Happy Easter Monday! Easter is always a big deal in my house, which means there’s usually a big meal to go with it. Filipinos always celebrate big events with big meals. We express a lot of our love by sharing meals with those with love–every birthday, holiday, graduation, or other special occasion. We’re also Catholic so Easter and Christmas are big ones for us.
So, after going to morning mass, my parents and I buckled down to prepare another Easter Sunday dinner with my sister and brother-in-law. This year’s menu was as follows: fried rice, steamed broccoli, turon for dessert, and for the main dish, Filipino pork barbecue. We have this pork barbecue at least twice a year for special occasions. When I graduated from grad school, we grilled barbecue in the rain.
Now, “barbecue” can have a lot of different meanings. To some it means the act of barbecuing meat on a grill. To others it’s the grill itself or the name of the event where they serve grilled meat. It could even mean the sauce that you douse the meat in before or after cooking it. For FIlipinos the word barbecue means skewered pork that is marinated overnight and grilled to juicy charred perfection. And man, is it delicious.
This dish is perfect for Easter because it’s best served grilled, and spring weather is perfect for grilling. I’ve had a baked paleo version made with healthier ingredients that I found on another blog, but it just isn’t the same. To get the full effect, it has to be grilled. My dad is the master griller in the family, and he says the secret is to cook it on all sides. Grill it closed first to let the insides cook, and then open it and just keep turning the skewers until it’s cooked perfectly all around. You’ll know it’s done when it has that beautiful golden brown coloring.
The other secret to this dish comes from my mom. Many FIlipino barbecues share a lot of the same ingredients, namely ketchup, but my mom has perfected her blend over the years and she finally shared it with me! The most important part of this marinade is the Mama Sita’s Barbecue Marinade sauce. It creates the base for the flavor while the rest of the ingredients give it that extra punch of epic goodness. We use this marinade on ribs–another Easter/family favorite–and it works best if the meats marinate overnight. It’s time consuming but totally worth it. Sometimes we have to earn the calories we consume, and this is no exception.
This recipe is pretty close to my heart. It’s one I’ve been dying to learn and one I look forward to cooking by myself one day. For now, I’ll just ooo and awww at the glory of my parents’ teamwork in putting this meal together–my mother’s bulletproof marinade and my father’s master grilling. There’s no way to go wrong there. So, I’ll just have to wait until the next family event to pull this recipe out. Praise God for talented parents and amazing meals!
What do you make for holidays or special occasions? How do you spend your Easter?
Filipino Pork Barbecue
- 1 lb pork butt cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 lb pork belly with skin cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
- 12 oz Mama Sita's Babecue Marinade
- 1 can lager beer
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- salt + pepper + garlic powder to taste
- 1-2 tbsp sriracha
- 1-2 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/2 cup calamansi (lemon juice)
- 1 packet long skewers
Season the pork with salt, pepper and garlic powder in a large bowl. Add the Mama Sita's Barbecue Sauce, beer, sriracha, ketchup, honey, calamansi and garlic. Mix well and marinate overnight, at least 8 hours.
Soak skewers in water for at least 10 minutes to prevent burning when grilling. Skewer pork on stick 4-6 per stick, depending on how long your skewer is. Save the extra marinade for basting.
Grill at 350-400 degrees on all sides until golden brown and slightly charred. Baste the skewers after flipping to keep the meat moist and juicy. Serve with rice!