Let me start by saying I LOVE all things guava - pastries, jam, juice and of course bar-b-q sauce. I first found out about Guava bbq sauce about 11 years ago when I started traveling to Puerto Rico with my husband. They have guava everything and I’m in heaven eating it all up.
Another favorite from the Island of Enchantment are their pinchos, which translates to a shish kabob. You can find people selling pinchos everywhere. If you see a car on the side of the road advertising pinchos de pollo, stop! It will probably be the best chicken kabob you’ll ever eat. Pinchos are a quick snack or lunch for people on the go, but I’ll buy four, one to eat on the drive home and three for dinner.
Which brings me to the marriage of the pinchos de pollo to the guava bbq sauce. It really is a match made for your taste buds. When I found out they made made bbq sauce with guava it was a game changer, I would buy some everyday. But since Puerto Rice is 1600+ miles away I decided to start crafting a recipe of my own. And I think I got pretty darn close. :) I can’t wait for tailgate season this year, these pinchos are perfect for the game time grill.
Guava BBQ Marinade
1 cup guava jelly or jam
1 cup guava nectar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup water
1 garlic clove finely chopped or grated on a microplane
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon chili sauce (option or use less if you prefer less spicy)
Chicken (you could also sub pork or another protein of your choice)
4 chicken thighs - cut into 4 pieces each
4 wooden skewers
4 thick slices of thick french bread
Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.
Make the marinade. Combine all ingredients (except the bread and chicken) into a small sauce pan over medium/low heat. Gently stir until everything is well combined. Continue to let simmer over low heat, stir occasionally. Allow to simmer for at least 15-20 min while you prepare and begin to cook the chicken
Cut chicken thighs into 1 inch pieces then thread 4 or 5 pieces of the chicken on to the skewer. Try to fold over the chicken so it’s snug against the skewer. You don’t want pieces hanging off, those bits will cook too quickly.
Sprinkle the chicken on all sides with a little Sazon Goya seasoning. Set to the side.
Heat your grill (inside grill pan or an outdoor grill) over low-medium heat. Oil the grate a little and place the chicken skewers on the grill. Do not baste with bbq sauce yet.
*Note: Applying the bbq sauce too early will only cause the sugars to burn before the chicken has time to cook.
Cook the chicken turning on all sides until there’s no visible pink, about 15 min.
*Note: Watch the temperature, if the edges of the chicken are burning move the skewers to indirect heat and continue cooking until there’s no visible pink.
Return to the bbq sauce and reserve about one cup off to the side. Now it’s time to lightly brush on the guava bbq sauce. Using a basting a brush, apply bbq sauce on all sides and continue to cook the chicken. With every full rotation add on a little more sauce, don’t over due it, adding too much at once and it will burn into a sticky mess. Low and slow is the name of the game. Remember, you’re on island time, there’s no rushing, just sit back and relax. :)
Remove chicken from the grill once cooked through about 10 additional minutes and set to the side.
Cut french bread into slices, apply a little salted butter to both sides and grill just until grill marks are visible. Remove from grill and stick once piece of bread on each skewer. Serve while hot, with the reserved bbq sauce. Now you can close your eyes and pretend you’re on the Caribbean island soaking up all that sun and blue water.
As they say in Puerto Rico, buen provecho! (enjoy your meal!)