Spicy Pork Pinchos Morunos Skewers Recipe

Easily give your grilling a touch of the exotic with North African-spiced skewers—plus a couscous salad
Spicy Pork Pinchos Morunos Skewers


“Outstanding” is the word a Real Food reader used to describe this dish. She had contacted me in search of a favorite recipe from the magazine that she lost and had hoped to make again for a party. After a little sleuthing, I found what she was looking for—this recipe for Spicy Pork Pinchos Morunos. It has just enough of an exotic spin while still being comforting and delicious—not to mention easy to prepare with spices you probably already have on hand. She was excited to be able to make it again and it’s a perfect idea for grilling this Labor Day weekend—and as long into the season that you keep the fires burning.

Spanish pinchos are little skewers of meat flavored with North African influenced spices. The classic uses pork, but the marinade works just as well with chicken, lamb or even firm-fleshed fish like swordfish or tuna, says Twin Cities chef and Saint Paul College Culinary Arts instructor Jason Ross, who created this recipe for Real Food. Serve pinchos with a squeeze of lemon and some crusty bread, and make it into a meal with some couscous salad underneath (see the Cook’s Note).

Spicy Pork Pinchos Morunos Skewers

Makes 4 Servings

For the Marinade
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup parsley, minced

1½ pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
½ baguette, sliced, for serving

  1. For the marinade: In a medium sized bowl mix together all ingredients except pork cubes and lemon wedges. This will make a little less than 1 cup of marinade. Reserve ¼ cup of marinade to be used for basting and finishing the pork after it comes off grill. (The marinade can be made up to 7 days in advance, stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container.)
  2. Thoroughly mix the pork into the remaining scant ¾ cup marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.
  3. While the meat marinates, soak 12 bamboo/wood skewers in water unless using metal skewers. This soaking will help skewers from charring and burning on the grill. This is also a good time to heat and prepare your grill by lighting the burners or coals, and cleaning and oiling the grates.
  4. Thread the pork onto the 12 skewers. Each skewer will have about 2 ounces of pork.
  5. Grill the pork on high heat for about 3 minutes per side, basting a few times, until cooked through. When the pork comes off the grill give it a final brush of the reserved marinade to brighten up the flavor. Serve immediately with lemon wedges, baguette slices and couscous salad (see Cook’s Note).

Cook’s Note: For couscous salad, make a little extra marinade, like 2-3 tablespoons, and toss with 2 cups cooked couscous, ½ cup cherry tomatoes cut in half, 2 sliced green onions, and ½ red or yellow pepper, diced.

Nutrition Info Spicy Pork Pinchos Morunos Skewers (Per Serving): Calories 415; Fat 22g (Sat. 4g); Chol 103mg; Sodium 500mg; Carb 13g; Fiber 1g; Added Sugars 0g; Protein 41g

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Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her school-age son, who used to eat beets and Indian food, will one day again think of real food as more than a means to a treat—and later share this with his younger brother.