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In Vietnam, grilled meats are balanced by sweet, sour and crunchy condiments

Vietnamese Grilled Lemon Grass Pork (Thịt Nướng)

Appears in July-August 2020

1½ hours 40 minutes active

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Vietnamese Grilled Lemon Grass Pork (Thịt Nướng)

In Vietnam, we learned to make grilled lemon grass pork, or thịt nướng, as part of the dish called bún thịt nướng, a salad of sorts that combines slender rice noodles with grilled pork, pickled and fresh vegetables, tons of herbs and a savory-sweet sauce (nước chấm). To simplify, we focused on the pork along with the pickles and sauce, accompaniments we think are perfect complements to the rich, smoky pork; if you must choose between making either the sauce or pickles, opt for the former. The pork for thịt nướng is not always skewered, but doing so makes it easier to manage the thinly sliced meat on the grill. Lettuce leaves are ideal for wrapping the pork and pickles (dip into the nước chấm before taking a bite) or serve the skewers, sauce and pickles with steamed jasmine rice.

4-6

Servings

Tip

Don’t be afraid to pack the pork tightly onto the skewers. This helps prevent overcooking. If using a gas grill, make sure to allow it to heat covered for about 15 minutes before cleaning and placing the skewers on the grate. This helps ensure that the grill is hot enough that the pork chars nicely.

1½ hours

40 minutes active

Reviews
Huyen P.

This was amazing! And I am Vietnamese. I thought it was on par with my mom’s cooking and that says a lot!

Kim L.

Can you substitute chicken for pork?

Janelle C.

Hi Kim,

Chicken would make a great substitute.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Peg R.

The sauce/paste for the pork - what is the rational for finely chopping the dry ingredients first then adding the liquid ingredients and processing until smooth. Why not add all ingredients (dry and wet) together and then blending (using a stick blender??

Janelle C.

Hi Peg,

You don't want to process until smooth; you want to process until finely chopped. In any case, prepping the dry ingredients allows for more consistent results, which is why the garlic cloves are first smashed, shallots quartered, etc.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Zoe L.

Possible to use oven instead of grill?

Janelle C.

Hi Zoe,

It definitely is. Broil the pork until it browns for about 10-15 minutes flipping halfway through, longer to get those charred bits you would if did grill the pork.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Grace T.

My husband and I cooked this last night, along with the eggplant and nước chấm. We did thin strips of pork on the grill instead of skewers, and the cook time was roughly the same. Everything was incredibly delicious!

Janine C.

We used chicken thighs and it was amazing. We want to try marinating large shrimp & grilling with this next time.

Kim Y.

We loved this recipe! We ended up using a mixture of pork shoulder and pork belly because it's what we had in the freezer already. We did end up marinating the pork overnight because it took longer than expected to slice (maybe because we were working with meat that had been fully frozen and was defrosting) but think I would do the same in the future as the flavors were fantastic. We packed the meat onto skewers very tightly and although it felt like a bit of work, it was easy to grill and got great char but was not overcooked. We made bahn mi type sandwiches with the leftovers including the pickled daikon/carrots and the nu'oc cham - added fresh jalapeno, sliced cucumber, sriracha mayo. Will try soon with chicken thighs!

Deirdre C.

I made this with all the sides and it was terrific, well worth the effort. We had traveled to Vietnam last year and it brought back some wonderful memories.

Sarah F.

This was insanely delicious. Tasted v much like when I was in Vietnam!

Sarah F.

This recipe is amazing. Tasted LEGIT. 10/10 recommend!

Alex H.

Love this recipe! I'll often use pork tenderloin rather than shoulder.


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