Vietnamese Restaurant-Style Grilled Lemongrass Pork (Thit Heo Nuong Xa)
Yield 4 servings
You can use this marinade with small pieces of pork and thread them on skewers and dip them in some nuoc cham dipping sauce. If there’s no lemongrass, use about 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder instead. Slicing the pork at the end is a traditional Vietnamese approach to eating meat as the pieces are easier to pick up with chopsticks. Enjoy with rice, a stir-fried or grilled vegetable and a quick soup (canh). Feel free to stuff leftovers into banh mi sandwiches and use them for bun rice noodle salad bowls.
1 pound boneless pork shoulder steak, about 1/2 inch thick
- 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons granulated or light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped shallot or yellow onion
- 1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and finely chopped (3 tablespoons)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoon dark (black) soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon oil
- Cut the pork shoulder steak into pieces about 3 to 4 inches big. Set aside.
- Put the sugar, garlic, shallot and lemongrass into an electric mini chopper and process to a fine texture. (Or, mince the garlic, shallot, and lemongrass individually, put them into a bowl, and add the sugar.) Add the pepper, soy sauce, fish sauce, and oil and process to combine well. Aim for a relatively smooth texture. The marinade will be chocolate brown. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add the pork, and turn to coat well. Cover and set aside at room temperature to marinate for 1 hour. Or, refrigerate up to 24 hours, letting the meat sit out at room temperature for 45 minutes to remove some of the chill before grilling.
- Preheat a grill to medium-high. Grill for 6 to 8 minutes, turning frequently, until cooked through. Nick with a knife to test. Transfer to a plate, loosely cover with foil or an inverted bowl for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.