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Vietnamese Lemongrass Grilled Pork

My love of Vietnamese food is hardly a secret. From Pho to Banh Mi to Bun Rice Noodles, Vietnamese cuisine transforms simple and humble ingredients to pure heavenly deliciousness.

Around 4 years ago, I discovered a recipe that tasted exactly like the lemongrass grilled pork they made at our local Vietnamese restaurants. It was in fact even better than the restaurant version since it was full of flavor and did not have any MSG.

We were in heaven! Since then, we have made this recipe countless times: for birthday parties, for gatherings and for family. It receives rave reviews and we just cannot stop eating it!

This is delicious served over rice or rice noodles with Nuoc Cham, (which is a fish sauce-lime mixture) and carrot-daikon pickles. Alternatively, you can also make banh mi sandwiches using the lemongrass pork. If you are as addicted as I am to these lemongrass grilled pork, you would eat it on its own as a snack.

Please please please go make this for yourself, or if you are feeling generous, for your family and friends.

Put the liquid into the blender first and then the lemongrass, onions and garlic. (This is a quadruple batch)

1.5 pound pork shoulder, deboned and cut into 1-1/2 inch thick steaks

1-1/2 to 2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp garlic, roughly chopped
1 tbsp yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed to 1 inch and split in half (approximately 3 tbsp)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1-1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1-1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp oil

1. In a blender, combine all of the marinade ingredients and puree until the marinade resembles a thick mixture (paste).

Blend until it resembles a thick paste.
2. Place pork shoulder steaks in a large Ziploc bag and pour marinade into the bag. Press out all of the air and seal and give the pork shoulder steaks a nice thorough massage, ensuring the marinade coats each and every piece. If using a spill proof lidded container, poke the pork shoulder steak with a sharp knife a few times and so the marinade can penetrate the meat. Massage the pork with your hands to make sure the marinade coats every piece.

3. Allow the meat to marinade for at least 2 hours in the fridge, preferably overnight if possible for best flavors.

4. Take the marinated pork shoulder out of the fridge and allow it to rest on the counter for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling (if it is in the summer, place it in a spot away from direct sunlight). This allows the pork to come to room temperature so it will cook evenly.

5. Preheat the grill to medium or medium high. Grill each side, turning frequently until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.

6. Transfer to a plate and cover with a piece of tinfoil. Allow the pork to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

7. Serve over rice or noodles. Garnish with Carrot Daikon Pickles and pour Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham) over. 

Served over rice and topped with carrot-daikon pickles with a side salad.
Source: Viet World Kitchen

  • Fish sauce comes in glass or plastic bottles. Be careful not to spill any on your counters or floor as your kitchen would stink for a very long time.
  • Remove the outer leaves (the tougher parts) of the lemongrass and discard.
Lemongrass smells like lemons. Do not substitute lemons for lemongrass please.
  • Chop the lemongrass into small pieces for easier blending.
  • If you are short on time or cannot find fresh lemongrass, there are lemongrass pastes (sold in the refrigerated section of the produce department) which you can use instead. We have tried using lemongrass paste before but the flavor was often quite weak and not as strong as fresh lemongrass.

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