Pinchos Morunos (Spanish Pork Skewers)

pinchos morunos recipe
Delicious Pinchos Morunos all marinated and ready for the grill!

Pinchos morunos are a welcome addition of spice and excitement to tapas menus all around Spain. These savory kebabs break the general rules of Spanish simplicity by soaking in a marinade of up to 20 different spices! The story behind this popular Spanish pincho is fascinating, and my recipe for these skewers is perfect any time of year.

Moorish pork kebabs might be a more literal translation of this typical Spanish pincho, but I believe Spanish pork skewers to be a better fit. The Moors didn’t actually eat pork, as it went against their Muslim beliefs. It was most likely the Christian Spaniards who invented the pork version, using similar spices to the ones found in traditional Moorish kebabs (usually made of lamb) and gave them their name.

History Lesson: The Moors were the Northern African Muslims who were of mixed Berber and Arab descent and conquered the Iberian Peninsula in the 8th century, sticking around until the end of the 15th. Their influence on Spanish culture is everywhere!

A true pincho Moruno is marinated in the spice blend known as ras el hanout, Arabic for “head of the shop”. The basic blend is often made up of cumin, oregano, coriander, turmeric, paprika, nutmeg, cayenne, peppercorn and cinnamon, but each shopkeeper adds their secret ingredients and make the blend their own.

This pincho Moruno recipe is the best I’ve found, resulting in juicy Spanish pork skewers that will have your mind wandering to southern Spain and Morocco.

4.7 from 11 reviews
Pinchos Morunos (Spanish Pork Skewers)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These addictive Spanish pork skewers are called pincho morunos because of their fascinating history. The marinade is a delicious blend of spices and they make the perfect tapa!
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Spanish
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds of pork tenderloin (cleaned of excess fat/veins)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon sweet Spanish paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 minced garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of ½ a lemon (for marinade)
  • Lemon wedges (for serving)
Instructions
  1. Trim the pork loin of excess fat and then cut into 1.5 inch cubes and put into a large freezer bag
  2. Mix all spices, olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl and then pour over the pork cubes
  3. Seal the bag and toss the spice mixture with the pork, then marinate in the fridge overnight (or a minimum of 2 hours)
  4. Remove the marinated pork cubes and place on metal skewers with a little bit of space between each cube
  5. Grill on a high heat until browned on the outside but just cooked through (don't overcook or they'll be dry!)
  6. Rest the skewers for five minutes and serve with lemon wedges

This simple Spanish pork skewers recipe is a great addition to a summer barbecue or a Spanish style tapas party. If you make extra ras el hanout spice blend, you can use it in other dishes too!

Have you tried pinchos morunos in Spain? Where?

Comments

  1. I first tried pinchos morunos when I was in Zamora (Castilla y León) last fall. I was really amazed at how tasty and juicy they were! Plus, one ración that I shared with some locals had some subtle white cheese melted on top…soooooooooo good

  2. Holaaaaa!! Soy una gran admiradora de tu blog de recetas americanas. Gracias a ti, he aprendido a preparar una sopa de almejas deliciosa! Me encanta la gastronomía de Nueva Inglaterra y descubrir platos nuevos. Gracias por tu maravilloso blog y escribe más cositas de tu tierra por favor! Te escribo aqui porque he visto que esta actualizado. Felicidades por la super bowl!! Ganaron los Patriots!!!! Muchos besos!!!

  3. I have lived in Andalucia for many years and love their version of pinchos – sometimes called pinchitos (cute huh!).
    Their recipe is much less fussy and consists of salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and cumin. I’m making them tonight as when I’m in England I miss Spanish food so much 🙂
    Great recipe for the Moruno version though

      1. We lived just across the bay from Cadiz for almost 5 years, in the Valdelagrana part of El Puerto de Santa Maria. Pinchitos have been a favorite of my family for over 40 years now. I am making them tonight! 🙂

          1. Amazing coincidence! We lived on Calle Jerez, near the N-IV highway. One afternoon, we joined a crowd of locals lining the highway to see King Juan Carlos drive by, returning from a visit to Cadiz.

  4. A hit with everyone in my house. Served with a West African style rice and a spicy yogurt dip for the meat. Yogurt, siracha, cumin, and salt. Best meat on a stick I’ve ever had!!! We had leftover pork and made it two days in a row.

  5. My ex and I used to live in Puerto near the Plaza DE toros. We tried pic hits a few times but to be honest, they weren’t our favorites. Too over done and dry
    I came back to the States and tried the version by Penelope Casas. Once I was in control of the doneness, I fell in love with them. Raised my kids on them each and every summer. Thanks for the memories.

  6. Made these for dinner last night. Overall good 🙂 I think they could have used some heat (maybe a bit of cayenne) and more flavor, but I only marinated them for a scant 2 hours. I’ll try to plan better next time. Like another reviewer, I made a yogurt sauce, with yogurt, siracha, cumin, salt, and a little sugar. It added a bit of that needed heat, and I’d recommend making a sauce to anyone who makes this. Changes I made: No cinnamon (I don’t like it), didn’t skewer (just cooked in chunks) and cooked under the broiler for a few minutes each side. Thanks for the recipe!!

  7. I first tried pinchos morunos at Restaurant Barcelona Tapas in Puerto Vallarta Mexico. I’m going to make your recipe tonight and serve it with an onion and blue cheese tart and some tomatoes, melon and basil in green olive oil.

  8. The best Pinchos Morunos I ever had are being made fresh every evening by a father and son team at a place called Café Iruña in Bilbao, Spain. They use a charcoal grill inside the bar that vents out into the street and the smell draws you inside like magic. They serve the pinchos with slices of fresh baguette and at the bar they will draw you a small glass (in Basque: “zurrito”) of ice-cold beer to go with it … Heaven!

  9. I lived in Torrejon, just outside of Madrid, for two years back in the 80′ and loved the pinchos sold by the street vendors at the many festivals we attended. Some of the vendors used to have wine skins and they would shoot the wine in a big arc right into your mouth! They were pretty skilled in hitting the mark but you would always end up wearing some! Badge of honor!

  10. Absolitely delicious.. I will make these at my Spanish market stall in Barnes. That said I couldn’t help raising an eyebrow at seeing both the word Moorish and pork in the same sentence.. Absolutely divine – might even try with marinated chicken thighs with the fat trimmed off.

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