Eat Your Rum and Drink Your Pork

“Dad… wake up!” the little girl shaking his father on the left shoulder.

“Huhh…?  ssshhhhhh… ssshhhh…” the father snored while leaning his head on a big rock.

“Dad… c’mon, let’s go!  Let’s go home…!”

“It’s getting dark and I’m scared…” the little girl is now on the verge of crying.

This man is my dad.  He is drunk.  He is too drunk too keep walking and so he laid down right in the middle of the dirt path beside a big rock.  We are about 3 miles from our nipa hut, five miles away from the town.

As a little girl, I always wanted to go with my dad wherever he  went.  And this day was just one of the days I went with him.  He couldn’t refuse his friend and  drank too many shots of Tanduay Rum while we were in town.  He managed to head home with me… but midway to our nipa hut, he couldn’t keep his eyes open and slump right in the middle of the dirt road… This is not the first time he’s done this – got drunk and slept in the dirt path halfway home.  My mother was hoping that because I am with him, he wouldn’t get too drunk.  But she’s wrong.  I am just a little girl, no match to his friend who was offering him free drinks…

At least this time he is sleeping, instead of going to one of his violent and crazy rage…

Five years back… when I was even younger, probably four years old… I remember running with my little brother, while my mom holding my other youngest brother and youngest sister, yelling:

“Let’s go, Eday (baby)! Let’s go… let’s go.  Hurry!”

I was confused… I was dazed…. I didn’t understand why we were running.  And where we running to…? What’s happening…?

Finally… we arrived at the Barrio Captain’s house, all wet  and covered in mud…

I was sitting on the floor, in the corner, still holding my little brother’s hand, shaking… trembling from fear and exhaustion.  We ran through the rice fields,  and across the muddy and wooded marsh before we reach the small town…

“Mrs… what happened? How can I help you?” asked the Barrio Captain.

“My husband… Please hide us.” said Mrs… in tears and shaking.

“Why? What did he do? Why are you so afraid?” The Barrio Captain with a worried look on his face, wanted to know.

“My husband… He is very angry.  He pulled out his long knife and was going to kill us – me… and my children.  Please hide us? Please!” said Mrs, signaling for me and my little brother to come to her.

She pulled me and my little brother closer to her… She, looking at the Barrio Captain, pleading… look at me and my children… I don’t want to die… I don’t want them to die…please help me…

I don’t exactly remember why my dad was angry that night.  Something must have set him off, but I didn’t know what.  Could it have been my mother? What did she said?  I sensed that he came home drunk again and the slightest thing made him angry…

My father did not drink every day. Not even every week.  He got drunk intermittently.  But when he did, he became aggressive… mean… and very intimidating.  He looked for fights and we hoped that no one would engage him.  We hid when he’s drunk because we were scared he is going to physically hurt us.

My mother… she drank occasionally, at party celebrations.  When she did, her face turned bright red and she’d start crying.  She became depressed.  She strummed her guitar and cried uncontrollably.


I was 16 when I had my first drink.  It was white, clear, liquid.  Very strong, intense and fiery on the tongue.  I was with my cousin who was 18 and my step sister, who was 19.  We were on our way to the big city… to school.  That night, before we boarded a small boat, our friends – much older than us, persuaded us to have a drink…

“Here, drink some!” Said Renato, pushing the small glass towards me.

“What is that?” turning the glass with my finger.

“How does it taste?” I asked curiously.

“Well, try some and you’ll see.” Renato assured.

I picked up the glass and drank the content.  It burned my throat as the clear liquid went down my esophagus.  I felt my stomach burst into fire.  My head felt funny…  my eyes were seeing double… and the wall was spinning.

I don’t like the taste of straight alcohol and my body has low tolerance for it.  I very,  rarely drink, and won’t drink any alcohol unless it is camouflaged with sweet juices or sweet syrup. And even this, I can’t drink that much.

But… I like how some alcohol make certain dishes taste.  So I often use medium dry sherry or white wine in my sauces and marinades.  I use white wine with chicken and pork, and red for beef dishes.

Here in this dish, I used Myer’s 100% Jamaican Rum.  Dark rums are ideal for cooking.  It makes food and sauces very flavorful.

Pork Steaks with Rum Barbecue Sauce

Serves 3

3 large pork blade steaks – about 3 pounds

Sweet RUM Barbecue Sauce:

¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar

½ cup ketchup

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup hoisen sauce

2 TBSPs. dark rum

1 TBSP. genuine wasabi or 2 TBSPs. deli style mustard with horseradish

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

Combine sauce ingredients in a medium size glass bowl.  Stir until well blended and smooth.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Line a heavy duty cookie sheet with heavy strength foil.

Wash pork steaks and pat dry with paper towels and place them on foiled lined baking sheet.  Using a pastry brush, liberally brush pork steaks, on one side with the barbecue sauce.

Roast pork steaks in a preheated oven at 400°F for 30 minutes.

Remove pork steaks from the oven and pour off excess liquid.

(Usually, I  temporarily transfer them into a large plate, while I pour the liquid from the baking sheet.)

Turn the pork steaks on the other side and again, liberrally brush with the barbecue sauce.

Return pork steaks to the oven and bake for another 30 minutes.

Serve with rice or potato salad.


Chop pork steaks into small pieces, discarding the bones, and serve pork steaks as sandwiches…

Sweet RUM BBQ Sauce

Pork steaks freshly brushed with the sauce

Enjoy and Happy Cooking!


2 thoughts on “Eat Your Rum and Drink Your Pork

  1. Tess… sad I feel about your early childhood. No one should have to go through what you did. It’s obvious that it’s something you’ll always remember. There’s the good drunks, and then the bad ones. Thank-god I’m never around those nasty foul mouth ones, that are out for revenge. Having some drinks for a fun time out is ok, if done in moderation. Like my concerts and partying with my friends. Good clean fun!

    Your pork steak recipe looks yummy. As you know, I lov BBQ ribs, aka pork. Never used rum in my sauce, but what the heck. Even Jack Daniels makes a tasty sauce. We all know that the alcohol burns off while cooking. I’ve used cooking wines for making sauces, and they really do enhance the flavor greatly. Thanks for another great recipe to try. Cheers 🙂

    • Thanks Tess!

      You’re right. Alcohol has different effects for different people. Where i come from, drunk men always signaled trouble. They became mean and abusive… and they looked for fights…

      I think social drinking is fine as long as people know their limit… 🙂

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