Grilled pork kabobs with orange and chipotle are genius for your next tailgating party, backyard BBQ or weeknight dinner. These pork kabobs deliver a spicy punch of chipotle with a sweet citrus kick.
Kabobs can be such a fun way to change up your regular barbecue menu (raise your hands if you're tired of simple burger and chicken!). Whether you are making it just for the fam or a gathering to enjoy, you can never go wrong with a delicious kabob!
If you have never made kabobs, it may seem like a challenge. Have no fear! And if you've made some awesome kabobs in your past, rest assured this recipe is simple. With a couple of extra-helpful tips from me, you are sure to score some brownie points for this one. Speaking of brownies...they go great with BBQ! (wink) First up, the basics.
What kind of skewer do I use for kabobs?
Metal skewers can be easy to use because they don't require any prep work. I love the flat metal skewers because the food doesn't have as good of chance to spin around as you move the skewer around on the grill. Even the basic, simple ones are easy to use and work well–I used them these grilled pork kabobs. And if the skewers don't have a special handle they can be washed in the dishwasher (bonus!). However, if you have wood or bamboo skewers, simply try these help tips to prevent any burning.
Turn your next summer BBQ into a flavorful event! Mixing sweet citrus and spicy heat in these grilled pork kabobs takes them to a whole new level.
To prevent a wood skewer from burning before your meat has finished cooking, soak in water for 30 min before threading on your food to grill. You can also wrap the exposed end with foil to prevent any charring. If you are apposed to washing extra dishes afterward then wood just might be the option that is perfect for you!
What's the difference between a skewer and kabob?
There isn't really a difference between a skewer and a kabob. Kabob, kebob or kebab, is typically short for shish kebab, which most likely originated as an American word from the Turkish dish shashlik. Shashlik is a grilled meat skewer, and any veggies grilled and served alongside are typically grilled on separate skewers.
A skewer is just a wood or metal stick that meat or vegetables are grilled on. But sometimes we refer to skewers as the entire dish, like chicken skewers, or small bites as appetizers.
These are the best kabobs ever thanks to an easy pork marinade recipe. With orange juice, brown sugar, garlic and plenty of smokey chipotle, it needs to hang out on the pork for about 3 hours to get the meat really flavorful. I cut my pork into small, 1-inch pieces for this recipe so it cooks quickly. It's mingled with onions and oranges on the skewers so I didn't want those to burn before the meat was done.
It's all about the meat in these grilled pork kabobs.
The recipe calls for pork tenderloin. Rather than using a pork shoulder or tougher cut that needs low and slow cooking to get delicious, I opted for a quick-cooking tender cut. Tenderloin is a tender cut and cooks fast – one of the best cuts to grill. It's so forgiving that even if you slightly overcook it, it will still be tasty. But let's try not to overcook things!!
You can definitely make these kabobs with another meat. Try a great steak cut like NY Strip, or cut pieces of flank steak and marinate them. Chicken is also fantastic in this recipe. It takes on the flavors of the marinade so well.
I love serving these kabobs with slices of creamy avocado and flavorful greens like watercress or arugula. Especially with a refreshing glass of lemonade.
Grilled Pork Kabobs with Orange and Chipotle
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 chipotle peppers in adobo seeds removed, peppers minced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 ½ lbs pork tenderloin silverskin removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 small onion
- 1 orange
- Whisk together orange juice, sugar, garlic, peppers, salt and oil. Toss meat in marinade, cover and refrigerate in a glass or plastic dish, 3 hrs or overnight.
- When ready to cook, heat grill to medium. Cut onion and orange into 1-inch pieces. Discard marinade and thread meat, onions and oranges onto skewers. Oil grill grates and cook kabobs, turning, until meat is done, 10 to 12 min.
- Sweet citrus balances the spicy punch of chipotle in these perfectly seasoned grilled pork kabobs.
Now you're the kabob expert, try some of my other kabob recipes:
Korean BBQ Chicken
Nutty Lemon & Chicken
Lemon Herb Lamb
Try these finger-licking-good BBQ recipes
About Tara Teaspoon
I’ve been in the food publishing business for over 20 years, creating recipes & food-styling for magazines, books, television & advertising. Order my new cookbook & stick around for amazing things to eat.
Recipe by Tara Teaspoon.. Writing Brittany Smart. Photographer Antonis Achilleos. Food Stylist Anne Disrude. Prop Stylist Christina Lane. Originally published LHJ July 09.
Alina | Cooking Journey Blog says
Love how you combined these flavors of orange and pork! Great dinner idea!
They look amazing, and I love the flavors! This is a must to grill this summer!
Kabobs are the perfect summer meal. So many options but your pork version looks delicious.
Elaine @ Dishes Delish says
What a lovely combination with the orange, chipotle and pork! I love grilled kabobs and your recipe looks absolutely fabulous!!
What a delicious taste combo. Looks like a fun barbecue day.
Brittany Smart says
Looks amazing Tara!! Seems like a great combo of flavors with the meat and the orange. Can't wait to try it out at my Summer BBQs!!
Mary Bench says
Tara, you create the most amazing flavor combinations! Thank you!
Thanks so much!