Liston Baka is a Filipino dish prepared with charcoal grilled beef that has been seasoned with Filipino herbs and spices like lemongrass, garlic, onions, soy sauce and fish sauce.
Several weeks ago all of a sudden my Instagram feed was filled with this Andok’s Liston Baka posts, I don’t know why it became a sudden hit, probably Andok’s had a really good marketing team that targeted the right people eventually sharing their experiences on different social platforms. The hype I guess is still on its peak as these posts are still active and visible online and I heard a lot of Filipinos still fall in line for more than 30 minutes to an hour just to give this new dish a try.
Litson Baka or Lechon Baka is nothing new, in fact ever since I was young I already knew about this but Andok’s did something different. With this new offering, instead of a customer buying a whole spit roasted calf, they made it accessible and very affordable by roasting them in smaller portions roughly 450g per piece which has a similar concept with their liempo. At Php350 per order this is quite affordable and very convinient.
I was intrigued on why people actually buy them, is it really worth the hype? Sadly I can’t try this as I live 8000 kilometres away, so the next best thing is to make it at home. I did my research and sadly there are no recipes, so I will have to rely on the reviews of people who actually tried it, combining it with my past experience on tasting Andok’s other offering and photos I see on Social Media. I think I can do this at home so I took the challenge.
What’s helpful is that most reviews have the same comments; sweet, slightly charred, chewy, and tender, moist, and smoky. Most of them also said it’s just like Roast beef. I also found one article that says, “I bet it also has Knorr Seasoning because the scent of it was still on my fingers hours after I cleaned my plate.”, so I will be definitely adding those. The reviews I read are all great resource for me, information that will help me recreate the dish that I am sharing to you below. In a gist, I made a roast beef using flavourful and fatty beet cut, where I chose a roast rib section which is marinated it in spices usually used for lechon manok to give it a Pinoy flavour. Off course you will need a charcoal grill to give it that smoky flavour, so we will be finishing off the dish on a charcoal grill. What I am unsure of is the Dipping Sauce it was served with, traditionally Andok’s and similar litson stalls accompanies their liston with atchara and lechon sauce. With this one, it is served with a vibrant red orange spiced vinegar sauce similar to the sawsawan found on fishball stands. Reviews said the sauce was mostly made with vinegar, a bit sweet and a bit spicy and basing on that colour I just made my sauce with mixture of sweet chilli sauce and vinegar with a 2:1 ratio. So what was the result? Well, they were really good, the signature lemongrass, smokiness and umami from Filipino lechons was certainly there but did not overpower the beefy flavour of the meat, having said that while it tasted really good, I don’t know if I nailed the right flavour, hopefully some of you, my readers who had tried the real thing, give this recipe a shot and let me know how it went.
Prepare your sauce by combining sauce ingredients together, set aside.
In a blender combine all marinade ingredients apart from the salt, blend until everything is liquified and smooth. Add salt, adjust the taste according to your liking.
Place rib roast in a Ziplock bag then pour the marinade, make sure the beef is fully covered with the marinade. Lock the back then place it in the refrigerator and let it marinate overnight.
Remove beef from the refrigerator an hour before you intend to cook it. Place beef in a wire rack to drain excess liquid, reserve the marinade. Once drained, pat dry beef with paper towel then set it aside.
Prepare your charcoal hooded grill, light up some charcoal on one side of the grill and while charcoal grill heating up, place a heavy pan in stove top over very high heat. Sear beef in all sides until crusty and brown in colour. This will take arund 3-4 minutes on each side.
Remove beef from pan then place it in your charcoal hooded grill on the side without the charcoal, this needs to cook using indirect heat. Cover the hood and adjust the temperature to reach 190C, cook beef for 45 to 50 minutes, as it cooks baste it with the marinade every 15 minutes for 3 times. If you don’t have a hooded grill, please see the notes section below.
Remove meat from heat, let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Slice into thin pieces then serve with sauce.
For those without hooded charcoal grill, cook the beef in your oven at the same temperature and time. Once its cooked, using wood chips or charcoal, light it up and place it on a fireproof container. Using a larger fireproof container that you can cover place your beef inside the container together with the lighted wood chips or charcoal, cover the container but leave a small space for air to come in. Let it smoke as the meat rest for 15 minutes.