5 Easy Pork Marinade Recipes That Are Perfect For Barbecue Season

Marinades are the best way to mix it up at dinnertime.

Grilled Filipino pork skewers

Filipino-style pork kebabs. Photo, Erik Putz.

Fire up that grill because it’s time to cook (and eat!) al fresco. Instead of the usual hamburgers and hotdogs, throw your favourite cut of pork on the barbie for a quick and affordable weeknight dinner. To keep meal-time interesting, switch up your marinades so you and and your fellow diners never get bored.

A good marinade contains fat (oil), an acid (such as vinegar or lime juice) and aromatic herbs and spices. To maximize flavour, let your meat mix and mingle in the marinade for a few hours, or even overnight. Ready to get started? Here are five different summery pork marinade recipes, or one for each night of the week. Feel free to swap out the recommended cuts for your favourite — you can also use these marinades for chicken and beef.

Filipino-Style Pork Marinade

Serves 6
Prep 25 min; total 2 hr 55 min
Use: Pork shoulder (Pork blade, sirloin roast or chicken thighs would also work)

  • Soak 18 skewers in hot water for 20 min.
  • Whisk 1/3 cup each 7Up or Sprite, soy sauce and brown sugar, 3 tbsp white vinegar, 2 tsp sesame oil and 1 tsp each garlic powder, black pepper and hot-red-chili flakes in a medium bowl.
  • Add 750g pork shoulder, cut into 3-in.-long strips about 1/4 in. thick and stir until coated. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
  • Thread each pork strip onto a skewer in an “S” shape, pushing down so skewer isn’t exposed. Reserve marinade.
  • Barbecue skewers, over medium-high, brushing with marinade before flipping once, until pork is cooked, about 2 minutes per side.

Ginger Mojito Pork Marinade

Serves: 2 to 3
Prep: 10 min; total 40 min
Use: 1 pork tenderloin (or small, boneless pork loin)

  • Whisk 1/3 cup lime juice (about 4 limes), 2 tbsp honey, 4 tsp rum, 1 tbsp canola oil, ¼ tsp ground ginger and ¼ tsp salt in a wide shallow bowl.
  • Using the tip of a small knife, make shallow slashes all over 1 pork tenderloin, then coat in lime mixture evenly. Turn occasionally.
  • Barbecue, lid closed, over medium, basting often with marinade for the first 10 minutes.
  • Continue grilling until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of pork reads 155F, 15 to 20 more minutes. Let rest 5 minutes, then slice. Sprinkle with ¼ cup shredded fresh mint.
Three grilled pork chops on plate.

Not-too-hot jerk pork chops. Photo, Roberto Caruso.

Jerk Pork Marinade (not too hot!)

Serves 4
Prep 10 min; total 1 hr 25 min
Use: 6 to 8 bone-in, centre-cut pork chops (or boneless butterfly chops)

  • Chop 6 green onions and 2 jalapenos, including seeds.
  • Place in a food processor with ¼ cup each canola oil, lime juice and soy sauce, 1 tsp allspice and 1/2 tsp each salt, garlic powder, dried thyme leaves, nutmeg and cinnamon. Puree until thick.
  • Place 6 to 8 bone-in-centre-cut pork chops (about ½-in thick) in a resealable zip-top bag. Pour in just enough marinade to cover. Reserve remaining marinade for dipping. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  • Barbecue chops, lid closed, over medium until springy when pressed, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Serve with reserved marinade for dipping.

Orange-Scented Pork Chops

Serves 4
Prep 5 min; total 15 min
Use: 4 bone-in centre-cup pork chops (boneless loin chops)

  • Whisk 2 tsp orange zest, ¼ cup orange juice, 2 tbsp each sesame oil and brown sugar, 1 tbsp medium curry powder and ½ tsp salt in a large bowl.
  • Add 4 centre-cut, bone-in pork chops, at least 3/4-in. thick and turn to evenly coat.
  • Barbecue chops, lid closed over medium-high, brushing with marinade. Discard remaining marinade.
  • Flip chops and continue to grill until pork is springy when pressed, 4 to 5 more minutes.
pork-cuts The Best Ways To Cook 7 Common Cuts Of Pork

Hawaiian-Style Pork Kebabs

Serves 4 to 6
Prep 15 min; total 45 min
Use: 2 pork tenderloins (or sirloin steak)

  • Soak 8 large skewers in hot water for 20 min.
  • Whisk ¼ cup ketchup, 3 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp sesame oil and 4 minced garlic cloves in a large bowl.
  • Stir 2 pork tenderloins, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-in. chunks, into ketchup mixture and turn to coat. Let stand 20 min.
  • Toss 16 1-in. pineapple chunks, 8 thick red onion wedges and 1 red bell pepper, quartered, then halved, with 1 tbsp canola oil in a bowl to evenly coat.
  • Alternately thread meat, pineapple and vegetables onto skewers.
  • Barbecue kebabs, lid closed, over medium. Cook, turning occasionally, until meat is firm when pressed, 10 to 15 minutes.

Watch: How to make grilled pork burgers