Pinchos (Spanish Pork BBQ/Kebabs)

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The Filipino way of marinating Pork to make the very popular Pork BBQ is usually with Soy Sauce, Sugar and Vinegar. Both play an integral role in the mixture, and in one way or another, maybe for centuries now, this combination has not changed. I’m not particularly familiar with Filipino Food History, but I recently discovered that I extremely enjoy searching for origins of recipes through travel and how they have evolved, influenced, and stitched into the culture through the years. There’s a very big similarity with the practice of Tai Chi Chuan and the martial arts. Maybe, just maybe, I was meant to capture both ideas into one hemispheric dome and make a decent livelihood out of these never ending ideas and quest for gastronomic and martial epiphany.

I can only do my adventure on food once a year; for now. Every trip requires financial and systematic planning and preparation, and once I’ve arrived to my chosen destination, I relax, splurge and spoil myself with good food and drinks. Sights are more or less secondary, but still significant in the travel. Generally speaking, I’m still a tourist wearing mismatched clothes and oversized sneakers and blending with the locals can be next to impossible. They very well know I’m a tourist and of course, they’re after my greenback.

I want to taste as much recipes as I can knowing and hoping I can replicate them in my kitchen. I don’t search for Michelin Star Restaurants like many. I crisscross unspoiled areas of the city, walking around city streets and blocks and try each classical, working man’s dish in restaurants I bump myself into. I strongly believe that’s the source and inspiration for all. That’s my daily objective when I’m away losing myself somewhere and that, my fellow bloggers and dear readers, makes me an ‘enlightened’ human being throughout the day. Co-mingling with the locals and learning their language are BIG extras and having my girlfriend as my traveling companion is a mythical awakening of my soul, everyday.

On one of those days that I lose myself in the city, I discover a certain dish that truly, I know, I will definitely miss as my vacation ends and winds down. This one was a home run and I just had to have it a couple of times more to capture that immaculate flavour. It’s ‘Tapas’ very similar to the Pinoy’s Pork BBQ or in some cases Kebabs, marinated overnight and skewered before being grilled on a flat grill and drizzled with Sea Salt and Olive Oil before being served. It floored me on the first bite and by a few more minutes, I’ve already downed a couple of glasses of San Miguel (yes folks, SMB in Spain). It was that succulent and mouthwatering! I had to do another trip in another Tapas Bar on my last day just for comparison purposes. I didn’t exactly know how to approach this dish as I envisioned it in my mind while enjoying each bite, but from my careful observation from the bar across the grill, I fairly had an idea how it was done. It’s served with a few slices of baguette with olive oil.

This is my twist to the Filipino’s Pork BBQ or Kebabs, either way, without the typical Soy Sauce, Sugar and Vinegar marinade. Both dishes have familiar traits and one agenda: get you drunk! Spices and ingredients are local to Catalonia as much as Soy and Vinegar is as local to the ordinary working Pinoy.



¼ lb. Pork Butt or Lean Pork

Olive Oil

Sea Salt

Laurel (Bay Leaves)

Pinchos Spice

Ground Black Peppercorns



Condiment: Sherry Vinegar and/or infused olive oil

Cut the Pork Butt into bite size pieces. Start a pot of boiling water using cold water and let the Pork Butt boil until all the scum rises during the boiling process. Throw the first boil.

Start another pot of warm water this time and and dump the pre-boiled Pork Butt back into the pot. Let it boil to simmer until fork-tender together with Sea Salt, Laurel (Bay Leaves) and Black Peppercorns. Strain the pot and let the pork cool down. Set aside. Save the Pork Stock for something else.

Marinate the pork butt with a huge amount of olive oil, sea salt and Pinchos Spice Mix(Salt, Black Pepper, Pimiento, Sugar and Tomaotes). Let it stand overnight in the fridge, covered.

Remove the marinade from the fridge and leave at room temperature.

Pre-heat and season a grill or a grill pan. Slowly sear the meat parts without totally browning them (the meat is already cooked and the searing will just crisp the outside).

Serve on a plate. Drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle some sea salt and more Pinchos. Garnish with finely chopped parsley, a few slices of baguette, and a lemon wedge.

A portion of porkloin will work perfectly for this dish, however, porkloin or (lean pork) for that matter is an expensive cut. Unlike the belly or the butt, which are of cheaper cuts and quality and would require further cooking, the porkloin would only require marination. I believe a fatty part of the pig is almost always juicier. I also disregarded the skewer. The last Tapas Bar where I tasted this dish had it displayed in a Spanish style hotel pan, unskewered; enough to last the entire day.

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When I was growing up, my parents and I used to eat out and try different restaurants after celebrating the Sunday Mass. Moreover, during the course of the summer break, I had the opportunity to see some places which, when looking back, I had never realized how lucky I was as a teen to be able to travel. My family and I went to Europe and some parts of the United States, and what I saw along that path of my life inspired me to become a 'Chef.' The 'whites' they wore for me, during those growing-up and finding 'myself' years, portrayed a sort of fascinating and powerful figure in an extremely sophisticated, higly inviting and invigorating work place; and still maintain an unblemished and clean uniform after a very busy service. That picture of a 'Chef' stuck to my head for so many years.

True enough, with meager resources left to spend for the youngest, that dream never happened. Life went on. I went to university and studied an insignificant course, Business Management, and after graduating, I ended up working as a Credit and Financial Analyst in the banking industry in Manila; slugging it out in the corporate arena in Makati. It was the first taste of being called a 'yuppie' and was almost always looking forward to an after-office eating and drinking extravaganza in the expanding and growing Makati Business District; and, of course, the weekend.

Anyway, forging ahead to my life today, that dream as 'Chef' stayed in the back of my mind all the time that when I left the Philippines for Toronto in 2003; and after finally settling down on my own in 2005, I had started studying Professional Culinary Arts Courses in the City College to get that almost long-forgotten 'dream' going again. It was a Continuing Education Course, and more or less, students who have also shifted careers or who were trying to find work (like myself) as a newly landed found ourselves working with pots, knives and fire which I believe and I felt, everyone in class have never, ever touched during their past, professional lives.

Since then, I have been working in and out of different kitchens; flipping eggs and hamburgers, grilling steaks, shoving bread and chicken in a 500'C oven, and almost anything that can be either deep-fried or toasted just to serve hungry, sometimes pesky, customers. I became a 'grease' cook; a short-order cook with no definite place of employment, and definitely not a 'Chef.'

My articles are based on the after-thoughts of my past and present day experiences in this fast-paced, starkling, and sometimes disheveling kitchen environment. I never imagined that a kitchen 'worklife' turned that way as against the 'Ideal' environment I had thought about for years. No regrets. During this journey, I've discovered food which I've never thought I'd be able to taste. I learned to appreciate wine and travel more; now that I have understood the culture of food to society. That was non-existent when I was growing up.

This journey has not ended. I'm still discovering and still learning. It's a tough industry to be in and for what's next or for where I'll finally end up in remain a sordid mystery.

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