Binagoongang Pork Barbecue a la Marketman


Let me take a quick pork pause after all of the Bourdain-ishness of the past day or so. I will return with a post with a bit of the behind-the-scenes commentary and answers to some of your questions lodged in the previous posts on the No Reservations Philippines show, but first some pork, seeing as how the Philippines is now ranked #1 in the global pork hierarchy…heehee. I had started experimenting with a home-made pork barbecue to middling results. My first batch was made with liempo and three marinades and while delicious and fatty, I knew I had many more iterations to go before developing my ultimate version. And there are just too many variables to get this just one version right, if you know what I mean. But having pre-warned you all that I am hitting hurdles on the pork barbecue front, in a classic twist encouraged by a Marketman “why not?”, I decided to try a binagoongang pork barbecue and it was stunningly yummy…


Small pieces of liempo or pig’s belly marinated in a little soy, muscovado sugar, kalamansi, garlic, black pepper and placed on a stick. Just before grilling, slather the sticks with bottled Alavar’s bagoong (fermented fish shrimp paste) sauteed in coconut milk and grill until just done. OMIGOD. Fatty, flavorful pork with caramelized bits and moist meat in one mouthful, but with the saltiness and sweetness of the bagoong on top of it all. Fantastic with a little vinegar and lots of rice. So simple. So obvious. All-natural, no food coloring. Yet I have never had it anywhere else. Binagoongang Pork Barbecue a la Marketman. The joys of Filipino pork indeed. :)


61 Responses

  1. Holy pig, Marketman! Binagoongan BBQ, why ever not indeed? My planned lunch of a grilled cheese sandwich is now looking sad and wan, I want pork!

  2. we use the same marinade for pork bbq but adding bagoong is something new and a marketman original again ;)

    i will try doing that this weekend

  3. mdg, you must use the bagoong in coconut milk, as it is moister and less likely to char. If you can’t find Alavar’s, saute bagoong with coconut cream and a little muscovado sugar. And don’t grill for too long, as burned bagoong will be a bit unpleasant.

  4. MM,

    Quick queries…

    1. Where can you purchase Alavar’s bagoong Is it available in supermarkets?

    2. If you add the bagoong to the marinade, will that save the bagoong from burning once the BBQ is grilled?

  5. You took bagoong to an upper tier in your recent ultimate barbecue quest! The burning charcoal is all flared up with the fat rendered from the meat that makes it more inviting rather than the pungent aroma of my beloved bagoong. You are history in the making. I can taste Manila with this combo. I am awaiting BettyQ’s input on this who I believe barbecue is one of her expertise too.

  6. To Quillene, a friend from Zamboanga brings in Alavar’s bagoong and their special curacha sauce whenever she is in Manila. You can order bottles from her. Let me know if you want to reach her by email or text (my email is

  7. quillene, it is available at Alavar’s. Check on my post on alavar’s in the archives, I think a member of the family left a comment about the locations you can find the bagoong at… Also, I wouldn’t add bagoong to the marinade, the pork will get way too salty. Just slather it on at the very last minute before you grill it.

  8. OMG, the snow cannot melt soon enough for me to start grilling … although true canadians grill year round – I can’t wrap my head around putting on thermals and a heavy coat to fire up the barbie!

  9. What a coincidence! Thanks to Mila, I have some of that very same delish bagoong right here — I had to have some after tasting it in the Cebu eyeball. And I’m planning to use it in Binagoongan to surprise F on his birthday tomorrow! I won’t do this barbecue version, though, as I have no grill. For my first attempt (would you believe I’ve never even cooked with pork before?!), I will just cook the regular binagoongan. I am reading your posts about it for ideas right now. Wish me luck! :-D

  10. No Alavar’s bagoong available here :( I do have some of the curacha sauce which was a pasalubong from a friend. Maybe I’ll try the curacha sauce on the bbq. . .

  11. barbeque with bagoong… why havent i thought of that? ah, kasi wala akong alavar’s bagoong, hehehe… anyways, i always like my bbq matamis. and even when i make bagoong alamang, i add loads of sugar. what kind of bagoong is alavar, is it fish or shrimp?

    suggestion… why not try bbq ala bangkok sampaloc – sweet, salty, sour, and chili. i would have done it if i have the luxury of time and money. but with you doing all these experiments, we learn and experience them na rin through you…

    thanks… sayang, i didnt hear it well when you were addressed by your name in NR. :)

  12. ooops, read through the blog again… fish pala ang alavar bagoong. i didnt know na you can guisa fish bagoong with gata. since havent seen one yet, is it the ground type like bagoong balayan, or with the fish na buo like padas? is the consistency paste-likeor watery? sorry po sa kulit, just want to know so i can sub the proper bagoong when i make’s recommended substitution. thank you po uli…

  13. MM, and for the convenience of travelers who are afraid to travel with glass bottles, I buy a really yummy canned bagoong in gata at SM Makati (this is standard alis-bayan pasalubong). The cans are small-ish, and lovely to make bagoong rice with. I think I can try it on barbeque too…

  14. thanks mm! will trawl through the old posts..

    I wonder if bettyq will be able to get away with this. I know she has previously posted that she has a hard time of it from her neighbors i think, when she has to cook with bagoong. :)

  15., ah ok po… thought it was fish because i read it as that >>> “Just before grilling, slather the sticks with bottled Alavar’s bagoong (fermented fish paste) sauteed in coconut milk and grill until just done.”

  16. MM, I just ran out and I don’t pay attention to the brand name because it’s the only one there… Will let you know soon asap :)

  17. I need to do this one before my general check up result comes out next week and my doctor start scolding me on my cholesterol level…..then put me on medication :). I just counter it with a lot of green apple and beetroot juice. I’m drooling now with this MM BBQ.

    BTW can anyone start selling this in honor of our dear MM :) who continously innovate our filipino food….heeehehehe

  18. Oh, yes Maria Clara…Smoked Binagoongan. I knew there has to be a reason why I bought a whole liempo last Sunday though i didn’t know it then! …though I think I will just marinate liempo slices in vinegar, lots of pounded garlic, freshly cracked pepper, barbecued on high heat till I get the grill marks and then smeared with bagoong and finished in the oven till tender…HAVE TO HAVE GARLIC SINANGAG with it though!!!
    This is a KILLER when my SALTED DUCK EGGS are ready, eaten with tomatoes….haaaay!!!

    Oh, Angela: You have a Pinoy store there, right? Buy the bagoong brand called Zamboanga. Yes, there is one called that and I think it is the closest we can get here to simulate the taste of Alavar bagoong.

    Quillene: I believe in the adage….”if there is a will, there’s a way.” There is an advantage of BELOW ZERO degree weather…neighbours’ windows and sliding doors are CLOSED!!!…though that means I will be wearing my toque, ear muffs and mitts which doesn’t bother me at all!!!

  19. Oh, talk about beetroot juice…Maria Clara and Jun: I got an e-mail from Rina from CA saying that a tocino factory? uses beet powder as coloring but didn’t know where to get it. So right away, I called health food stores and it is accessible from natural or health food stores. here a 400 gm. bottle only costs $7.99. Though I think you can just process frsh beets in the juicer and adjust the sugar in the tocino since beet juice is really sweet….that is if you want the typical red colored tocino and you know what? …it does look like the typical red tocino!

    Maraming Salamat, Rina!

  20. Bettyq, does that mean the cold season is when you cram all the wonderful bagoong-laden dishes onto the table? hehehe!!!

    I will pass on this tip to my cousin who is newly transplanted to Vancouver due to work…

    Thanks much, bettyq! God Bless!

  21. myra, I blog while pushing my grocery cart down the aisles…hahaha. No, I just happened to be headed out to SM when I read your last comment. The brand(s) by the way are: Moondish Bagoong sa Gata (PHP29), and Barrio Fiesta Sweet ginisang Bagoong (PHP26.50). How’s that for an active, informative blog…heeheehee.

  22. A “pork pause”? I like that! My whole life is a pork pause! Hehehe ;) This is serious genius MM! Definitely a must try!

  23. Yum. I had binagoongan this weekend – but the pork was crispy. Never had it with pork barbecue – I must convince the parents to make it next time I visit. My neighbors in my highrise will not appreciate the aroma if I make it at home.

  24. Looks yummy! Isn’t there a mediterranean marinade that uses anchovies?

    I finally saw the clip in youtube! Congratulations MM! And the live commentaries were hilarious! The sound and sight of the lechon skin was UNBELIEVABLE!

  25. Yes, I can imagine you blogging while shopping. I don’t think it’s beyond you. lol. Btw, I don’t like sweet bagoong, that’s why I didn’t mention the sweet version. But, I will have the viscous Thai version because it’s salty, sweet and HOT. It practically glues itself to a spear of green mango… Perfect with your barbecue.

  26. BettyQ: Perhaps that beetroot red coloring will work also in bagoong to make them more inviting and red velvet cake. Thanks for sharing this tip BettyQ!

  27. Now you are going to think I do not have a life as this is my second posting on your site today! Just saw this posting and I am now officially pissed off that my boyfriend threw away my prized bottle of bagoong today, he thought it had gone off :( And I so wanted to make this dish.

  28. Thanks MM! The asian stores here in VA sell the Barrio Fiesta brand. I too will brave the cold this weekend!!! My neighbors will truly think that I’m crazy!!!

  29. MM, you must have a lot of stock with the drug “lipitor”. Lots of cholesterol and rice equals to diabetes. Just looking at the pictures makes me hungry. Nice experiment, is the Alavar bagoong the same as Barrio Fiesta sweet bagoong.

  30. ariel, no Alavar’s is not the same as BF sweet, the better alternative would be the canned bagoong with coconut milk… Marney, not odd to have a second comment for the day, there are dozens of folks who leave multiple comments a day…cheesehead, not sure if there is a med marinade with anchovies but I wouldn’t be surprised, they are so flavorful…

  31. MM..that Moondish and Barrio Fiesta bagoong are great balikbayan giveaways as they are canned. I’ve used the Moondish as it has coconut milk.

    Your barbecue is different.Will try that.
    bettyq was watching a cook show and they used the beetroot juice to add as coloring to the red cabbage dressing (with balsamic vinegar)-this completes the color they were trying to achieve.

  32. MM, are you doing barbecue chronicles next? Much as I would like to try this, my husband has a terrible shrimp allergy. May I ask you for a good substitute? Perhaps Thai curry paste will work, what do you think?? Thanks!

  33. Im wiping the saliva off my chin as we speak! I’m pregnant and bagoong is a no-no but something, at the momment, I NEED to have on everything! You think I can do this recipe in a turbo oven? what do you think?

  34. Has anyone tried the vacuum packed bagoong in a tetra pack yet? I’ve only seen it in one location, and I have yet to buy it. It’s packed in what looks like a vacuum sealed packet, so it could be a less bulky option for pasalubong. I’ll try to find it and post it on this list so people can search for it in their supermarkets.

  35. dying…dying…im dying here in dubai…and seeing that epi of No Reservations with lechon and now this post…sigh makes me wanna cry… we have pork here and bagoong (but not alavar’s) but we cant bbq it out in the open, nor do we have fresh whole pigs…

  36. denise: is the bagoong that you have there already sauteed and bottled? If it is, then you can simulate the flavour by adding canned coconut cream to it, and a little vinegar and a touch of sugar (unless what you get is already the sweet kind). That’s what I did to mine kasi the Pinoy store here has run out of Zamboanga sauteed alamang! I wonder why?!? So I bought a different brand and just added coconut cream!!!

  37. bettyQ…yup we have bottled sauteed bagoong here…and since there’s a huge indian community, we can get fresh niyog :D…my only gripe is we cant bbq or grill that much coz we live in a flat…the neighbors are peeved more than enough with us by cooking tuyo every week, so grilling pork with bagoong might be grounds for eviction…hehe…but maybe baked/roast? hmmm… hehe we’ll see…(btw…my uncle just made sisig this afternoon, so my pork craving was satisfied a bit)

  38. Denise: Do you have one of those indoor grills (electric)? I would just simply grill the pork on those and then smear with the bagoong/alamang and then put them on tray, cover with foil and finish cooking in the oven….para hindi mangamoy. I know very well what you are going through. Believe me,,,you can become resourceful.

  39. Golly, gee MM. 2:13 AM here and I’m drooling over your Binagoongan Pork BBQ. What am I to do to quell this craving?

  40. Looking at the ingredients: bagoong, coconut milk, liempo


    Then made a doeble take…”Alavar’s Bagoong”


    I think i have to check my reservation at the Philippine Heart Center before trying out that recipe!

    One question though MM:

    Why do pinoy barbecues have to have that token piece of fat at the end of the stick? Is it tradition? Certainly not aesthetics, no?

  41. Papichulo, I think the obligatory piece of fat is so that they can use up the pieces of fat that inevitably occur when you have large pieces of pork, and others would argue as it cooks and renders, the fat flavors the rest of the barbecue as you brush it with additional marinade and when you lift it off of the flames. And actually, some folks consider that chunk of fat their favorite part, although I always leave it untouched. juls, I think bagoong for this dish… mirroring the binagoongang pork or lechon kawali flavor pairing. Bong, sorry, didn’t mean to elicit such reaction so early in the morning… :)

  42. Hallo MM: Now is the time to tell the truth ! What is it, a fish or shrimp sauce ? What i mean is the Alavar sauce !In this part of the world, the Pinoy asian stores are dead !We have only an Asian Thai store which is billiger(cheaper ) than the late P I stores !I’ll try to ask the lady about it if not, I can buy it next month at SM Karuhatan !!!And two kilos of liempo for me alone , he he he !!!

  43. Wow! I am salivating in NJ!

    First kudos to you & Ivan & Claude & Augusto for doing a such a MARVELOUS job initiating Bourdain in to the joys of Filipino food! Never you mind the negative comments! Inggit lang sila! I’d kill for a piece of one of those lechon!

    I have Noel Vera to thank for posting your site on I wish you would put an alert in that chat group to relieve the tedium of political harangues on there!

    I have just one request: could you do more about Tagalog cooking – Laguna, Batangas & Bulacan – of course Rizal, too. I am from Cabuyao, Laguna myself & I’ve only been back for a visit twice since 1971. But not a night goes by that I don’t dream of the Filipino dishes I love!

    Carry on MarketMan!

  44. wow this sounds a yummy barbecue,never heard of in my entire life. hi Vicky,my dad is from Cabuyao too! I have not been there since I was a child. I remember the Tagalog dishes are a bit sweeter, esp.the ones with the soy sauce base. At least that is what I remember from my aunts cooking.
    I love to cook and experiment,but now my mom and brother went back to Philippines so I am by myself eating all my experimented dishes,lol. Yuck, I don’t like this cuz I gained weight,I better stop, after I try this barbecue….hahahaha!



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