Inihaw na Liempo marinated in citrus juice, fish sauce, and spices and grilled to juicy perfection. Delicious as an appetizer or main dish!
This inihaw na liempo was first published on the blog in 2014, and I am updating it today with new photos and including it in our December recipe series. Grilled pork belly might not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think of holiday dishes, but it's actually a great choice.
Want Filipino pork BBQ for New Year but not up to the prospect of skewering pounds and pounds of meat in bamboo sticks? This inihaw na baboy is the perfect alternative! It's just as tasty and delicious but requires a lot less work.
Are you planning a boodle fest for your Christmas celebration? It'll make a delicious addition to your menu. Perfect for kamayan with my roasted eggplant, tomato, and salted egg salad or ensaladang kamote tops!
Filipino grilled pork belly marinade
The pork rashers are marinated overnight in a mixture of freshly-squeezed calamansi juice, fish sauce for umami flavor, lots of minced garlic, chili peppers (siling labuyo) for an added kick, brown sugar for a touch of sweetness, and salt and pepper to taste.
After a few hours in the fridge, the meat is drained and the marinade is reduced in a saucepan over medium heat. It's then mixed with oyster sauce and canola or sesame oil to use as a basting sauce.
The result is super juicy and flavorful liempo with the perfect medley of sweet, savory, and sticky goodness!
Inihaw na liempo, which literally means "grilled pork belly", is another delicious way Filipinos enjoy their pork. Here are a few tips to achieve juicy, charbroiled perfection!
- The recipe uses calamansi juice for tangy, fruit flavor; if unavailable, substitute lemon juice, vinegar, or tamarind pulp.
- For food safety, taste and adjust the marinade before adding the pork. After the marination, boil the liquid mixture for a few minutes before using it in the basting sauce.
- The longer the soak is NOT better. Do not marinate for too long as the acids in the calamansi will denature the protein and turn the meat mushy. If unable to cook after marinating overnight, drain the pork, transfer into resealable bags or airtight containers and freeze.
- To prevent the pork from burning, grill first until it starts to lost its pink and then start basting.
- While traditionally cooked on a hot charcoal grill, you can also cook the rashers on an indoor grill (like pictured above) or in a turbo. You can also pan-fry or bake in the oven.
Dipping sauce for inihaw
Filipino-style grilled pork is best enjoyed with spiced vinegar as sawsawan. Feel free to adjust ingredients according to taste.
- 1 cup vinegar
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped onions
- 2 chopped Thai chili peppers
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly-ground pepper
- In a bowl, combine calamansi juice, fish sauce, garlic, chili peppers, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Stir well until sugar and salt are dissolved.
- Add pork belly and massage marinade into the meat. Transfer into a ziplock bag and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight, turning the bag once or twice.
- Drain pork from marinade, reserving about 1 cup of the liquid.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, bring reserved marinade into a boil for about 3 to 5 minutes or until reduced.
- In a small bowl, combine the reduced marinade, oyster sauce, and oil.
- Arrange pork in a single layer on lightly-oiled hot grill and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
- When the pork begins to lose its pink, regularly brush with basting sauce. Continue to grill for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until pork is cooked through.
- Remove from grill and cut into serving pieces. Serve with spiced vinegar dip.
For the Spiced Vinegar Dip
- In a bowl, combine vinegar, garlic, onion, chili peppers, salt, and pepper.
- Do not marinate for too long as the acids in the calamansi will denature the protein and turn the meat mushy. If unable to cook after marinating overnight, drain the pork, transfer into resealable bags or airtight containers and freeze.
- For food safety, taste and adjust the marinade before adding the pork. After the marination, boil the marinade for a few minutes before using in the basting sauce.
- To prevent burning, grill the pork first until it starts to lost its pink and then start basting.
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”