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Vietnamese lemongrass pork chops served on a large white plate with rice, tomatoes and cucumber with a side of nuoc cham dipping sauce
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5 from 6 votes

Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chops

This easy-to-make sweet and savory grilled Vietnamese lemongrass pork chops recipe is full of flavors from lemongrass, garlic, and fish sauce and grilled over a bbq or cooked on a stovetop!
Prep Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Grilling, Main Course
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: bbq, grilled, lemongrass, lemongrass pork chop, lemongrass pork chops, pork chop, Vietnamese pork chop
Servings: 2
Calories: 2827kcal
Author: Joyce Lee

Ingredients

  • 2 Pork shoulder steaks *see notes (approximately ½-¾ inch thick)
  • 1 tablespoon Oil (used to coat porkchop right before grilling)

Lemongrass Marinade

  • 1 Stalk of Lemongrass *see notes (approximately 3½ tablespoons)
  • 4 cloves Garlic (approximately 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 Shallot (approximately 2 tablepoons)
  • tablespoons Fish Sauce
  • tablespoons Dark Soy Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Water

Garnishes & Extras

Instructions

Marinating and Preparing the Pork Chops

  • Remove the top 2-3 inches of dried tips from the lemongrass and discard it. I like to smash the base of the lemongrass so that it's easier to chop and it releases the oils. Cut the lemongrass into small pieces 14-inch pieces and place it in a food processor. If you are not using a food processor, finely chop the lemongrass as fine as you can. 
  • Add the rest of the marinade ingredients (garlic, shallots, soy sauce, water, fish sauce, and sugar) into the food processor and blitz it until it becomes a paste.
  • Add the pork shoulder into a large bowl. Pour the marinade over the pork and make sure it is well coated. Marinate the pork chop for 24 hours
  • After it has marinated for 24 hours. Bring the pork chop out of the fridge for an hour to marinate at room temperature - bringing the meat to room temperature makes it cook faster, more evenly and the marinade absorbs better as well.
  • Scrape off and remove the marinade by hand, as much as possible so it doesn't burn while you are grilling the pork chops
  • Drizzle oil on the pork chop and lightly coat each piece. This will help prevent it from sticking on the grill (you still should oil the grill as well)

Grilling the Lemongrass Pork Chops

  • Pre-heat bbq to high heat and wait for it to get hot.
  • Grill for 2-3 mins on high with the lid up (approximately 1-2 minutes per side), then adjust the heat to medium heat and cook it for 4-6 mins with the lid down, no flipping required.
  • Once it is done, remove it from the grill and let it rest for 5-10 mins
  • Enjoy with a side of rice and some cucumbers, tomatoes and, nuoc cham dip!

(Alternative) Pan-Frying the Lemongrass Pork Chops

  • If you do not have a grill, you can use a cast iron pan or a heavy bottom frying pan to cook this as well. It is very important to remove as much as the marinade off the porkchop as possible before you pan-fry it so that it doesn't burn.
  • Add oil to a heavy bottom frying pan or cast iron pan and set the heat to high heat.
  • Once the pan is very hot, add the pork chop in the pan and sear it for 2 minutes per side. (approximately 4 minutes in total) Try not to flip it too much so it can create a bit of char. The house may get a bit smoky during this step.
  • Once you have charred and seared the outside, cook it with a lid for 4 minutes a side with a lid. (8 minutes in total)
  • Depending on how hot your stovetop is, the pork chop should be cooked by now. This is based on a ¾ inch shoulder chop. Remove it from the pan and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving it
  • Enjoy with a side of rice and some cucumbers, tomatoes and, nuoc cham dip!

Notes

  • Traditionally, Vietnamese grilled pork chops are made with thin slices of bone-in pork chops that come from the loin - both loin chops and rib chops. For this recipe, I break tradition and use shoulder chops instead. I like to use shoulder chops because it is has a lot more fat marbled into the meat, and it's essentially all 'dark meat' so it stays moist, juicy, and flavorful - even if you overcook it.  That being said, you definitely can use the traditional loin or rib chops cuts instead if that is what you prefer - just keep in mind that the cooking time in this recipe is for a ¾ inch thick shoulder chop, so you may need to adjust your grilling time, and grill it for less time if you are using a thinner pork chop.
  • I add water to my marinade so that the food processor has an easier time grinding through the dry aromatics, and because the water in the marinade creates a mini brine when it gets combined with the salt from the fish sauce/soy sauce. The salt helps draw in the water into the meat, which keeps it juicy and flavorful.
  • For the marinade, if you can't find shallots, you can substitute it with a ¼ of a small red onion, which should be approximately 2 tablespoons.
  • If you cannot find fresh lemongrass,  you can use frozen pre-ground lemongrass. It is usually stored in the freezer section of Asian grocery stores. Do not use powdered lemongrass, it will not taste the same.
  • The dark soy sauce gives this recipe a bit of color and salt. You can substitute this with regular soy sauce, if you cannot find dark soy - you will mostly like some of the color but it will still taste fantastic.
  • The fish sauce is a very important ingredient in this recipe and should not be substituted. I like to use Squid brand fish sauce because it only contains 3 ingredients (anchovy, salt, and sugar) and it's very easy to find. Alternatively, I also love Golden boy fish sauce but it is harder to find. Golden boy fish sauce is also only made with 3 ingredients but it's a lot more potent and saltier.
  • I add oil and coat each pork chop with it right before I grill them so they don't stick to the grill and so that it helps with the charring process. You should still oil your grill when you grill these pork chops.
  • Cut off and discard the top 2-3 inches of the dried lemongrass tips. It's a tough and woody herb, and it will grind more easily this way.
  • If you are not using a food processor for the marinade, make sure you finely mince the lemongrass as fine as you can get it. Lemongrass is very woody and not very pleasant to eat, especially in larger pieces.
  • Try adding a fried egg over your rice and pork chop for even more deliciousness!
  • Don't forget to make a Vietnamese fish sauce dipping sauce (nuoc cham) - Personally, I think this dipping sauce is a must for this pork chop for the best flavor. It really gives it a pop of flavor and cuts into the greasiness of the meat.
  • The marinade can be doubled, tripled, quadrupled, etc if you are planning to make a lot of pork chops. Just make sure you remove some of it before you grill the pork chop

Nutrition

Calories: 2827kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 233g | Fat: 196g | Saturated Fat: 70g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 20g | Monounsaturated Fat: 87g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 860mg | Sodium: 2133mg | Potassium: 3447mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 73IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 304mg | Iron: 15mg