I love absolutely love that “flame licked” flavor that grilled food has. Unfortunately, I don’t have a grill, so I’m left trying to recreate that flavor with my oven (I don’t really want to stand next to an open flame outside in the middle of a sweltering Louisiana summer anyway). Luckily, you don’t need a grill to get that smoky flame flavor on these Pineapple Pork Kebabs.
How to Get Flame Broiled Flavor Without a Grill
The often ignored broiler on your oven is the secret key to getting flame licked flavor without a grill. A broiler is just like an upside down grill. It’s an open flame that cooks the food from top down at a very close range. On electric stoves the broiler is a metal heating element, but you get that same close range direct heat. The effect on food is nearly identical to a grill and it can all be done from the comfort of your air conditioned kitchen. WIN!
Do I Have to Use Pork?
I was lucky enough to catch a “last day” sale on some pork chops, so I cut those up into cubes for the Pineapple Pork Kebabs. If you don’t like pork or can get a better deal on chicken, this recipe would work just as well with chicken breast or thighs.
If You Don’t Have Skewers…
I’ve been using the same pack of 100 bamboo skewers that I bought probably five years ago (ha!) and didn’t think to check the price when I was at the store today. So, the price breakdown doesn’t include the skewers. I imagine the added cost would be very small. If you don’t have skewers or can’t buy them, you can probably just spread the meat and vegetables out on a sheet pan and broil them sans skewers until browned. Skewers are just fun and make this cheap meal seem more fancy. :)
How to Serve Pineapple Pork Kebabs
These kebabs are really good “bowl style” with some black beans and coconut rice. Or you could serve the Pineapple Pork Kebabs with something like Cucumber Black Bean Salad or Cumin Lime Roasted Sweet Potatoes.
Pineapple Pork Kebabs (no grill required)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
- 1 inch fresh ginger, grated ($0.12)
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce ($0.30)
- 2 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.18)
- 1 Tbsp honey ( $0.12)
- 1.25 lbs. boneless pork chops ($1.96*)
- 1 Vidalia onion ($0.69)
- 1 green bell pepper ($0.79)
- 1 20oz. can pineapple chunks (packed in juice) ($1.37)
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.05)
- salt and pepper ($0.05)
- 1/2 bunch cilantro ($0.50)
- Sriracha (to taste) ($0.50)
- If using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak the skewers in water for at least 30 minutes to help prevent burning under the broiler.
- Prepare the marinade by mincing two cloves of garlic and grating about one inch of fresh ginger into a bowl. Add the soy sauce, oil, and honey. Stir to combine.
- Cut the pork chops into one inch cubes. Place the cubed pork in a bowl or shallow dish and pour the marinade over top. Stir until the pork is coated in the marinade. Cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Cut the onion and bell pepper into one-inch pieces. Drain the juice from the canned pineapple chunks. Place the onion and bell pepper in a bowl, add one tablespoon of oil, and a liberal sprinkle of salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Thread the soaked skewers with alternating pieces of onion, bell pepper, pineapple, and pork until all the pieces are used. Arrange the skewers on a broiler pan or a sheet pan with wire racks set on top.
- Adjust the oven rack so that the top of the skewers will be 5-6 inches from the broiler. Preheat the broiler on high for at least five minutes. Place the skewers under the broiler and cook for five minutes, or just until the edges begin to brown. rote the skewers and return to the oven for an additional five minutes. Continue cooking and rotating the skewers until they are evenly browned on all sides.** Top the kebabs with fresh chopped cilantro and a squirt of Sriracha, if desired.
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How to Make Pineapple Pork Kebabs – Step by Step Photos
Prepare the marinade by mincing two cloves of garlic and grating about one inch of fresh ginger on a small holed cheese grater (or you can mince it with a knife). Add the garlic and ginger to a bowl with 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp cooking oil, and 1 Tbsp honey. Stir until everything is combined. Set the marinade aside.
Also, before you begin, start soaking your wooden skewers. Making sure they are fully soaked helps prevent them from burning under the open flame. They’ll still burn a little, but it’ll take a lot longer. Always soak a few more skewers than you think you’ll need, just in case.
I got a really great “last day” sale on these pork chops, for only $1.59/lb. What is a “last day” sale? Last day, as in these pork chops need to be used or frozen TODAY. End of shelf life. Get ’em out of here. Anyway, it’s about 1.25 lbs of meat.
Cut the pork chops into one inch cubes.
Place the pork and marinade in a bowl or shallow dish and stir until everything is coated. Cover the dish and refrigerate it for at least a half hour.
While the pork is marinating, cut one Vidalia onion and one green bell pepper into one inch pieces. Add the onion and bell pepper to a bowl along with 1 Tbsp cooking oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Toss the vegetables until they are coated. Drain the juice from a 20oz. can of pineapple chunks (make sure to get the kind packed in juice, not syrup). If you can’t get a Vidalia onion, a regular yellow onion or purple onion can be used instead.
In preparation to broil, adjust the oven rack so that the food will be 5-6 inches from the broiler unit. The broiler unit in my oven is located on the roof of the main compartment. Some ovens have the broiler in the drawer below the main oven compartment. Put your broiler pan (or make shift broiler pan) in the oven to get an idea how far the food will be from the flame. Remember to estimate an added inch or so for the height of the food. If I had adjusted the rack to the top level, the food would have only been 3-4 inches away and it would have cooked a little too quickly for my liking. Positioning it slightly farther away gives you a little more control and wiggle room, but is still close enough to get the flame broiled flavor. Preheat the broiler on high for at least five minutes before starting, to make sure the ambient air in the oven is also hot.
thread the soaked skewers with pieces of onion, bell pepper, pineapple, and marinated meat. I was able to make ten very full skewers. Line the kebabs on a broiler pan. To make this substitute broiler pan, just set two wire cooling racks on top of a rimmed baking sheet. The racks hold the food off the bottom so air can circulate underneath and fat and juices drip down below. I also like to line the pan with foil for easy cleanup later.
Broil the kebabs for about five minutes, or until they start to brown. Remove them from the oven and rotate each kebab. Return them to the broiler for an additional five minutes. Repeat this process until they are evenly browned all around (I cooked mine for a total of 15 minutes). Cooking time will vary a lot depending on the size of your pieces, the type of oven you have, and how far the broiler is from the surface of the food, so make sure to keep an eye on them and rotate often (just like REAL grilling!).
For extra flavor, top the Pineapple Pork Kebabs with chopped fresh cilantro and a drizzle of Sriracha!