Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops

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I made these as a component to a Vietnamese noodle salad bowl, and they were exceptionally good, The initial soaking in baking soda, and then the secondary marinating in a sweet and salty mixture made them very juicy and flavorful. This is adapted from Serious Eats. This pork would be very good in a lot of things. I am thinking next of a bahn mi sandwich.

1-1/2 lbs. thinly sliced bone-in pork chops (bought from our local Asian market)

1 tsp. baking soda

3 stalks lemon grass, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

3 Tbs. chopped shallot

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/3 cup light brown sugar (or palm sugar if available)

1/3 cup fish sauce

2 Tbs. soy sauce

1 tsp. cornstarch

2 Tbs. vegetable oil.


Put the pork chops in a gallon ziplock baggie. Dissolve the baking soda in a half cup of water. Add the baking soda mixture to the baggie, press out the air, and seal the bag. Marinade for 15 minutes in the refrigerator. Then empty the bag, rinse and dry the pork chops, rinse the bag, and return the pork chops to the baggie.

While the pork chops are reacting with the baking soda, make the second marinade. Put the lemon grass, shallot, garlic, and sugar in a large mortar and crush them into a thick paste with a pestle. (Alternatively, chop them in a food processor, but crushing releases more of the aromatics than does chopping.) Scrap the paste into a bowl, and mix in the fish sauce, soy sauce, cornstarch, and vegetable oil, and mix well. Add this second marinade to the baggie, press out all the air, seal the baggie, and massage it to made sure that all the pork is in contact with the marinade. Marinade at room temperature for 30 minutes, or in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours.

Heat an oil the grill.

Remove the pork chops from the marinade and dry them with paper towels. Grill for about 3 minutes on each side.


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