Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible


Balinese Roast Pork

Recipe from Steven Raichlen’s The Barbecue! Bible

Spiced roasted pig—babi guling—is the most famous dish in Bali. I’ve retooled the recipe to be made with boneless pork shoulder.


  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8
  • Method: Indirect grilling or rotisserie
  • Equipment: Butcher’s string or metal skewers; rotisserie (optional)
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  • 1 boneless pork shoulder roast (3 to 4 pounds)
  • 4 large shallots, peeled
  • 4 to 8 Thai chiles, or 2 to 4 jalapeño peppers
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh turmeric, or 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh galangal or additional fresh ginger
  • 3 stalks fresh lemongrass, trimmed and finely chopped (about 1/4 cup), or 3 strips lemon zest (each 2 by 1/2 inches), removed with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon freshly and finely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil, or more as needed

Step 1: Using a sharp, heavy knife, cut a deep pocket in one side of the pork roast, starting and ending about 3/4 inch from each end and cutting almost all the way through to the other side. Set the roast aside while you prepare the spice paste.

Step 2: Combine the shallots, Thai chiles, garlic, ginger, turmeric, galangal, lemongrass, coriander, black pepper, lime juice, brown sugar, and salt in a mortar and pound to a smooth paste with a pestle. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, combine all these ingredients in a food processor or blender and process to a smooth paste.

Step 3: Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a wok or small non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the spice paste and cook until fragrant and shiny, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the spice paste from the heat and let cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.

Step 4: Spread half of the cooled spice paste in the pocket you cut in the side of the pork roast. Using butcher’s string, tie the roast at 1-inch intervals or pin the opening shut with metal skewers. Using a rubber spatula, spread the remaining spice paste over the entire surface of the roast and set it aside while you prepare the grill.

Step 5: If grilling using the indirect grilling method, set up the grill for indirect grilling, place a large drip pan in the center, and preheat the grill to medium. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Place the roast on the hot grate over the drip pan. Cover the grill and cook the roast until nicely browned on all sides and cooked through, 1 to 1 1/2 hours, basting the roast with the remaining oil occasionally. When tested with an instant-read meat thermometer, the internal temperature should read 190°F for very well-done. (This is the way Indonesians prefer their pork.) If using a charcoal grill, you’ll need to add 10 to 12 fresh coals to each side after 1 hour.

If using a rotisserie, set up the grill for spit roasting following the manufacturer’s instructions and preheat the grill to high. When ready to cook, skewer the roast lengthwise on the rotisserie spit, attach the spit to the grill, and let the roast rotate until nicely browned on all sides and cooked through, 1 to 1 1/2 hours, basting the roast with the remaining oil occasionally. When tested with an instant-read meat thermometer, the internal temperature should read 190°F for very well-done. If using a charcoal grill, you’ll need to add 10 to 12 fresh coals to each side after 1 hour.

Step 6: Transfer the pork roast to a cutting board or platter, removing it from the spit, if necessary. Let the roast rest for 10 minutes, then remove the string or skewers and cut the roast into crosswise slices to serve.

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