Filipino BBQ recipe

Filipino BBQ Photo by Stacy Feyer-Salo

Todd Esteban’s love of cooking was inspired by his grandfather. “Growing up, my grandfather was a hobby cook. He was able to retire at a young age, so he was always in the kitchen tweaking and trying recipes. He loved to feed everyone and anyone. I was always so interested and loved being his taste tester,” Esteban said.

Esteban particularly enjoys Filipino cuisine. “My father’s family immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s when he was 9 years old. I grew up on Filipino recipes, which are full in flavor,” he said.

In particular, Esteban enjoys Filipino barbecue — “the king of street foods!”

Compared to other types of barbecue, which can take hours or days to make, Filipino barbecue is quick and easy.

For this recipe, Esteban said, “These are traditionally cooked over hot coals, so a charcoal grill is best, but you won’t complain if they are cooked on a gas grill.

“You’ll find that you’ll probably double this recipe for your next cookout; most people will eat five to eight skewers themselves. It is that good!”

Filipino BBQ


  • 4 pounds pork butt cut into 1-inch strips about ¼ of an inch thick (cut across the grain for a tender bite)
  • 2 cups lemon-lime soda (7UP preferred)
  • 1½ cups light soy sauce
  • 1½ cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup garlic (minced)
  • 2 lemons (halved)
  • 30-40 bamboo skewers
  • 1/3 cup sesame oil
  • ½ cup oyster sauce

Combine lemon-lime soda, soy sauce, white vinegar, brown sugar, black pepper, garlic and lemons in a large bowl.

Add pork and make sure meat is fully covered. Marinate for at least 3 hours (overnight is best).

Soak bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes and add 2 to 3 pieces of meat to each skewer.

In a bowl combine sesame oil and oyster sauce.

Grill meat kabobs for about 2-3 minutes per side. Brush meat with the sesame-oyster mixture and grill until meat is cooked through.

Pro-tip: Don’t overcrowd the grill. Cook the skewers in batches so you get a good char — overcrowding will only steam the meat and BBQ is all about the char!

This recipe can be found in the July/August 2021 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more recipes delivered to your mailbox, subscribe here

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