Grilling pork kabobs is a quick and easy way to create a flavor-packed meal. This recipe is a tasty twist on a Russian shashlik recipe.
For both health and religious reasons, many Muslims (and people of other faiths) refrain from eating pork. This is probably why there are so few pork recipes originating from areas along the Old Silk Road.
Nonetheless, pork is still popular and widely used in recipes throughout Asia, the Mediterranean, Balkan Peninsula, and Russia.
Pork Kabobs (Shashlik Recipe)
Today, we’re following the Old Silk Road into Russia for an easy shashlik recipe made with marinated pork.
Begin your culinary travels in China. Head north all the way through Mongolia and you'll arrive in Russia.
The origins of shish kabob are Turkish, but grilling meat on skewers is popular in many other countries as well.
Some of my favorites are Moroccan kefta, Lebanese kafta, as well as Persian koobideh and joojeh kabob.
Russia’s shashlik recipe is very similar to other kabob recipes, but traditionally, it is simply skewers of meat, without vegetables.
Names: Shashlik, shashlyk, kabob(s), skewers
Course: Main dish
Recipe difficulty: Easy 🥄
This recipe for pork kabobs features boneless center-cut pork loin, colorful bell peppers, and red onion. The meat sits in marinade for a couple of hours before skewering and grilling it. Just before serving, the meat and vegetables are drizzled with a delicious honey mint sauce.
Best cut of pork for kabobs
Just about any cut of pork is delicious when it's grilled properly. That being said, small pieces of lean meat tend to dry out quickly on the grill. When you make pork kabobs, it's important to avoid using lean cuts like pork tenderloin.
Instead, choose a cut that cooks quickly but also has a bit of fat, like center-cut pork loin or even boneless pork shoulder
Most boneless pork comes from the center or back loin area of the animal.
Also, pork loin and pork tenderloin are two completely different cuts! Pork loin is fattier and lighter in color than the tenderloin.
Shashlik recipe notes
- Substitutes for pork
This recipe can be made using any type of boneless meat or poultry. Lamb and chicken are popular choices.
- Want to use different veggies? No problem!
As long as each of the vegetables you choose are a similar consistency, you can add anything you like to your pork kabobs. Avoid combinations of soft and firm veggies though; they require different cooking times and/or temperatures.
- Let the meat come to room temperature before grilling
About 30 minutes before you are ready to grill, take the meat out of the marinade and skewer it. Then let the pork kabobs sit at room temperature. It’s difficult to form a nice sear on cold meat.
To ensure that everything cooks evenly, cut your meat and veggies as close in size and shape as possible.
Also, be sure that all of the veggies you're adding have a similar consistency. Don't mix firm and soft vegetables on the same kabob.
Pork Kabobs (Shashlik Recipe)
- 2 lbs boneless center-cut pork loin chops
- 3 colored bell peppers cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 large red onion cut into 1-inch chunks
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ small white onion grated
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp paprika
- 2 large lemons (1 is for grilling)
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup chopped mint leaves
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp black pepper
- Mix together the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Cut each boneless center cut pork chop into 6-8 cubes. Transfer pork and marinade to a Ziploc bag. Cut each boneless center cut pork chop into 6-8 cubes
- Squeeze air out of bag and seal. Massage pork with marinade and marinate overnight or 4 hours minimum in refrigerator.
- Preheat grill to 400°F. Remove pork from marinade and discard marinade. Alternately skewer bell pepper, onion and pork on skewers.
- In a small bowl mix together the juice from one lemon (about 3-4 tablespoons), honey and mint. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Set aside. Slice remaining lemons into ½ inch thick rings and set aside.
- Spray pork kabobs with cooking spray or olive oil to coat, then grill 1-2 minutes per side, or to an internal temperature of 145°F. Grill lemon slices on both sides along with kabobs.
- Allow meat to rest 5 minutes, then serve with grilled lemons and a drizzle of honey mint sauce over the top.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.