Pork Salpicao: A Tasty Twist on a Classic Beef Dish

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Aloha mummas! It’s Ajumma April from Relax, Lang Mom here with a pork recipe perfect for parenting on-the-pivot. As we all juggling much, quick comfort foods can calm our chaotic clanging chaos. This month, let’s lighten lunchtime lunacy with a Filipino favorite – a porky protein given a clever alternative makeover!

Salpicao, a dish of Spanish origin, has found a unique home in Filipino cuisine. Traditionally made with beef, this dish is a sizzling testament to the fusion of salty -sweet flavor profile that Filipino cooking is known for. The traditional version features cubed beef cooked with garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, and black pepper. But hey, why stick to the script when you can rewrite it? That’s where our star of the show, Pork Salpicao, makes its grand entrance! This recipe puts a new twist on the classic by using pork kasim (cubed pork shoulder), mushrooms, and oyster sauce for a more complex and dynamic flavor.

Why Pork Salpicao? Breaking the Beef Barrier

So, why pork, you ask? Pork is like the Ryan Gosling of meats – versatile, beloved, and always a hit. In the Philippines, pork is a staple, and using it in Salpicao adds a delightful local twist. It’s tender, flavorful, and when cooked right, it’s like a symphony in your mouth. Plus it’s cheaper than beef so you can enjoy it any day that you’d like to have something a bit special. 

It’s also easier to cook as a traditional beef salpicao can seem too tough to tackle. The cubed cuts cook quicker so crazed kids can chow down faster. As we all know, less wait time at the table means less whining! But fear not – this non-traditional take trims the toil while keeping all the taste. Using cubed pork lets us leap lunch prep in just two simple steps! No more stressful simmering – just sear, sauté and you’re sautéed. Lol.

How to Cook Pork Salpicao -Your Blueprint to Deliciousness

The base of this alternative salpicao starts with cubed pork shoulder, which is marinated overnight in a mixture of garlic powder, brown sugar, ground black pepper, regular soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and oyster sauce. The garlic powder adds a robust garlicky flavor that permeates the meat, while the brown sugar caramelizes the exterior of the pork for a sweet contrast. The black pepper provides a subtle heat. The blend of regular and Worcestershire sauce infuses the pork with an intense salty -sweet-sour umami richness. And the oyster sauce gives the dish an extra boost of savory meatiness.

Once the pork has had time to marinate and soak up all the delicious flavors, it is ready to be cooked. (I marinated it for 2 hours so it’s fine if you didn’t have the time to do it!)  The first step is to fry up some minced garlic in butter and oil until crispy and golden brown. The crispy garlic adds fantastic texture and crunch to the otherwise soft and tender pork and mushrooms. After straining out the fried garlic and setting it aside for later, the cooking process continues.

Button mushrooms are added to the buttery garlic-infused oil left in the pan and sauteed until they begin to brown. The mushrooms add satisfying meaty bites throughout the pork, as well as plenty of moisture. Their earthy umami flavor also enhances the overall savoriness of the dish. After the button mushrooms are cooked, they too are set aside for later.

Now it’s the pork’s time to shine! The marinated cubed shoulder meat is introduced to the hot pan and seared for just a couple minutes to brown the exterior. It is important not to move them around at this time to avoid releasing the meat juices. Once cooked through, set the meat aside.

The strained marinade is then poured on the pan and gently tossed together with the slurry. Once the starchy liquid has thickened into a glossy glaze, the meat, along with the mushrooms goes back to the pan and mixed so that the sauce perfectly clings to every crevice and crag of the pork and mushrooms. This extra sauté ensures maximum caramelized flavor on the outside while maintaining tender and juicy meat inside. Finally, the crispy fried garlic is sprinkled over the top just before serving for delightful bursts of garlic goodness in every bite.

This unique take on salpicao turns an everyday staple into something extraordinary that feels special enough to serve guests. The combination of flavors and textures takes this classic Filipino recipe to the next level. Each element – the tender pork, meaty mushrooms, sticky glaze, and crispy garlic – plays an important role in creating a harmonious symphony of sweet, salty, savory, and spicy.

While the traditional beef salpicao will always hold a special place in the hearts of Filipinos, this chunkier cube-cut version allows us moms to prepare something special that is not as “mahal” as the beef salpicao. 

This Filipino pork salpicao is also a crowd-pleasing dish that will have everyone going back for seconds and thirds. It comes together easily with just a quick overnight marinade and a simple 30-minute cook time. For those overseas, it’s flexible enough to serve on its own, stuffed into tacos or bao buns, loaded over rice or noodles, or even enjoyed as a Filipino appetizer. (Pulutan! too!)

Next time you’re planning to make salpicao, consider taking a walk on the wild side and venturing away from the traditional version. This pork salpicao with mushrooms puts a creative spin on a classic recipe while still remaining true to the dish’s essence. One bite and you’ll surely be convinced that sometimes different is better. 

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