Grilled Pork Kabobs with Apples
Smoky grilled apples, tender pork chunks, and sweet red onions, with a lemony apricot glaze, make grilled pork kabobs a feast for the tastebuds.
Why you’ll love it: Stir the sauce up a day ahead; the kabobs are easy to prepare and you can have dinner on the table in no time at all.
How long it takes: about a half hour
Equipment you’ll need: skewers, sharp knife, small bowl
Servings: 6 (this recipe is easy to double, too)
These kabobs combine apples and pork for a unique grilled entree. We’ve probably all taken a shot at grilling pork, right? Pork is a natural for the grill; it’s lean but has just enough fat to make it tender and flavorful.
And apples and pork are a natural match. I often make sautéed pork tenderloin with apples and onions. So what makes these kabobs unique? Two things: grilled apples and an outstanding apricot glaze.
Have you tried grilling apples yet? They turn out so unexpectedly flavorful: smoky, tender, and sweet.
I confess, up until these kabobs my only experience with grilled apples has been apple s’mores. My kids will try poking anything onto a stick when we’re making s’mores and apples are always a hit. Roasted apple slices on a graham cracker along with a perfectly (or sometimes not so perfectly) roasted marshmallow is a great flavor combo. And hey, mom won’t complain; apples are healthier than chocolate.
And the glaze! This apricot glaze is so heavenly. The glaze recipe makes enough so you’ll have plenty for dipping when you serve the kabobs. I could eat it by the spoonful. Apricot preserves, lemon, Dijon mustard, and fresh rosemary, with just a touch of heat from red pepper flakes–you’ll love this sauce. It touches all the taste bases and scores a home-run.
Just in time for apple season, you’ll want to try grilled pork kabobs soon! They’re easy enough to prepare for a weeknight dinner and fancy enough to serve to company. Serve the kabobs with grilled rosemary potatoes and a kale salad with apples and golden raisins. So good!
About This Recipe
Pork kabobs are really quite simple to make. Soak eight to ten wooden skewers in water for a half hour or so before getting started. You don’t want to start a fire with the skewers. If you happen to have metal skewers, skip the soaking step.
Get the grill preheating before you start prepping so it’s hot and ready to go.
I’ll run through the recipe here and give you lots of tips and substitution ideas. Look for specific measurements, instructions, and nutrition information on the recipe card below.
What You’ll Need
- Apricot preserves
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Flavorful Dijon mustard: A grainy or stone-ground mustard would work well, too.
- Olive oil: just a tablespoon.
- Rosemary: Use fresh if you can, it’s so much better.
- Red pepper flakes, to taste. How much heat can you take?
- Apples: See the cooking note below for more about apples.
- Red onion: Red onion is attractive but any type of sweet onion is fine.
- Pork tenderloin
How To Make This Recipe
Stir up the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Remove about half of the glaze from the bowl. You’ll be reserving that for a dipping sauce and the rest will be used to baste the kabobs.
Cut up an onion, a couple of apples, and a pork tenderloin; shoot for one inch chunks. Leave the peeling on the apples; it’s more attractive and better for you, too.
What Kind of Apples Should I Use?
Choose a firm apple that doesn’t turn to applesauce when cooked. You don’t want a mushy hunk of apple falling apart on the skewer. Some good choices are: Granny Smith, HoneyCrisp, Jonathan, Empire, Pink Lady, Golden Delicious, or Mutsu (Crispin).
You’re ready to thread the skewers! Pork, apple, onion, pork, apple, onion. Repeat for each skewer until everything is on the skewers. Brush the loaded skewers with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and you’re ready to grill.
Grill the kabobs for 10 to 12 minutes, turning once and frequently basting with the glaze. The internal temperature of the pork should be 145°F.
Serve the pork kabobs with the reserved glaze (sauce). You’ll want to drizzle a little glaze over the kabobs on the serving platter, too. Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. Since you have the grill on, why not make grilled Brussels sprouts or grilled zucchini to go along with the kabobs?
Make It Your Own
- Go Hawaiian! Substitute fresh pineapple chunks for the apple pieces in this recipe. Or try grilled pineapple shrimp kabobs with homemade teriyaki sauce. Substitute pork for the shrimp if you want, keeping the kabobs on the grill until the pork is fully cooked, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Greek style kabobs (without apples): If you’re thinking about delicious souvlaki, try this recipe for Greek pork souvlaki by The Healthy Foodie. Serve souvlaki with homemade tzatziki.
- Not a good day for grilling? Broil the kabobs in your oven instead. Cook on high, turning once, for 10 to 12 minutes or until cooked through.
- Rather cook whole tenderloins? Try my spice rubbed pork tenderloin recipe.
- If you don’t love pork, substitute boneless skinless chicken cut into 1-inch pieces.
- Instead of apricot preserves, try cherry, raspberry, or orange marmalade.
Preheat the grill to medium high, about 400ºF. Grill the kabobs until they have a nice sear on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. If you prefer, turn the kabobs 4 times, so that each side of the cube browns, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Check the internal temperature of the pork with an instant read thermometer. It should be 145ºF.
Be sure to cut the pork into evenly sized cubes. Small cubes will cook more quickly; large cubes will take longer.
Lean tender pork that cooks quickly is the best for kabobs; a pork tenderloin is a great choice. Avoid pork loin roasts; they are best cooked long and slow so they tenderize.
Marinades add flavor and tenderize meat; they’ll take your kabobs to the next level. Try one of my flavorful marinade recipes. Marinate the meat, as directed, before adding the cubes to the skewers. It’s not necessary to marinate the vegetables and/or fruit.
Some recipes, like these pork kabobs with apples, include a flavorful sauce which eliminates the need for a marinade.
Prepare the sauce and assemble the kabobs up to a day in advance. Wrap well, and store in refrigerator
Storage & Reheating Tips
Store leftover pork kebabs, tightly wrapped, in the fridge for up to three days. Reheat gently in the microwave. Try not to overheat them; the pork tends to be dry when it’s overdone.
More Recipes For The Grill
Take it outside! Grilling imparts such a unique flavor. Plus, it gets you outside in the sunshine. Here’s a few more recipes to try:
- Bruschetta Chicken
- Balsamic Chicken Marinade – a versatile marinade that can be used for pork, too.
- Grilled Salmon
- Chicken Shawarma Drumsticks
- Grilled Pizza with Arugula Pesto, Ham, and Corn
- Seasoned Grilled Potatoes
- Chicken Cordon Bleu Kabobs, with Swiss cheese dip
- Grilled Portobello Mushrooms, stuffed with spinach and cheese
- Spicy Indian Marinated Steak by The Spruce Eats
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @rachelcooksblog on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!
- ½ cup apricot preserves
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (more to taste)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1 ½ pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch chunks
- ½ red onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 large apple, peel left on, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 16 pieces per apple)
- If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes prior to using.
- Heat grill to medium-high heat (400ºF).
- In a small bowl, combine apricot preserves, lemon juice, mustard, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Set aside half of the glaze to use as dipping sauce.
- Thread the pork, apples, and onions onto the skewers and brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Grill for 10 to 12 minutes, turning once and brushing with glaze frequently, until cooked through (145ºF when checked with an instant read thermometer).
- Serve with reserved glaze on the side.
- Suggested apple varieties: Granny Smith, HoneyCrisp, Jonathan, Empire, Pink Lady, Golden Delicious, or Mutsu (Crispin)
- Broil the kabobs in your oven instead of grilling.
- Substitute boneless skinless chicken cut into 1-inch pieces, if desired.
- Instead of apricot preserves, try cherry, raspberry, or orange marmalade.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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