Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops are marinated and grilled developing wonderful char and caramelization, with subtle yet succulent flavor.
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When I eat out at restaurants I usually like to try new things. If it’s a favorite restaurant, one where I know the menu by heart, I usually try the day’s special. Or if it’s a new-to-me restaurant, I try to order something I might be unfamiliar with, whether ingredients or flavor combinations. However, when I eat at a Vietnamese restaurant, I order one of the same 4 things.
Depending on my mood, I might order bahn mi, a delicious sandwich with meat, pickled veggies, and cilantro on a baguette. Other times I’ll get a big hearty of pho, an herbaceous broth with noodles and meat. But more often than not, I will order bun thit nuong, barbecue pork over rice noodles or com tam suon nuong, broken rice with grilled pork.
These four dishes are very near and dear to my heart. They are on my list of comfort foods, right up there with my paternal grandmother’s meatballs and chocolate cake or my maternal grandmother’s green bean casserole and potato salad.Locally, I have very limited options for Vietnamese food. One restaurant in town sells pho; one type and only one batch a day is made, so once they run out, you’re out of luck. A new restaurant has recently opened that boasts an eclectic menu, offering a couple of dishes from many cuisines, including Vietnamese. But I’ve not been yet to know how well they will satisfy my cravings.
But my craving for Vietnamese barbecued pork needed to be met. And it needed to be met now. Time to take matters into my own hands.
So I took off to Walmart to pick up some Smithfield All Natural Bone-in Pork Chops. I love Smithfield All Natural fresh pork because there are no steroids, hormones or artificial ingredients. The moment I got them home, I quickly tossed together the marinade and dipping sauce, and then put them in the fridge. After a few hours, it was time to get them on the grill. Once I heard that first sizzle, I was counting the minutes until I could devour them. A few minutes on each side, a short rest and then they were on my plate.If a bite, a single bite, could provide pure happiness, it was this first bite. My fork took in a little bit of each part of this dish; the pork, rice, carrot, and cucumber all with nuoc cham (dipping fish sauce) and there was nothing else in the world, just me, and my plate of food.
The active cooking time is less than 30 minutes, making Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops a wonderful weeknight dinner but still a fantastic option to impress your friends with your international cooking skills during weekend entertaining. However, marinating the meat is crucial.
Get the Smithfield All Natural Bone-in Pork Chops in the marinade the night before and let it sit all day while you work. The longer it marinates, the better. Same goes for the dipping sauce. The flavors really have time to meld the longer it can ‘sit.’ Both can be whipped up in mere minutes.
Then once the grill is hot and ready to go, they cook up quickly. But they must be grilled. Part of the flavor pleasure comes from the char and caramelization.Don’t be afraid of grilling pork, it can be cooked easily like a steak.
If you love your pork medium rare, you should cook it to an internal temperature of 145 degrees (followed by a three-minute rest). If you like your chops a little more done, you can cook them to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops
- 2 pkgs Smithfield All Natural Bone-in Pork Chops (6 chops)
- 1 large/ 2 medium cucumbers; sliced
- 1 large/2 medium carrots; sliced
- Cooked Jasmine rice
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce/tamari
- 1/4 tsp garlic chili paste
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (dark or light)
- 3/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 shallot; finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic; minced/grated
- 1/2-1 tsp garlic chili sauce
- 2 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1/8 tsp granulated garlic
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup warm/hot water
Place the pork in a zip-seal bag or other sealable container.
Whisk all the ingredients together and pour over the pork. Stir or move around ensuring each part of the pork has been in contact with the marinade.
Seal and place in the refrigerator until ready to use, minimum of 3 hours to overnight. If possible, flip or disturb the pork from time to time.
Whisk all the ingredients together; cover.
Can be left at room temperature for up to 24 hours, after that refrigerate.
Stir before serving.
Heat the grill/coals to a medium heat (around 375) and remove pork from the refrigerator; allow to come to room temp before grilling.
Place the chops over direct heat to get a nice sear, about 2 minutes each side.
Remove from direct heat and continue to cook on indirect heat for 7-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your meat. The thicker the chop, the longer the cook time. Thinner chops will cook quicker but will also dry out faster if not watched.
Cook until the internal temperature is between 145° and 160°, depending on desired doneness.
Remove from heat and let rest.
Arrange the rice in a bowl or plate, add the pork, and sliced cucumbers and carrots.
Stir the dipping sauce.
Either drizzle the desired amount of sauce over the entire dish or place the sauce in a smaller side bowl and dip as needed. Start with a small amount of sauce at first, as it can overwhelm the dish if too much is used.