I always have fond memories of my childhood at the Ateneo de Manila. When I was in grade school, the whole community celebrated the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels on October 1. Annually this Feast is observed by a community wide fair with rides, game booths and most importantly the food booths. The school was a sight to see– Banderitas hanging on the corridor posts, and from the windows of the each and every classroom. What I remember most though is the smoky-charcoal-filled air coming from the bar-b-cue booths. Since my younger brother was just one grade level lower, we would always accompany each other during the event especially when we would “fall-in-line” just to buy our share of skewed pork bar-b-cue.
Smoke-charcoal-filled air. It is a staple in many Philippine fiestas, birthdays, receptions, drinking sessions(“inuman”), and other possible occasions one may think of. Later on, bar-b-cue found its way to be part of the traditional Christmas fare. It always brings great memories of childhood.
Reminiscent of these childhood barbecues, my recipe today is grilled pork belly (inihaw na liempo) which I inherited from my father… now I share with my wife and three children. The taste is close to the barbecue I remember from my grade school years.
With simple grilled pork belly with do not use skewers. ( However, the skewered pork bar-b-cue has already been requested – by my friends. So that is something to look forward to in the near future.)
Pork belly(Whole or sliced)
Black Pepper Corn
Kalamansi or Lemon
1. Prepare the pork belly. In the Philippines you can ask the butcher(matadero) to slice the pork belly into grill(“ihaw”) strips. They would know the thickness. In our case, that kind of cut isn’t available(as far as I know), so the pork belly is bought whole, and I have to slice it myself.
2. After slicing the pork belly into 3/4 inch strips, mix in all the ingredients. Marinade for 3-4 hours. (Overnight recommended.)
3. Grilling. An open grill or closed grill really doesn’t matter. The important thing is the meat cooks! My preference is a closed charcoal grill. A closed charcoal grill can trap the smoke and helps cook the pork belly, and gives your pork belly that “smoky” flavor.
Heat the charcoal. Once the charcoal reaches even heat, you can start placing the belly strips on the grill, side-by side. One tip my father taught me was to place the strips really close to each other so they won’t dry.
WORD OF CAUTION: Because the oil from the pork strips will drip, there could be sudden bursts of flame. And, please don’t apply sunblock on your skin. There have been reports that people caught fire during grilling. It was found out that some sunblocks are flammable after application.(http://thefw.com/sunscreen-sets-man-on-fire/).
Daddy Jay Saplala also enjoys cooking for his family. He also has a blog site on cooking. Let us show some support and visit his site at http://dadscookgoodfood.wordpress.com .