pork chops almost singed to the consistency of charcoal, eliminating almost all of the meat’s moisture? Hmmm, this stack of pork chops was dinner for the crew one night at the beach and I thought of a brilliant business idea while photographing the chops. I would bottle the essence of key Filipino dishes and give them names like “Eau de Baboy” or “Smokey Tinapa” then sell these to dieters or even Pinoys abroad in some far-flung lean pork (or no pork) nation so they can close their eyes and get a whiff of all their pinoy favorites…literally.

Now, if only I could figure out a way to have smell on my blog…can you imagine pc2logging on in Canberra, Calgary or Cork and smelling the lechon paksiw, binagoongang baboy or fried danggit on the screen??? Then we could have special buttons for burps and toots too…heeheehee. The brilliance of local inihaw na baboy probably lies in the pork itself. It has fat and it is mighty proud of that. Then we soak it in lots of soy sauce, smashed garlic, spices, and a touch of sugar. Another key is the local charcoal…somehow it yields a different (I think better) flavor from say charcoal briquettes or worse, a gas flame. Once it is off the flame, the pork is best when dipped into a sawsawan of your choice…some like vinegar and chilies, or others like patis and kalamansi, or any one of dozens of dipping sauces. Served with boiled rice and a nice vegetable side dish or a tart/sweet condiment like acharra, and it is one of the most satisfying meals I can think of that seems quintessentially pinoy…


18 Responses

  1. Marketman,
    This is too much of a temptation….I have diabetes and my hba1c test has been really bad these past couple of months (over 11) but this is one meal I can’t say no kapag may get together kaming mga pinoy dito sa Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area….I love it with fat -and with sukang maanghang and tons of rice….I too have lost over 25 pounds over the past 6 months (25 pounds more to go according to my doctor and my dietician). Love your site…

  2. Too much char means carcinogens..yikes! I like barbecue but to a certain cooking method. I won’t mind eating it with fat but to eat barbecue so often and too charred- I don’t like to stock up carcinogens in my body. I want to live longer and enjoy eating more!

  3. As Emeril Lagasse says, “you gotta get smell-a-vision!”. I love the taba on inihaw na porkchop, specially when it is tostado. Unfortunately, in this part of the world I moved to, the pork is always lean. One Christmas, I asked the hubby if we could have ham instead of leg of lamb (we both don’t like turkey) so that I could have that Paskong Pinoy feeling. My, what a letdown! The ham was so lean. I was left craving for a Fiesta Ham!

  4. I don’t know what’s with me and pork chops, but I just can’t cook that piece of meat. It always comes out dry and tough whatever recipe I use. My tita can cook tender and juicy barbecued pork chops, I asked her how she does it, ingredients etc, sometimes she just uses salt and pepper to season it, sometimes soy sauce, vinegar lots of garlic and a little bit of sugar. But no matter what marinade she uses, it always comes out perfectly for her, but not for me… And it’s not undercooked either, because our family can’t stand the sight of blood not even a hint of blood in food.

  5. every sunday, and i mean EVERY sunday, at my mom’s, we have grilled pork. it’s either pork chop or pork belly. the sawsawan invariably is toyo, kalamansi, chopped onions, a crushed garlic and three pieces of sili. the kids like it with catsup. for some reason, di kami nagsasawa. we even eat the leftovers for 3’oclock merienda with some bahaw na rice. yumm!

  6. Sylvia,
    The closest I’ve found to an old-fashioned Pinoy ham is a country ham I get from Clifty Farms, in Paris, Tennessee. You have to soak it for 24 hours, simmer in water(and pineapple juice if desired) for 3 hours and then bake and glaze for 1 hr. It is fatty and tender and salty, and not as dry as a Virginia Smithfield ham (often sold in Chinatown).

  7. I find that brining pork chops makes it jucier, but i guess that marinating in soy sauce itself may have the same effect. Also having the chops sliced thicker (at least 1″)yields better results when grilling. I was able to purchase some kurobota pork, which they say is the kobe beef of the pig world, at P950 per kilo. I haven’t cooked it yet so I can’t say if its worth the price.

  8. I prefer grilled liempo although i’ve been avoiding it now. Yeah pork chops tend to get tough & dry if you overcook them. My bro in-law who’s a chef advised me to always grill meat on high charcoal flame at first. After both sides are seared you may adjust the grill. You dont want to lose all the valuable juice.:)

  9. Thank you, Sister, for that tip! I checked out the Clifty Farms website. I just might have a merry Christmas after all.

  10. I, for one, do NOT want smell-a-vision! It’s bad enough just reading about and seeing pictures of the food; if I could smell it, as well, I would lose ALL self-control (not that I have much to lose)! At least 70% of taste is smell, and the smell of food activates the salivary glands, so MM — sending “Eau de Baboy” to dieters would be akin to torture! I bet Bread Talk knows this and deliberately makes the smell of baking bread permeate their stores. (Can you tell I am currently on a diet, therefore sensitive to any form of temptation? ;-)

  11. There’s really something about the aroma of Pinoy food. Everytime I go to Market Market to buy organic veg, all those turo-turos make me salivate. the smell is a combination of inihaw, bagoong, almost enough to give up being a vegetarian… then I look at my buys and feel a bit cheated. But then later, I come up with exciting ways to cook veg and I don’t feel so bad. If I had to choose one last meal on earth, it would probably be inihaw na baboy or sinigang na baboy. I (used to anyway) love pork.

  12. Yeh… how about sending it my way in Virginia :) . I could use some Eau de Baboy. Actually I’ve got a couple of good chops in the freezer, with the fat still attached mind you which is a rarity in this parts. MM , can you post the relative ratio of the soy, to 7-up , I never seem to get that part right.

  13. The scent of broil pork is MEGA POWER, very invigorating and inviting the appetite. You can smell the pork fat grilling miles away and smoky too. Feasting on grilled pork chops with vinegar based sawsawan is mind blowing.

  14. love that inihaw. but i like the olden days inihaw, more of a vinegary black pepper taste as opposed to the sweeter (7Up?) kind that you have in pinoy restaurants these days.

    Cook’s Illustrated has a failsafe way to pancook chops without them ending up dry and stringy. too long to post here but basically the idea is to use medium low heat so you cook the middle witout burning the outside, but you must remove from heat while the middle is still pink (the residual heat will finish off the cooking). Wait a minute too long and it’ll be a minute too late.

  15. Marketman,

    In honor of your post, I made inihaw na baboy tonight. Nothing beats the crisp, autumn air than the smell of sizzling pork in the air. Of course, there was the vinegar/garlic dip. Supper was so good tonight. (burp)

  16. Yep I agree that our charcoal gives our barbeques it’s distinct flavour because even if I follow the recipe to a T when we cook it here the taste is somehow different to the philippine one.



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