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4.82 from 38 votes

VIETNAMESE PORK (FOR BOWLS, LETTUCE WRAPS, SANDWICHES)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pork preferably pork shoulder *
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar or 2.5 Tbs honey
  • 2 Tablespoons regular soy sauce or 2 teaspoons “dark” or “thick” soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce and/or oyster sauce I do half & half
  • 1.5 Tablespoons neutral cooking oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 to 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 stalk minced lemongrass ** see note – we never have any
  • Optional: minced shallot or onion jalapeno/chili pepper or red pepper flakes

Rice or Vermicelli Bowl Topping Ideas

  • cilantro
  • crushed peanuts
  • Nuoc cham sauce
  • quick pickles

Banh Mi Sandwich Filling Ideas

  • Generous spread of mayo we love Kewpie mayo from the Asian grocery
  • Pate is tasty and traditional, if you have it on hand
  • Pork, cucumber spears, pickled carrots, cilantro, jalapenos

Instructions

  • Chop + mix together all the marinade ingredients. If you have a food processor, you can put the garlic, shallot, and lemongrass all in together to chop finely.
  • Slice the pork to about 1/4″ thick pieces and pound with a mallet if you have one (with a layer of saran wrap or parchment paper in between).
  • Coat the pork well in the marinade, and refrigerate for 2 hours to 24 hours, stirring once in between.
  • To cook the pork, grilling in a basket is ideal. As we don’t have a grill, we’ve been making these 2 other ways that work well!

Easy-cleanup broil

  • Pre-heat your broiler oven while placing the pork slices on a foil lined baking sheet, making sure not to overlap the pieces. Once the broiler is ready, place the baking sheet on a high rack and broil with the oven door cracked open, until the pork pieces develop a nice sear on top. This takes about 6-7 minutes and no flipping of the meat is needed! Note: handle carefully as the broiler gets very hot, and don’t re-use the same piece of foil for multiple batches as the sugar in the marinade will burn.

Pan sear

  • Heat a frying pan to medium high heat with a little oil. Once the oil is hot, place the pork in the pan, flipping occasionally to make sure both sides get evenly browned and seared (about 4 to 5 minutes per side). Personally I liked the caramelization better from pan searing, but it’s hard to beat the ease of the foil-lined broil method!

Notes

* Pork with more fat and marbling is ideal, as the fat will help with caramelization on high heat and keep the meat juicy. “Pork butt” is a misnomer as it also comes from shoulder. If you must use pork chops, dark meat is preferred and definitely no need to trim off the fat. We’ve also made this with regular pork chops sliced small, and while it was still good, it’s definitely better with a fattier cut.
** Lemongrass stalks can be found at Asian + most larger grocery stores like Whole Foods, and freezes well for later use.  You can skip, or use the juice from 1/2 of a lime (or lemon) – it’s not the same flavor, but citrus in marinade helps tenderize meat so doesn’t hurt.