Filipino adobo is both ubiquitous and comfort food, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be an attractive party dish. On the grill, the surface gets charred and the fat turns lightly crisp. Best of all, it can be served as a main dish or as finger food to go with drinks. What’s not to love about grilled pork adobo?
And here’s the best part. The first stage of cooking can be done days ahead. On the day of the party, just take out the precooked skewered pork and lay on the hot grill. In less than five minutes, you have perfect grilled pork adobo.
First stage of cooking? Precooked? Let me explain.
My grilled pork adobo is made with three-quarter-inch thick pieces of pork belly. If cooked directly on the grill, the meat wouldn’t be as tender. Over high heat, the surface will char and the meat will get cooked through but it won’t reach that stage of tenderness that separates good adobo from mediocre versions. Only long and slow cooking can make that happen.
So, I did the cooking in two stages.
I cut the pork and skewered the pieces. Then, I let the skewered meat braise in adobo sauce. One hour was all it took.
The pork was cooled to room temperature then grilled over very high heat. Two minutes per side and they were perfectly done. And, to add more interesting contrast, I basted the grilled pork adobo with simple syrup infused with kaffir lime leaves and continued grilling for a few seconds longer.
So, this grilled pork adobo requires a stove top grill? Oh, no. A wood-burning grill or one heated with glowing charcoal will give the meat better flavor and aroma. But it was raining the day I cooked the grilled pork adobo so I had to do the grilling indoors on the stovetop grill.
- 700 grams pork belly
- 6 to 8 bamboo skewers
- ¼ to ⅓ cup vinegar
- ¼ to ⅓ cup soy sauce
- 6 cloves garlic, lightly pounded
- ½ teaspoon crushed peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- a sprig of oregano
- ¼ cup simple syrup
- Cut the pork belly into ¾ inch slices. Cut each slice into pieces about two inches wide.
- Thread the pork pieces with bamboo skewers, three to four pieces per stick.
- Spread non stick paper on the bottom of a wide shallow pan. Arrange the skewered pork in a single layer.
- Pour in the vinegar and soy sauce. Add the garlic, peppercorns, bay lead and oregano. Bring to the boil then lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer the pork for about 30 minutes per side.
- (If making a huge batch of grilled pork adobo, You can use a baking tray. Line with non-stick paper, lay out the skewered pork, add the seasonings and spices, cover the tray tightly with foil and bake in the oven for about an hour at 325F.)
- Cool the pork in the remaining sauce.
- (If you're cooking for a crowd, you can chill the pork after it has cooled. No need to transfer to another container and no need to pour off the remaining sauce. Just keep tightly wrapped with foil. The skewered pork adobo must be brought down to room temperature before grilling.)
- Heat the grill. Very high temperature is essential. Lay the skewered pork adobo on the grill and cook for two minutes per side. That should be just enough time to char the surface of the meat and allow the fat to turn a little crisp. Brush with simple syrup and grill for another few seconds.
- Serve the grilled pork adobo over rice or with beer.
- Or serve with nothing else. It's perfect by itself anyway.