I’m not really a fan of food on a stick, even in the summer, when we drag out the grill (well, maybe not us city folk) and instinctively commence the skewering. We jab and thread everything in site, from cubes of meat and vegetables to bread and cheese. Now that it’s party season, skewering is renewed, this time as a way to serve hors d’oeuvres (primarily satay).
Apart from a room full spear-wielding guests, skewers are dated, something more comfortable at Cleaver family bbq. Modern life is sleeker, more (to use the unfortunate term) user-friendly. Guests want single, tasty bites to float past; the operative word being tasty, which is why composing a flavorful one-bite package is so challenging.
But party season isn’t necessarily so formal; rather, it’s usually about families. Which is why the food shouldn’t be so fancy or great looking. And it usually is visually clunky: stuffing, mashed potatoes, and so on. But it’s filling and tasty and homey.
So we took the middle ground here: skewers, but only post cooking under a broiler or grill-delicious but messy food. The marinade is purely Thai/Vietnamese: sweet and salty. Let the pork bathe in it overnight if possible, plunk down a bottle of sriracha and a pile of lettuce leaves to wrap them in, and eat.
Grilled Thai Pork Skewers
Serves 6 as an appetizer
2 teaspoons cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon cracked white or black pepper
3 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar
dash of soy
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ½ pounds pork loin sliced 1 inch by ½ inch
- Whisk all the ingredients except the pork in a medium bowl. Make sure the sugar dissolves and the mixture is smooth. Add the pork and coat well. Marinate overnight, stirring a few times.
- Remove from marinade, brushing a bit off. Grill or broil until browned on both sides and cooked through but not overdone, 8 minutes. Thread the pork on skewers.
- Serve on a platter alongside the lettuce, mint, and sriracha for the guests to assemble.