Peach-Banana Glazed Tocino Skewers with Daikon Atchara

published Oct 18, 2021
Peach-Banana Glazed Tocino Skewers with Daikon Atchara Recipe

Homemade tocino is skewered, grilled and served with a banana-peach bbq glaze and shredded pickled vegetable condiment called atchara.

Serves8

Prep45 minutes

Cook30 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Neal Santos; Food Styling Amelia Rampe

The Tagalog word kamayan translates to “by hand,” but it is now more commonly linked to eating with your hands. Eating in this manner may seem provincial to some, but for us it allows food — the thing that nourishes and gives us life — direct contact with our hands and our skin, without the need of an external agent imposing on that connection. It is absolutely the truest sense of “You are what you eat.” And for us, these tocino skewers and our ricotta bibingka recipe (along with many others) represent some of the purest joys of a kamayan feast.

Today, tocino (sweet and savory pork) is most often considered a breakfast dish. The tocino is typically boiled, caramelized in a pan with oil until it’s glistening red, then served with rice and egg. But during a visit to Pampanga, we had the privilege of tasting tocino that was grilled outdoors — and we immediately thought, “What a perfect dish to eat with our hands!” (To be fair, we think that about a lot of dishes!) 

Credit: Photo: Neal Santos; Food Styling Amelia Rampe

Filipinos also love pork BBQ sticks. This was our favorite thing to buy every day at dusk from the local street-meat grilling guy. We can still smell the smoke from his makeshift grill as he strategically fanned and moved each stick around so everything cooked evenly. So we thought, “What more could we ask for than using tocino in the BBQ sticks and grilling them until we can transport ourselves to that street corner once again?” And although Filipino BBQ is typically made with the famed banana ketchup, since we love to cook with the seasons, we’ve included a sauce recipe that uses fresh grilled peaches and bananas that you can slather all over the skewers (and then hide the rest away for yourself before anyone finds it).

Tocino brings together the beloved Filipino flavors of salty and sweet, but we also wanted to include our unique love for tartness by including our recipe for atchara, a simple pickled condiment typically made from unripened papaya. Because not everyone has access to green papaya (papaya that is green inside), we provided a recipe using daikon. It’s common in Asian groceries, and today it can be found in local supermarkets, too. The entire process — from the smells of the grilled skewers to the slight char on the tocino to finishing your bite with a tangy pinch of atchara — elicits all the emotions we hope you’ll always feel when you experience kamayan.

Credit: Photo: Neal Santos; Food Styling Amelia Rampe

Peach-Banana Glazed Tocino Skewers with Daikon Atchara Recipe

Homemade tocino is skewered, grilled and served with a banana-peach bbq glaze and shredded pickled vegetable condiment called atchara.

Prep time 45 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Serves 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the pork:

  • 2 pounds

    boneless pork shoulder or pork butt

  • 4 cloves

    garlic

  • 3/4 cup

    packed light brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup

    unsweetened pineapple or apple juice

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet or grill

  • 1 tablespoon

    apple cider or rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon

    garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon

    soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon

    fish sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    Prague curing powder or 1/4 teaspoon pink curing salt (optional)

  • Pinch

    cayenne pepper

  • 15

    (10-inch) skewers

For the atchara:

  • 14 ounces

    daikon radish

  • 1

    medium carrot

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 (1 1/2-inch) piece

    ginger

  • 1/4

    medium white onion

  • 1/2

    medium red bell pepper

  • 3 cloves

    garlic

  • 1/4 cup

    raisins

  • 1 1/2 cups

    water

  • 1 cup

    distilled white vinegar

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

For the BBQ glaze:

  • 2

    medium peaches (about 1 pound total)

  • 1

    very ripe (black) banana

  • 1/2 cup

    water

  • 1/2 cup

    banana ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons

    apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons

    packed light brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons

    honey

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    soy sauce

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    MSG (optional)

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    onion powder

  • Pinch

    cayenne pepper

Instructions

Marinate the pork:

  1. Place 2 pounds pork butt in the freezer until the surface is frozen but it is still sliceable, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, make the marinade.

  2. Mince 4 garlic cloves (4 teaspoons) and place in a large bowl. Add 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup pineapple or apple juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinaigrette or rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon fish sauce, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon Prague curing powder or 1/4 teaspoon pink curing salt if desired, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Stir to combine and dissolve the sugar and salt.

  3. Remove the pork from the freezer. Cut into 1/4-inch thick slices. Add to the marinade and massage the marinade into the meat with your hands. Cover and refrigerate at least 24 hours or up to 3 days, mixing it every 12 hours. Meanwhile, make the atchara and BBQ sauce.

Make the atchara:

  1. Peel and grate the following on the large holes of a box grater: 14 ounces daikon (3 cups) and 1 medium carrot (1/4 cup). Place in a medium heatproof bowl, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and toss to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, peel and julienne 1 (1 1/2-inch) piece ginger (1/4 cup). Julienne 1/4 medium white onion until you have 1/4 cup, and julienne 1/2 medium red bell pepper until you have 1/4 cup.

  3. Transfer the daikon and carrots to a clean kitchen towel. Roll up into a towel and squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible. Return to the bowl and add the ginger, onion, bell pepper, 3 peeled garlic cloves, and 1/4 cup raisins.

  4. Place 1 1/2 cups water, 1 cup distilled white vinegar, and 1 cup granulated sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking until sugar dissolves.

  5. Pour over the vegetables and stir to combine, making sure the vegetables are completely submerged. (Weight them down with a plate if needed.) Let cool to room temperature.

  6. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes but preferably a few hours. The atchara can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

Make the BBQ glaze:

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to broil on high. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

  2. Pit and quarter 2 medium peaches (no need to peel). Place the peaches on the baking sheet and broil until well charred in spots, 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the remaining sauce ingredients.

  3. Peel and coarsely chop 1 very ripe banana and place in a medium saucepan. Add 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup banana ketchup, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons MSG if using, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, pinch cayenne pepper, and stir to combine.

  4. Add the broiled peaches to the saucepan (reserve the foil and baking sheet.) Bring the glaze to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat as needed and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, glossy, and the peaches are very tender, about 30 minutes.

  5. Transfer the glaze to a blender. Remove the small cap in the lid and cover with a kitchen towel. Blend, starting on low speed and increasing the speed to high, until smooth. Transfer half to a bowl for brushing onto the skewers, and transfer the remaining half to a serving bowl. Let cool to room temperature. The glaze can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Cook the pork:

  1. If using wooden skewers, soak 15 in water for at least 30 minutes. Remove the pork from the marinade and thread lengthwise onto the skewers through a few places like an accordian, the pieces can be just touching.

  2. Option 1: To broil the pork: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to broil. Coat the foil on the baking sheet used for the peaches with olive oil. Place half the skewers on the baking sheet in a single layer, spacing them evenly apart. Brush with some of the BBQ glaze. Broil, turning the skewers and brushing the pork with the glaze every 2 to 3 minutes, until the pork is charred in spots and cooked through, about 15 minutes total. Repeat with the remaining skewers.

  3. Option 2: To grill the pork: Prepare an outdoor grill for medium, direct heat. Brush the grill grates with paper towels dipped in olive oil. Place the skewers on the grill grates and grill uncovered, turning the skewers and brushing the pork with the glaze every 1 to 2 minutes, until the pork is charred in spots and cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes total. For an extra-smoky flavor, move the skewers to indirect heat and grill covered for 3 to 4 minutes more.

  4. Brush the cooked skewers once more with the remaining glaze. Serve the skewers with the atchara and bowl of reserved glaze.

Recipe Notes

Peaches: Frozen sliced peaches can be substituted for the fresh. Skip the broiling and simmer directly in the sauce.

Make ahead: The glaze can be made up to 2 weeks ahead and refrigerated. The atchara can be made up to 3 months ahead and refrigerated.

Storage: Leftover pork can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.