This is the recipe for my Mom’s Filipino BBQ Marinade that I wrote about in a recent Epicurious essay.
I remember as a teen I would always always steal and read cover to cover my moms Glamour magazines. I would always look at the masthead and read all the journalists who worked at Glamour and there was always some wishful thinking that maybe one day I would be in a Conde Nast Publication.
Who knew that 2o years later an essay about Filipino BBQ would get me in Epicurious. Honestly food writing was never ever in the back of my mind as a career option. It was just something that happened. With this particular opportunity I jumped at the chance when I saw that the Editor for Epicurious was looking for stories about the 4th of July that didn’t involve the usual hamburgers and hotdogs.
Instantly I thought about my family’s time in Japan while my Dad was serving the US Navy. Looking back at it now, it was not the norm and super strange but to me and my other Military Brats it was the norm.
Here are the links to all the four essays by a vary diverse group of people. It was an honor to be with them talking about my food memories.
“The Most Popular Food at This Japanese 4th of July Party Is My Mother’s Filipino Barbecue” – Rezel Kealoha
“Our 4th of July Ritual Is Less About Hot Dogs and More About Dumplings” by Hetty McKinnon
“It’s Hard for Me to Wrap My Chef-y Brain Around, But Our Barbecues Aren’t Really About the Food.” by Chef Katy Smith
“On the Most American Holiday, My Family Feels the Most Caribbean” – Brigid Washington
Now the marinade that I talked about in the essay. I had many DM’s and emails for the recipe so here it is. I watched my mom make it the day before the 4th of July. Because we are using pineapple juice for both flavor and as a meat tenderizer, it is very important that you don’t over marinate.
At most 24 hours in the refrigerator is perfect. Anymore and the meat will turn into much. The marinade works really well with pork, but you can also use chicken or beef as well. We have not tried it with vegetables, but probably a small amount of the marinade will work well with chunks of portabello.
These quantities make for about 45 skewers.
First cut the pork into thin strips and set that aside before making the marinade. In a 1 gallon plastic bag or a huge deep baking tray mix the marinade. Add everything and mix well until the sugar has dissolved. Taste is super important here and the reason why we didn’t pour everything over the raw meat.
Adjust the sweetness or the saltiness according to your taste. When you are satisfied add in the pork. Cover and leave to rest in the refrigerator overnight.
While it’s is marinating, place some wooden skewers in a shallow bowl and cover with water. This will help prevent the sticks from burning while grilling.
The next day take out the pork and start to skewer the meet. Depending on how long you cut the pork skewers 2-3 pieces on each stick. Place it back in the marinade.
Grill on medium to high heat for about 5 minutes on each side. The pork will be super tender and juicy and perhaps a little burnt. Those are actually the best parts. We like eating hours with some pancit made with udon noodles. The ultimate Filipino/Japanese dish.
The next day take out the pork and start to skewer the meet. Depending on how long you cut the pork skewers 2-3 pieces on each stick. Place it back in the marinade until grilling time.
In my essay I wrote about the original ingredients using Soy Sauce and Brown Sugar. You can still use those ingredients in the same quantities, just omitting the extra salt when you do.
My family needs to keep track of our sugar and salt intake hence the deviation. It actually still tastes exactly the same.
We also could not find pineapple juice with crushed chunks so we just used some regular pineapple just. Again it didn't change the flavor at all.