What is Pinchos, or How To Cook Pork Kabobs The Spanish Way

Cooking Pinchos Pork Kabobs

When the weather gets warm, there's no better way to enjoy the sunshine than with an old fashioned cook out. A full grill is a happy grill, and there's no shortage of things to throw on there to achieve that. While steak, hamburgers, or hot dogs might be the star of the show most times, it's always a good idea to mix things up with something different. And pork kabobs - pinchos might be just what you've been looking for.

Pinchos, or pork kabobs, are a delicious Spanish food consisting of marinaded meat skewered and grilled over a fire. With a unique blend of irritable spices made even better with the cooking technique used, your guests will be begging for recipes and seconds until the cows (or pigs in this case) come home.

How do you make pinchos at home? What are you going to need before starting? Let's explore these questions and more as we go over a recipe for homemade pinchos.

pork kabobs - pinchos

What You'll Need For This Recipe

In order to make pinchos, you'll need to gather a few simple ingredients and tools to use. Like most good barbecue recipes, though, you shouldn't have any trouble getting everything together.

  • Charcoal Grill
  • Chunk charcoal
  • Skewers (6 inches or so)
  • 1 gallon plastic bag
  • Mortar and pestle
  • Aluminum foil
  • 6 peeled garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper
  • Dried oregano
  • White vinegar
  • Adobo seasoning (for spicy version)
  • Pork butt (1 lb)

Pork Kabobs - Pinchos Recipe

Once you've gotten all your materials together, it's time to start making the recipe.

Step 1: Prep the Meat

When making pinchos, it's crucial to start the preparations the night before. For the best testing kabobs out there, you'll want to marinade your meat overnight. While it's possible to get good results after only a half an hour of marinading, it's worth it to spend the extra time waiting.

​To begin prepping the meat itself, take your pork butt (or pork shoulder) and trim off any excess fat or silverskin that might be on the meat. When that's complete, cut the pork into 1 inch cubes and place the pork cubes inside a 1 gallon plastic bag while you make your marinade.

Step 2: Make the Marinade

While a food processor will work fine with this recipe, the technique for making authentic pinchos is to use a mortar and pestle. Regardless of which tool you use, start by adding six cloves garlic to the bowl, peeled and with the ends cut off. After that, add in two teaspoons of kosher salt. If it's to your taste, add a pinch of sweet paprika. Alternatively, if you like your barbecue spicy, you can substitute both the salt and pepper for some adobo seasoning, which is a Spanish spice blend used in many types of traditional Spanish cuisine.

Begin by blending the garlic and your chosen seasonings into a thick, creamy paste. When the mixture is homogeneous and soft, add in 1 and a half teaspoons of black pepper and 3 teaspoons of dried oregano, mixing them together. Then, stir in 3 teaspoons each of olive oil and white vinegar, using more oil as needed until the marinade becomes loose and pourable.

Taste for seasoning and more of any spices as needed, then cover the pork completely. Massage the marinade into the meat cubes before removing as much air from the bag as possible and sealing it. After that, let it rest in the refrigerator until the next day. Take this prep time to get the best results.

Prep The Grill Cook The Kabobs

Step 3: Prep the Grill

Half an hour before you're ready to cook, take the meat out of the refrigerator and allow it to warm up a bit at room temperature. As this happens, you can start prepping the grill.

Charcoal is a good cooking medium for kabobs as it helps to add some extra smokiness to the marinaded meat. Fill the grill up with chunk charcoal, place on the grate, and light it, closing the lid to let the heat build up. For the juiciest and most flavorful grilled kabobs, you'll want a high heat cook.

Step 4: Prep the Kabobs

The grill should be about ready once the pork pieces have had a chance to warm up slightly. At the end of the thirty minutes, you can start assembling your pinchos.

Push a skewer through a cube of meat and down the length of it, leaving about two inches of space from the very end as a handle and a small gap between additional pieces of meat. Depending on the size of your skewers, you should be able to fit about 4 to 6 pieces of meat on each one. Repeat this process until you've used all your meat (for best results, try to align the cubes so that they create flat surfaces for easier cooking), then place them onto a plate or other container to hold while you pour over the remaining marinade.

BBQ Skewers set

Step 5: Grill the Kabobs

With your pinchos assembled, you can finally move on to cooking them. Place the kabobs onto the grill in the hottest area, leaving them to sear for about four minutes straight. After that, flip them to a different side each minute until the pinchos are fully cooked. In total, it should take around 8 to 10 minutes for this to happen.

Step 6: Rest the Kabobs

Like all meat, pinchos will need some time to rest after they come off the heat. When they're fully cooked, remove your kabobs to a plate or platter and cover them loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil. This gives the meat fibers a chance to relax and become more tender as well as retain juice, all while staying warm inside the foil. It should only take about 10 minutes or so for the resting process to complete, at which point it's time to eat.

Step 7: Serving the Kabobs

After a quick rest, you can finally dig in to your delicious pinchos. Most commonly, pinchos are served alongside some hot sauce. Additionally, they might be presented with the skewers spiked through a piece of white bread. However, they'll still taste fantastic even if you forgo any additions and just start eating them plain.

Bold & Delicious Spanish Pinchos


In your summertime grilling, it can be a fun and rewarding experience to try something besides the traditional burger and hot dog standards. If you're ever looking for something bold, delicious, and out of the ordinary to toss on the fire this year, look no further than some amazing Spanish pinchos. Their unique blend of spices and succulent grilled pork will definitely have you coming back for seconds. To make pork kabobs (or sometimes pork kebabs) you can use pork tenderloin, pork shoulder or any other pork piece. It is a very versatile dish, the cook time is short (if you take the prep time), you can change pork skewers to chicken kabobs, you can use bamboo skewers or steel skewers, change the recipe a little bit to add different spices or cuisine influences, like Mexican, Caribbean or French or something else to your taste. To make the recipe more interesting, you can add apples to your pork cubes. This easy and savory dish will become your all time favorite during dinners and get-togethers.

Did you enjoy this guide? Leave a comment about it, and share any tips you might have about making pinchos. Don't forget to share this page with a friend who might want to spice up their grilling this summer, too.

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