Moo Ping or Thai pork skewers are one of the most delicious Thai street foods available. If you've visited Thailand or eat at Thai restaurants you may have seen them cook these deliciously sticky pork morsels over a charcoal grill. The scent of them grilling fills the air and makes your mouth water. But did you know that these are simple to make (easiest marinade ever) and are perfect for the barbecue or grill? Today I will teach you how to make the very best Moo Ping Thai pork skewers EVER. This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader!
Moo or Mu is the Thai word for Pork. These delicious pork skewers are always served with a packet of sticky rice and they can be found for breakfast, lunch or dinner at Thai street food markets for a tasty, portable breakfast. But like a lot of delicious food, the details are what counts andI spent just over $100 on pork on testing this Moo Ping recipe to get the taste and texture juuuust right. I tried everything to save you the bother of doing it and the number one tip I can make is to get your cut of pork right.
What is the Right Cut of Pork For Moo Ping?
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The cut of pork is the most important part of Moo Ping (along with the marinade). I once saw a recipe that recommended using pork shoulder and that is waaay too tough and chewy a cut to use for this. The best cut of pork to use for Moo Ping is pork neck or pork scotch fillet or Boston Butt in America (they're the same thing). This is the perfect cut as it is tender and has a good amount of fat. Moo Ping is not a low fat pork dish, it gets its moreish juiciness from the fat in it. Pork neck, Pork Scotch fillet or Boston Butt is a specific part of the pork shoulder. The shoulder is actually quite a large cut but do not use generic pork shoulder. Also please do not use too lean a cut of pork, it won't be have that juicy lusciousness of moo ping.
You usually see pork scotch fillet as steaks but you can get your butcher to slice it into thin slices for you. My butcher did this and tenderised it gently with a mallet and honestly it was so melt in the mouth delicious I couldn't even believe how good it was (honestly, it was better than a lot of Moo Ping that I've eaten in Thailand and definitely better than Moo Ping I've had in Australia). When I got home I sliced the pork into 1 inch wide strips and threaded this onto skewers with squares of pork back fat. Pork back fat is used to add a lusciousness to the meat and back fat is the best type of fat to use as it is creamy in texture and renders easily.
I also experimented with pork belly which was very tasty and obviously fatty enough but a completely different vibe from authentic Moo Ping.
How To Slice, Thread and Cook Skewers Correctly For Moo Ping
1 - You want your pork strips to be cut an inch wide and around 3mm/0.12inch thick and around 13cm/5inches long. If you are cutting it yourself the best way is to freeze the pork for 30-45 minutes so that it is semi-frozen and easier to slice up. To tenderise it even further just gently pound it with a mallet. It won't need much force.
2 - Thread the meat onto your skewer in an accordion shape. This shape ensures that most of the meat cooks evenly. This is the accordion pattern above but you will bunch this up so that the skewer won't show.
3 - I added three squares of pork fat per skewer.
4 - Cook these Moo Ping for 4 minutes per side on the barbecue.
5 - Don't have a barbecue? This also works really well under a oven grill! Obviously you won't get the char from the charcoal but it will still be incredibly tasty!
I Made 4 types of Moo Ping Skewers:
Pork Scotch Fillet With Squares of Pork Back Fat
Pork Belly Cubes
Pork Shoulder with Fat on It (tenderised with bicarb)
Pork Shoulder with Fat on It
The best result by far was definitely #1, the pork scotch fillet with pork back fat. It tasted just like the best ones you get in Thailand and melted in the mouth. The pork belly cubes were very tasty but they weren't like the Moo Ping skewers while the pork shoulder with fat had a good flavour but was just too chewy. And when the pork shoulder was velveted it was a bit too soft and not the Moo Ping texture. Also the marinade below is amazing on everything. I was relieved that after many days of confusion and experimentation and a lot of money I finally had the solution to my Moo Ping craving!
Do you ever find yourselves being confused? Recently I was confused for different reasons as one night Mr NQN, Valentina, Peter and I went for dessert at a baklava shop. The displays were immaculate and there were around 12 varieties of sweets across two glass shelves. It was hard to choose so Valentina and I said to each other, "Let's try a bit of everything."
"Could we get one of each type please?" said Valentina to the woman.
The lady behind the counter said, "You get six pieces, otherwise it isn't worth it, you have to buy 500g for $20."
Valentina and I discussed it and decided half a kilo was fine and we'd probably end up with 1 or 2 pieces of each which is what we wanted. "That's fine, half a kilo with all of them please," I told her pointing at the display.
She started picking up pieces but instead of getting 1 or 2 pieces from each she grabbed 10 of one plate and we ended up with around 20 pieces of baklava but mostly the same type with none from the top row.
"I'm confused," Valentina and I whispered to each other simultaneously. We looked at each other, not sure what to do. We were trying to be polite but we also wanted what we ordered.
"What about these ones?" I said pointing to the ones in the top row.
"They're a different price," she said gruffly. I was totally confused. One moment she was giving us a big smile and then she'd be gruff and rude.
"Okaaay," we said looking at each other. We just didn't want to be rude but we were pretty frustrated that we couldn't get what we ordered. We just thought we'd just leave it rather than argue but once we paid her smile faded and we were no longer benefactors of her syrupy sweet smile. We also got a larger pastry filled with cream and when we asked her for a knife to cut it up she very reluctantly gave us one. I get that it is sometimes a safety thing but she handed it to us reluctantly saying, "This is my only knife".
When we finished Peter said to her, "Would you like the plate back?" pointing at the melamine plate.
"No!" she said scrunching up her face, in the same tone of a toddler. It was a confusing and odd experience for everyone!
So tell me Dear Reader, do you find getting the right cuts of pork difficult? Have you ever tried Moo Ping? Do you ever find yourself in a similar situation with service?
Moo Ping Pork Skewers
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 30 minutes plus overnight marinating
Cooking time: 8 minutes per skewer
15 bamboo skewers
1kg/2.2lbs pork neck/pork scotch fillet
200g/7ozs pork back fat
140g/5ozs palm sugar
8 cloves garlic, peeled
6 coriander roots (around 30g/1oz) (wash very well)
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon white pepper
200g/7ozs pork back fat, sliced thinly and then cut into squares
Step 1 - Cut the pork into inch wide strips, around 1/2 cm in thickness. Blend the palm sugar, garlic, coriander roots, soy sauce, oyster sauce and white pepper together. Alternatively you can pound the garlic, sugar and coriander roots in a mortar and pestle and then mix with the rest of the ingredients. Marinate the pork in this mixture overnight. Soak skewers in water overnight. I find that if it's shorter time then they burn.
Step 2 - Thread the pork onto the skewers in an accordion pattern adding 1-2 squares of the back fat on each skewer. Allow them to sit at room temperature for 1 hour while the charcoal is heating up. Cook for 4 minutes on each side.