It’s Grilling Season – Suon Nuong Grilled Pork Chops

12 Jun

If you’re like our little family, spring time is grill time. My stove and oven get very little use in warner seasons and I love cooking on the grill. Steaks and chicken are easy, but pork has never been my go-to protein. Hubs loves a good pork chop and pork is his favorite meat, so I figured  I’d give non-ground pork dishes a try. You know what they say – a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. (Mine too, by the way)

Grilled pork chop with rice, mustard greens, and fresh herbs

Almost every non-pho Vietnamese restaurant I’ve ever been to serves a cơm tấm (broken rice) dish with grilled meat. I love them, but not always crazy about the quality of meat. So when I was at our local farmers market last week and the meat monger pulled out two gorgeous pork chops that were so fresh they hadn’t yet fully frozen, I knew immediately what I was going to make. Grilled pork chops are usually pounded thin and can be tough or dry. Not these gorgeous chops. I left them just as I bought them, but pierced them full of holes to suck up the marinade. (Thank you Smith Family Farm!)

Two raw pork chops from Smith Family Farm

Suon Nuong Grilled Pork Chops

Serves 2 + leftovers


  • 2.5 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp Chinese Five Spice
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs Maggi or other dark soy
  • 2 tbs neutral oil
  • 1 small shallot, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup lemongrass, finely minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced

Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a large plastic bag. If you have time or the equipment, grind the shallot, lemongrass, and garlic together for a finer paste. I didn’t and they were still delicious.

Pierce your pork chops all over to absorb as much of the marinade as possible. I gave the chops a nice little massage too. Anything to make them happier.

Leave the pork in the marinade bag for several hours, if possible, up to over night and flip occasionally (don’t forget the massage).

Pork chops in a bag with marinade

Toss ’em on the grill and cook to 145 degrees internal temperature then enjoy!

Serve with simple stir fried vegetables or simple soup. I set out a plate of fresh vegetables and herbs which was perfect. Hubs didn’t like the braised mustard greens (also fresh from the farmers market). He likes his mustard greens pickled with Thit Kho Nuong. I thought they were delicious. You decide.

Braised Greens

1-2 pounds greens (I used mustard – kale or anything will do)

  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 2 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tbs neutral oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced

Mix the first four ingredients well and set aside. Saute the garlic in one tablespoon of oil until fragrant. Add the greens (make sure they’re well washed) until warmed through and bright green. Add the flavor mixture and toss until wilted but still yielding a crunch.

What a dinner!

Dinner table with grilled pork chops, rice, mustard greens, and fresh herbs




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