Pork Bistek (Bistec) is a popular Filipino dish of marinated pork steak braised with onions until it’s tender and juicy. The soy sauce and citrus marinade gives the pork incredible flavor. This Filipino style pork recipe is easy to make for a delicious low carb dinner any night of the week.
What is Bistec?
Loosely translated from Spanish, Bistec (or Bistek) means “beef steak”. The original version of the dish is Bistek Tagalog, which is beef strips marinated with soy sauce, calamansi juice, and Worcestershire.
Pork Bistec is a Filipino variation of Tagalog, using pork shoulder steaks rather than beef. The dish can also be made with thick, bone-in or boneless pork chops or pork tenderloin.
What is Calamansi juice?
Calamansi is a hybrid citrus fruit, primarily grown in the Philippines and southern China. Visually, the unripened fruit is similar in size and color to limes. When fully ripe, it turns orange.
Color aside, Calamansi juice tastes similar to lemon juice. As a result, lemon juice is often used as a substitute in Bistek marinade.
Interestingly, in its country of origin, Calamansi juice is also a popular health tonic, known for rejuvenating skin cells.
How to Cook Bistek
Making this pork Bistek recipe couldn’t be any easier. There are just a few simple steps involved.
1. Make the Marinade.
As mentioned, the ingredients in the pork bistek marinade are basic pantry items. Soy sauce, calamansi or lemon juice, Worcestershire, and some salt and black pepper.
In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients then add it to a gallon sized Ziploc bag or a baking dish. Place the pork inside the marinade and zip the bag or cover the dish with plastic wrap.
2. Marinate the Pork Steaks.
The first step involves marinating the pork. Since that is where most of the flavor comes from, the longer you allow the meat to marinate, the better. for the best flavor, I like to let the meat marinate overnight.
If you don’t have that much time, it’s okay. At a minimum, allow the pork to marinate for at least two hours. If you don't, the cooked pork won't be very tender.
3. Pan Fry Onions and Pork.
After the meat is finished marinating, pat it dry with paper toweling. It is important not to skip this step because the meat will be wet from the marinade. As a result, rather than searing the pork, it will steam cook. Searing meat is important; it’s what helps to hold the juices inside.
Before you start cooking, make sure your frying pan is preheated well. If you have a cast iron pan, it works perfectly for making this Filipino Bistek recipe.
After the pan is hot, add some oil. I use olive oil but avocado oil or grape seed oil work well too. As soon as the oil shimmers in the pan, add the onions. Allow them to cook for a few minutes, then move them to the side of the pan and add the pork.
You’ll want to sear the pork steaks for a couple of minutes on each side. It’s important not to crowd the pan, so you may need to do this in batches.
4. Braising the Pork.
The final step in making Filipino pork bistek is to cover the meat with liquid and allow it to braise. Some people add water, but for more flavor and health benefits, I use chicken bone broth.
This bistek recipe is made using steaks cut from pork shoulder, which is a pretty tough cut of meat. As such, you’ll want it to braise for a while; about 45 minutes or until the pork is fork tender.
While pork bistek isn’t a quick and easy dinner recipe like hamburger beef stroganoff, it’s definitely worth waiting for!
What should I serve with Filipino Pork Bistek?
In the Philippines, bistek is often served with steamed rice. To keep dish low carb and keto-friendly, you can serve it with cauliflower rice. A healthy veggie side dish like broccoli or spinach would be delicious too.
Or, since pork pairs well with apples, you may want to consider serving the bistek with some unsweetened applesauce!
Other Simple Dinners
Chicken Stir Fry without Soy Sauce
Filipino Chicken Adobo
Crack Slaw with Beef and Cabbage
Cabbage Rice with Indian Spices
Filipino Pork Bistek
2.2 pounds Boston Butt pork steak cut about ⅓ inch thick
4 tablespoons soy sauce more or less
1 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ small red onion
½ small white onion
4 cups chicken bone broth
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil for frying
½ teaspoon low carb sugar substitute optional
3.5 tablespoons soy sauce more or less
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
⅓ cup lemon juice
Salt and Ground Black Pepper to taste
Wash pork and pat dry with paper towel. Season with salt and black pepper.
In a cup, mix soy sauce, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce. Pour over pork steak. Marinate for 4 hours or overnight.
Heat pan with olive oil. Sauté onions until translucent. Set aside.
In the same pan, pan fry pork steak for 1 to 2 minutes each side in batches. Set aside. Reserve marinade.
In the same pan, opt to discard oil. Pour broth, reserved marinade, soy sauce, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil. Add seared pork steak, cover pan and allow to boil for 5 minutes. Make sure the broth covers the entire pork steak pieces. Simmer for 45 minutes or until pork steak is fork tender. Opt to add some sweetener to balance the tartness of lemon if not adding more soy sauce.
Notes on Nutritional Information
Nutritional information for the recipe is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts as it has been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
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