How to make Tinuno’s sweet and spicy grilled pork skewers

How to make Tinuno’s sweet and spicy grilled pork skewers

More summer grilling

Tinuno’s Cathy Ortega opened her hands-on kamayan restaurant in St. James Town about 17 years after immigrating here from the Philippines. But whenever she needed a reminder of home during that time, she relied on this recipe, which takes her back to summer nights with her family. They’d pack into one of her homeland’s ubiquitous motorized tricycles and ride 15 minutes to Pasaleng Beach, a strip of golden sand bookended by lush hills.

A must for any beach outing: pork skewers, cooked over hot coals in the sand, filling the air with the scent of grilled meat, tenderized and sweetened with Sprite and finished with a banana ketchup barbecue sauce. It was a staple of the family’s early months in Canada, when they would head for Woodbine Beach to recreate a taste of home. When dipped in the spicy vinegar condiment, the result is perfect salty-sweet-sour harmony.


For the meat
2-3 lb. pork shoulder
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp salt
10 skewers, bamboo or metal

For the barbecue sauce
3/4 cup Jufran banana ketchup
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup Sprite

For the spicy vinegar sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bird’s eye chili, minced

Makes 8-10 skewers

Note: banana ketchup, or banana sauce, can be found in the international aisle of most major supermarkets, as well as Filipino grocers like Seafood City.


1. Cut the pork into rectangular hunks, about the size of a standard marshmallow.
2. In a large bowl, combine all marinade ingredients—lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, Sprite, pepper and salt.
3. Add the meat, toss to combine, and marinate for 3 to 4 hours, or overnight—the longer it sits, the better.
4. Combine the ingredients for the barbecue sauce in one bowl and the vinegar sauce in another, and set both aside.
5. Preheat grill to about 400°F. For charcoal, wait for the briquettes to turn white.
6. While the grill heats, skewer the marinated pork pieces, about 5 to 6 pieces per stick.
7. Grill the skewers for three minutes per side, 12 minutes total.
8. Remove the skewers from the grill and brush with barbecue sauce on all sides.
9. Return them to the flame for an additional 30 seconds per side. Once the sauce begins to caramelize and char, they’re ready.
10. Serve with white rice and spicy vinegar dipping sauce.