Babi Panggang Karo (North Sumatran Grilled Pork)

Batak chef and adventurer Rahung Nasution shared this recipe for a fatty marinated pork dish beloved by the Batak tribes of North Sumatra, Indonesia. A simple but flavorful marinade of lemongrass, garlic, lime juice, and soy sauce holds up to high-heat grilling and helps the pork shoulder caramelize beautifully over the hot coals. Nasution pairs the smoky, rich pork with North Sumatran Sambal Andaliman, a powerfully refreshing condiment of green chiles, salt, and andaliman, the juicy green local relative of numbing Szechuan peppercorns, pounded together. Read More: The Fiery, Fascinating World of Sambal

Babi Panggang Karo (North Sumatran Grilled Pork) and Sambal Andaliman
Photo: Photo by Eva Kolenko / Food Styling by Marian Cooper Cairns / Prop Styling by Natasha Kolenko
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
4 to 6


  • 2 1/4 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), untrimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes  

  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 (4- to 6-inch-long) lemongrass stalk (inner white part only), minced (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • North Sumatran Sambal Andaliman


  1. Toss together pork and lime juice in a large nonreactive metal bowl. Stir together soy sauce, lemongrass, and garlic in a small bowl. Pour over pork; stir to combine. Place in refrigerator; marinate 1 hour.

  2. Open bottom vent of a charcoal grill completely. Light charcoal chimney starter filled completely with briquettes. When briquettes are covered with gray ash, pour onto bottom grate of grill. Adjust vents as needed to maintain an internal temperature of 350°F to 400°F. Coat top grate with oil; place on grill.

  3. Place pork on oiled grates. Grill, uncovered, until skin is crisp and a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of meat registers 145°F, 5 to 10 minutes.

  4. Season grilled pork with salt. Serve with North Sumatran Sambal Andaliman.

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