When I taught in Thailand, almost every morning one of my fellow teachers would come in the door holding a white plastic bag that had steam rising out of it.
He would set it on his desk, and out of it he would pull out another steaming, small clear bag full of sticky white rice, and then another bag with five wooden skewers of stacked, small bite-sized, thin chunks of grilled pork with a dark glossy sheen.
He was a big American guy and would devour every morsel in about four bites and then rave about how amazing it was to get to eat mu ping, Thai grilled pork on skewers, for breakfast every morning.
Then he would glance at the clock on the wall, and wonder if he had time to run down to the mu ping street vendor around the corner to get some more before his class started.
Sometimes when I meet other moms and I tell them how much I love Thai food, they say, “I LOVE Thai food, but my hubby is a meat and potatoes type of guy, and isn’t really into ethnic food. I’ve tried making him Thai, but he just didn’t like it.”
Then I tell them, “Not to fear, mu ping is here!” Not really, I’m not that cheesy, but it’s true.
I’ve made Thai grilled pork on skewers for our family and friends who don’t normally like Thai food, and they gobble it up like it’s a burger and fries, and my picky two-year-old son scarfs it down like it’s a 6-pack of Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets.
I loved eating Thai grilled pork off the streets of Thailand, but I have to say, eating it at home might be even better.
In Thailand, I’ve gotten mu ping that is more fat than meat, which is fine for some people, but I like more meat than fat. Plus, when we make Thai grilled pork on skewers at home, we make a feast of it, so instead of just a few skewers, you can eat mu ping to your heart’s content.
If you are trying to convince someone that Thai food is life-changing delicious, and not just spicy Asian food, Thai grilled pork on skewers is the perfect Thai dish to make for them. Try it out and let me know what you think!
Thai grilled pork, mu ping, is the perfect dish for those trying Thai food for the first time or long-time fans! It’s packed with flavor and fun to grill!
- 4 lb or so of boneless pork shoulder, aka pork butt (at my grocery stork when I ask for it they lead me to pork carnitas meat, which is the same thing but cheaper and what I use), cut into bite-sized, 1/2 in. thick pieces
- 4 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro stems (or cilantro roots if you can find them at your Asian store, but I can’t usually)
- 10 garlic cloves peeled
- 1 tbsp of white pepper powder, or white peppercorns
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp Thai light soy sauce
- 1 tsp baking soda, to help tenderize the meat
- 1/2 c coconut milk, to brush the meat with
- Bamboo skewers soaked ahead of time for a few hours
- Make the marinade by pounding together the cilantro stems or roots, garlic and white pepper powder or peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. Or if you don’t have one, use a food processor.
- Place the pork, marinade paste, seasonings and baking soda in a bowl and refrigerate for around 4 hours or so.
- Thread around 7-8 pieces of pork onto the skewers stacked tightly on top of each other like bricks—stacking the meat this way helps keep the meat moist.
- Grill over medium coals, or if you want to do it more Thai-style, use wood charcoal. If you don’t have a charcoal grill, use what you’ve got and know it might taste different from the streets of Thailand, but it’s still going to be delicious!
- While grilling, occasionally brush the coconut milk over pork.
- You want the pork to end up with nice charred bits on the outside, and to be cooked through on the inside.
- Serve with sticky rice.
Recipe slightly modified from my favorite Thai cooking website, shesimmers.com