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Grilled Vietnamese Pork Sausages (Nem Nuong)

A grilled Vietnamese sausage (Nem Nuong) with sweet, garlicky and smoky flavours that can be eaten as is as a snack, or added to noodle dishes and those addictive Vietnamese rice rolls.
Course Main, Snack
Cuisine Vietnamese
Keyword nem nuong recipe, vietnamese sausage
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 20 mini sausages
Calories 78kcal
Author Joyce | Pups with Chopsticks


Garlicky Bacon Fat

  • 3 slices bacon
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot (or small onion)

Annatto Oil (Optional for Colour)

Nem Nuong Ingredients


Making the Garlicky Bacon Fat

  • In a food processor, combine the garlic, shallots and bacon and blitz until a paste forms (I found it easier to chop everything up into smaller pieces first). If you don't have a food processor, you can chop this by hand, but it must be chopped very finely into almost a paste.
  • Set aside for later

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are not making the annatto oil, you will still need the oil from the ingredient list. Just add it directly to the pork on the next step in the 'Mixing the Nem Nuong'

    Making the Annatto Oil (Optional for Color)

    • In a frying pan, set the heat to low and add the oil and annatto seeds in it. Let it toast until the colour from the seeds bleed out onto the oil (approximately 1-2 minutes)
    • You will know it's done when the oil is a nice dark orange hue. Turn off the heat and set to cool for later.

    Mixing the Nem Nuong

    • In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients in the Nem Nuong Ingredient list and mix well by hand until everything is well combined.
    • Add in the 'Garlicky Bacon Fat' mix you created earlier and continue to mix well by hand.
    • In a large ziploc bag, add everything from the bowl, and the annatto oil (or use plain oil if you didn't make annatto oil) and remove as much air as you can from the bag and seal it well
    • Knead the bag for approximately 15 minutes, occasionally whacking the bag against a counter top or cutting board firmly to remove air bubbles. (Make sure the bag is reliable and well sealed before doing this.)
    • Remove a little piece of meat and pan fry it to do a taste test to see if it is salty enough (or sweet enough) to your preference. Not all fish sauces are created equal and some are saltier than others. Adjust the seasonings by adding more honey or more fish sauce to your liking.
    • Once you are done, put the meat in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour to cool.
    • Soak the skewers in a tall cup glass of water and set aside

    Skewering the Ground Meat

    • Once the meat is cold, remove it from the fridge and setup your skewering station and lightly oil your hands. If your hands are very hot or warm, run your wrist under cold water to cool them down a bit
    • Take about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of meat and roll it into a ball and skewer it. Gently squeeze your hand around the ball to form a oval shape (or you can keep it as a round meatball as well)
    • If there is an opening or hole on the openings of the meat, seal it well by pinching the openings and gently twisting your finger and then sliding it slightly towards the meatball. (See blog post for photos)
    • Continue to do this until all the meat is used up.

    Grilling & Serving It

    • Set your BBQ or charcoal grill to approximately 450F (232C) - 500F (260C) degrees. Once the grill is hot, add the skewers on and close the lid.
    • Cook the skewers for about 3-4 minutes until the meat becomes firm. Give it a gentle poke to see if it is still mushy. If it still mushy it will be very difficult to flip it. Wait until it is firm before trying to flip it.
    • Once the meatballs are firm and cooked, you no longer need to use the lid anymore and can grill it over the open fire to start browning it by flipping it every 1-2 minutes for approximately 10-12 minutes.
    • You will know the meat is done when it is very firm and browned evenly.
    • Serve it over some vermicelli noodles, use it in Vietnamese rice spring rolls or eat them as is with Nuoc Cham sauce! :)


    • To save you some time, you can also make this as meatballs without skewers
    • If you don't have a grill or charcoal smoker, you can also cook this in a frying pan as well but you will miss out on the smoky flavor.
    • Mix the annatto oil last with a utensil so that you don't die your hands
    • For more tips and tricks regarding skewering, refer to my page "How to Skewer Ground Meat (So That It Stays On the Sticks)"


    Serving: 1sausage | Calories: 78kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Sodium: 196mg | Sugar: 3g