One of the easiest ways to barbecue pork is to make kabobs with it by cutting it into cubes, threading it onto skewers and cooking it on the grill. Added bits of onion, bell peppers and mushrooms put on the skewer between each cube of pork give extra flavor. The best cuts of pork to use for kabobs are those that are naturally tender and those that can be made tender with the right marinade.
Pork tenderloin comes from two long muscles that run lengthwise down both sides of the backbone. It is extremely tender. Often this cut is sectioned into small roasts of about a foot long. These will get done in the oven in just about an hour. They are also cut into rounds, called medallions, and used in combination recipes. For kabobs, the tenderloin is cubed and placed on skewers with assorted vegetables and then briefly cooked. Tenderloin kabobs cook quickly, in about 10 minutes or so.
Pork loin is a lean cut of meat that can be a tender choice for kabobs. To keep cubed loin from drying out too much, marinate it overnight in the refrigerator before skewering. The marinade is often made with oil and vinegar and bold flavors. Garlic and peppercorns are particularly good when incorporated into a pork kabob marinade. For extra flavor, a rub can be applied just before cooking.
Marinated for tenderness, a pork butt supplies plenty of fat to make kabobs flavorful. Get a boneless butt and chill it for a while or partially freeze, then cut into cubes of about 1 1/2 to 2 inches on all sides. Place them in a plastic bag with a marinade such as bottled Italian dressing or a homemade recipe. Cook these savory kabobs slowly, allowing the meat time to become tender on the inside and crisp on the outside.
Pork belly may sound as if it is pure fat from the hog, but this is where bacon comes from. Trendy pork meats such as pancetta and prosciutto are made with bacon. Pork belly meat is very fatty, but this is what gives it such a deep flavor. A good bit of the fat in pork belly is rendered by precooking. The remaining pork belly can be topped with a weight to make it more compact and chilled. To create kabobs from pork belly, cut into cubes and thread onto skewers. Grill time for these precooked kabobs is very short, since the cubes only need to be seared to caramelize the outside.
References and ResourcesEpicurious; Pork Belly Skewers; Zak Pelaccio; Oct. 2009
Eating Well; Spicy Pork Kabobs; July/August 1995
Yes You Can Grill; Pork Pineapple Kabobs; Cyndi Allison
Chef Phil's Online Blog: Quickie Pork Kabobs Recipe