Do certain aromas transport you back to another time and place in the most delicious way? For Yimara “Yia” Medina, the scent of grilled pinchos — marinated chunks of pork or chicken on a stick, traditionally served with a slice of warm bread — is like a passport to happy childhood days in Puerto Rico.
“It’s one of the island’s most popular street foods — and some of my favourite childhood memories are of sitting and talking or dancing around by my cousin’s roadside pinchos stand,” Yia says. “There are lots of versions of pinchos, but what I think makes this recipe especially good is the use of sofrito, the magical Puerto Rican blend of herbs and aromatics that’s the base of some of our tastiest dishes. Sofrito is easy to make yourself or you can buy it premade.”
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Rest Time: 12 hours
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 12 hours, 20 minutes
½ cup sofrito
⅓ cup olive oil
1 ½ Tbsp sazon
1 ½ Tbsp adobo seasoning
1 ½ tsp onion powder
1 ½ tsp granulated garlic
½ tsp ground black pepper
2 ½ lbs pork tenderloin, cut into 2-inch cubes
¼ cup BBQ sauce
1 loaf bread, sliced 1 ½-inch thick
12- to 14-inch skewers
1. Combine the sofrito, oil, sazon, adobo, onion powder, granulated garlic and black pepper in a large bowl. Add the pork and toss to coat. Marinate the meat at least overnight or 12 hours for best results.
2. When ready to cook, remove the meat from the refrigerator. Drain off and discard the marinade. Preheat a grill to 450ºF or medium-high heat. Thread the meat onto 12- or 14-inch skewers, leaving a 3-inch space at the bottom of each skewer.
3. Place the skewers on the grill and grill for 3 minutes. Carefully flip the skewers and grill the other side for 3 minutes. Flip the skewers again and cook for an additional 2 minutes on the other side, then brush the pinchos with BBQ sauce. Flip once more and cook until the pinchos are browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the pork registers 145ºF, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the grill, brush again with BBQ sauce and rest 5 minutes before serving. Toast the slices of bread on the grill; skewer one slice onto the top of each pincho.
Are you a newbie to the grill? This guide to the perfect grilling times and temperatures is a great place to start!