Tender pork skewers slathered in homemade Filipino BBQ sauce. Sweet, tangy and so flavorful. Grill over hot charcoal, cook in the oven, pan-grill, and or cook in the air-fryer.
Perfect for summertime gatherings, weekend dinners with friends and family, or whenever your craving strikes!
Best Pork Cut
The best pork cut for pork skewers is pork shoulder. It has a nice marbled fat that makes a tender and juicy barbecue.
For a low-fat version, use pork tenderloin or pork loin. In this recipe, I use a combination of pork shoulder and pork belly for juicier barbecue skewers.
How to Make it
Here's an overview of how to make Filipino pork BBQ skewers:
- Slice the pork.
- Make the marinade and barbecue baste.
- Marinate the pork.
- Soak the bamboo skewers in water.
- Cook the pork–you can do this in the grill, oven, or even in the air-fryer.
How to Slice the Pork
Using a sharp knife, slice the meat into ¼-inch thick slices, 1-inch-wide, 2-inch-long. Don't worry about the length of some pieces shed, just focus on even thickness.
Cutting the pork this way will make it easier to thread. It will also cook faster and evenly on the grill.
Pro Tip: To easily slice the meat, place it in the freezer for 30 mins to 1 hour. This helps firm up the meat, making it easier to cut and slice.
How Long to Marinate Pork
Pour the marinade into the pork and press down making sure each piece is fully submerged. Cover tightly with a plastic wrap and refrigerate. To save space in the refrigerator, you can also place it in a resealable bag.
I recommend marinating the pork for a minimum of 6 hours and up to 2 days. The meat becomes more tender and flavorful as it sits longer in the marinade.
Assemble the Pork Skewers
Threading the pork into the skewers is the most time-consuming step but totally worth it! I usually start with pork belly and use 4 to 5 pieces of meat per skewer.
Pro Tip: If using bamboo skewers, soak them in cold water for 30 minutes to 1 hour before threading. With the moisture added, it will last longer in the grill without charring or burning. Note: Keep them soaking as you work on the skewers. They do dry up easily.
How to Grill
The best and traditional way of cooking these pork skewers is over a charcoal grill. Nothing beats that "grill-flavored" barbecue. But if that is not available or if you're someone who lives in an apartment without a backyard garden, then here's some good news for you. You can also cook this in an indoor griddle and even in a grill pan!
Here are my cooking tips:
- To prevent the meat from sticking to the grill, pre-heat over high heat and brush it with oil. When it starts smoking then it's ready. Reduce the heat to medium heat before adding the pork skewers.
- Cook the pork BEFORE basting with the barbecue sauce. Adding it early in the cooking process while the meat is still raw will cause the pork to burn.
- Baste the meat with 2 to 3 coats of the BBQ sauce and cook until caramelized and slightly charred on the edges (writing this is making me hungry! hahaha). If a flare-up occurs, turn and move the skewers around.
- Do not leave the pork skewers unattended as the sugar from the sauce can easily burn.
- The only way to check if the pork skewer is done is to taste it. Total cooking time should be around 10 to 12 minutes.
Pro TIP: If using a grill pan, cover with a lid to prevent splatters. If using a charcoal grill, turn and move the skewers around if flare-ups occur.
How to Cook in the Air Fryer or Oven
Cooking in the air-fryer or oven is the most convenient way of making BBQ pork skewers. No oil splatters and no smoke, less tending and cleaning up is so much easier. At the moment, with small kids around, this is my favorite cooking method 🙂
Tips for cooking pork skewers in the air-fryer:
- Preheat the air-fryer for 3 minutes at 200C (400F). You can line the basket with foil for easy clean-up.
- Trim the skewers, if needed, so they fit your air fryer.
- Baste the pork skewers with the barbecue sauce. Air-fry for another 4 minutes, turning it once to caramelize the other side.
Tips for cooking pork skewers in the oven:
- Preheat the oven for 15 minutes at 220C (425F). Use 200C (400F) if using a convection oven.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Arrange the skewers in a single layer about 1 inch apart.
- Cook in the pre-heated OVEN for 10 minutes. Use the upper third or top rack. Turning once halfway through the cooking time.
- When the meat is almost cooked, baste with the BBQ sauce mixture. Continue cooking until the meat is cooked through and the pork skewers have caramelized. Turn as needed, to prevent burning.
What to Serve with Filipino BBQ Skewers
Serve with Filipino-style salads
- Ensaladang Talong with mangga or itlog maalat - eggplant salad with green mangoes or salted egg
- Ensaladang Mangga - Filipino-style green mango salad
- Pipino - sweet, sour, and salty cucumber salad.
Serve with Vegetables
Storage and Shelf-life
Left-over pork BBQ pork skewers will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Reheat in a pre-heated oven or air-fryer at 200c for 3 to 5 minutes.
More recipes for the summer
Filipino Pork BBQ Skewers (Grill, Oven, or Air-Fry)
- 2.2 lbs pork (combination of pork shoulder and pork belly)
- 1 recipe Filipino BBQ marinade and sauce
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (for brushing)
- water (for soaking)
Prepare the pork:
- Cut the pork. Using a sharp knife, slice the meat into ¼-inch thick slices, 1-inch-wide, 2-inch-long. Don't worry about the length if some pieces shed, just focus on even thickness. Place in a large mixing bowl or resealable bag.
- Make the marinade and baste based on this recipe.
- Marinate the pork. Pour 1 ¼ cup of the marinade into the meat. Toss then press down to ensure all meat is fully submerged. Cover tightly with a plastic wrap or a lid. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.
- Soak the skewers. If using bamboo skewers, soak in cold water for about half an hour before threading the meat to prevent the skewers from burning.
- Thread the pork. Carefully thread the pork pieces onto each skewer piercing it through twice to secure it, then pushing the meat a little tightly together. Brush both sides with oil.
- Pre-heat the grill pan or set up the charcoal grill. Brush the grill grates with oil to prevent the meat from sticking.
- Cook the pork. Add skewers, leaving at least 1-2" between each. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side. TIP: If using a grill pan, cover with a lid to prevent splatters. If using a charcoal grill, turn and move the skewers around if flare-ups occur.
- Baste. When the meat is almost cooked through, baste with the BBQ sauce mixture. Continue cooking until meat is cooked through and the skewers have caramelized. Turn as needed, to prevent burning.
To bake or air-fry:
- Preheat the air-fryer for 3 minutes at 200C (400F) or, oven for 15 minutes at 220C (425F). If using a convection oven, use 200C.
- If using the oven, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Arrange the skewers in a single layer about 1 inch apart.
- Cook in the AIR-FRYER for 3 minutes or bake pre-heated OVEN for 10 minutes. Use the upper third or top rack. Turning once halfway through the cooking time.
- Baste skewers with the barbecue sauce. Air-fry for another 4 minutes. If using the oven, cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until the skewers have caramelized. Turn as needed.
- Remove from heat and let it rest for 2 minutes. Serve with vinegar dipping sauce. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes and Tips:
- Bamboo skewers - I recommend using 10" to 12" for grilling and 6" to 8" for air-frying.
- Grill/Griddle - cast iron is recommended but not required.
- Servings - I made 18 skewers using 10-inches bamboo skewers.