Grilled Pork Kabobs with Pineapple and Soy
Makes 8 kabobs
I struggled with whether to include this dish because it’s so cliché. But it’s so good! It’s a pork tenderloin marinated in homemade teriyaki (soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, ginger, and garlic), and then grilled on skewers with pineapple and mushrooms. It’s ultra-simple backyard barbecue food, but there are a couple keys to success. First, cut the meat into same-size pieces for even cooking. I like cubes about ¾ inch square. Second, skewer the food in the order listed and push it tightly together. You want a solid strip of food on each skewer to prevent overcooking and so that the pineapple is near the meat. That way, the pineapple bastes the pork, helps it brown, and keeps it juicy.
1 pork tenderloin, silverskin removed, cut into ¾-inch cubes
1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1-inch piece fresh ginger
¼ cup garlic cloves, peeled
½ cup (1 stick) butter
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, stems removed
1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces, about 2 cups
Place the pork in a zip-top bag and add the sesame oil, 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, and the sugar. Peel and grate the ginger and mince 1 clove garlic and add to the bag. Squish to combine and coat the meat with the marinade. Squeeze the air out, zip the top closed, and place in the refrigerator overnight. If you don’t have time to marinate overnight, marinate at room temperature while the mushrooms are braising. The longer the marinade time, the more flavorful the pork will be.
With the wide side of a chef’s knife, crush the remaining garlic cloves, leaving them intact. You’re crushing just to release the flavorful oils. In a 1-quart saucepan, melt the butter with the garlic over medium heat until foamy. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce and mushroom caps to the pan and toss to combine. Cover and braise over medium heat until tender, about 20 minutes.
Remove the mushrooms from the braising liquid and reserve the liquid in the saucepan. Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry. Discard the marinade. Skewer a piece of meat followed by a braised mushroom and then a piece of pineapple. Be sure to start and end with the meat. Keep the braising liquid warm over low heat.
Heat the grill to medium or a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the skewers for 2 minutes, basting with the braising liquid. Turn, baste, and turn again until all sides are charred, a total of about 8 minutes. When poked, the pork should spring back instead of holding an indentation. Brush the skewers one last time and sprinkle with salt to taste.