Pinchos Morunos Recipe | Grilling


I have a love/hate relationship with skewers. They're great when you have a lot of people over, cooking quick and to order, but they're also easy to overcook and not all that impressive. Rarely have I earned boasting rights from a skewered piece of meat.

Luckily, there are some solutions to make skewers better. First, brining helps the meat stay moist over the high heat of the grill, even if it stays over the flames a tad too long. Second is picking a great marinade.

The Andalusian region of Spain really has something going with the marinade for pinchos morunos, or "Moorish skewers." As the name implies, the spice mixture that adorns the pork is of Moorish influence and gives the meat an exotic, earthy flavor. Served in small tapas portions or the heftier skewers I went for, this is some meat-on-a-stick I can get behind.

Recipe Facts

Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Marinating Time: 2 hrs 30 mins
Total: 3 hrs 30 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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For the Brine:

  • 2 quarts cold water

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt

  • 1/8 cup sugar

  • 2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed of silverskin and excess fat

For the Skewers:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  •  1 lemon, sliced, for serving


  1. To make the brine, whisk salt and sugar in cold water until completely dissolved. Place tenderloin in brine and place in refrigerator for 1 1/2 hours.

  2. While pork is brining, mix together olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, paprika, cumin, coriander, oregano, turmeric, salt, thyme, and black pepper in a small bowl.

  3. Remove tenderloin from brine. Pat dry with paper towel and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Place pork in a large resealable bag and pour in spice mixture. Seal bag and toss to thoroughly coat pork in marinade. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 1 to 2 hours. Meanwhile, soak wooden skewers in cold water.

  4. Remove pork from refrigerator and thread onto pre-soaked wooden skewers. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Alternatively, set all the burners of a gas grill to high heat. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill skewers over high heat until browned on all sides and cooked through, about 10 minutes total.

  5. Remove to a platter, let rest for 5 minutes, then serve with lemon wedges.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
482 Calories
21g Fat
31g Carbs
47g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 482
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 27%
Saturated Fat 4g 22%
Cholesterol 124mg 41%
Sodium 1699mg 74%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 7g 24%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 47g
Vitamin C 109mg 547%
Calcium 104mg 8%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 1123mg 24%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)