Closeup or cauliflower pinchos or kebabs

What are Pinchos: Kabobs with Puerto Rican Flare

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Published: April 22, 2022 • Updated: September 20, 2022 • 5 min read


Pinchos are snacks that originated in Northern Spain. Widely consumed as appetizers or tapas, pinchos are traditionally served by bars, restaurants, and street vendors. The traditional Spanish pincho comes in various flavors and offerings and involves many different ingredients, usually served on a small piece of bread, held together with toothpicks or even skewers. The Spanish word pincho means "thorn" or "spike," which refers to the toothpick, kebob, or skewer.

Pinchos are slightly different in Puerto Rico. This tasty little snack is a local and traditional staple of the island. Usually, it consists of pieces of chicken, pork, or sometimes vegetables that have been marinated, grilled, and typically served with bread. The deciding factor that sets decent pinchos apart from amazing pinchos is seasoning. How flavorful the marinated meat is is vital, and those with the best sauce or marinade are sure to be among the favorite local vendors.


 The Marinade

The marinade or special sauce can make or break a pincho. Olive oil provides a base followed by either a little distilled water or white wine vinegar and, of course,lots of spices. Spices traditionally used are sazon, adobo, oregano, garlic powder, cumin, and often a barbecue sauce.


Pinchos de Carne

Pinchos de Carne are beef skewers bathed in their own unique spice-sauce blend. In Spain, these are also referred to as brochetas de carne, and these meat-centric pinchos most often use a toothpick to prepare and serve to keep the ingredients held tightly together.

Pinchos de Pollo

Pinchos de Pollo are chicken skewers or kabobs. The chicken thigh or breast -- pechuga de pollo in Spanish -- is the portion of chicken often used. The chicken is cut up into small pieces, trozos de pollo, or chunks and threaded onto a wooden or metal skewer. Some believe that the best cut is the thigh, since it is more tender than the breast.


Finding the Best Pinchos in Puerto Rico


For vegans and vegetarians visiting Puerto Rico, Numero Uno Piñones innovative new poolside bar and restaurant has exciting new takes on Puerto Rican classic cuisine, including zesty cauliflower pinchos. For those looking to dine on the beach, Numero Uno Beach House serves up steak and chicken skewers at their toes-in-the-sand dining experience in ocean park.

While pinchos are sold all over the island in Puerto Rico, food trucks and street vendors will be the most common way to get them. The street food culture in Piñones is a strong local tradition and is a popular tourist draw. Piñones’ rich Afro-Caribbean culture adds to the uniqueness and depth of the street food and culture found here.

While visiting Puerto Rico, you should certainly spend some time exploring Piñones and enjoy the street food offerings there. There are food tours for the enthusiasts who wish to taste-test their way around Puerto Rico, and one of the stops will undoubtedly be Piñones. Among the top places for traveling foodies to visit on the island include Old San Juan, Piñones, and Luquillo Beach. Pinchos are among many of the popular food offerings you will find while there.