Com Suon Nuong (Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops with Rice) is one of the most popular and recognizable dishes in Vietnam.
This Cơm Sườn Nướng (Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops with Rice) recipe has been in my family as far back as I can remember. I have memories as a 7 year old being tasked with grilling lemongrass pork chops for my family. Naturally, Com Suon Nuong is comfort food for me and one of my family's favorite meals.
What's in the Com Suon Nuong Marinade?
The base of the marinade for Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops is super simple and comprises of only four ingredients (fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar and oil). The ingredient that makes it quintessential Vietnamese is the fish sauce. It adds tons of umami and depth of flavor. When the pork chops are cooked, the sugars caramelize with the fish sauce, creating a distinct Vietnamese flavor. This marinade also works well on beef or chicken (wings anyone?).
In addition to the base ingredients, a few aromatics (garlic, shallots and lemongrass) elevate the marinade to another level. If you order pork chops at a Vietnamese restaurant, they rarely include lemongrass. To me, lemongrass is a must add ingredient as it brightens the dish. The fragrant lemongrass combined with the sweet and savory marinade complement each other perfectly.
How to Prep Lemongrass for Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops
Lemongrass is a plant from the grass family with a thick fibrous stalk. It's extremely tough and not edible unless it's finely minced. When chopped, the lemongrass releases a bright, citrusy aroma.
To prepare lemongrass, trim off the dark top half and discard. This part is dry and doesn't have much flavor. All the flavor is in the base of the stalk. Some recipes like soups and curries only require bruising the base of the stalk. However, since we'll be eating the lemongrass in this recipe, we'll need to mince it finely.
Begin by cutting the lemongrass crosswise into thin slices. Continue mincing until it reaches the consistency of wet sand. Alternatively, you can run the sliced lemongrass in a food processor and save a lot of elbow grease.
How to Cook Com Suon Nuong
Once you have the pork chops marinated, fire up the grill until it's smoking hot. A charcoal grill is ideal but propane works as well. Sear the pork chops on both sides. The pork chops should be cooked through but if they're not, lower the temperature or move them to a cooler part of the grill. Continuing grilling until the pork chops reach an internal temperature of 145°F.
If you don't have a grill or if the weather doesn't allow you to grill, the pork chops can be cooked on a stove top. I like to use a cast iron skillet since it's great at retaining heat, but any pan will work. Heat the skillet over high heat, then add a generous amount of oil to the pan, enough to fully coat the bottom. Add the pork chops and sear on both sides. You may need to push down on the pork chops so it makes contact with the pan or use a weight to keep it from curling. If the sear on both sides doesn't cook it all the way through, lower the heat to low and continue cooking.
If your pork chops are on the thicker side, you can finish them off in the oven, much like how you would cook a steak. Instead of lowering the heat to finish cooking, place your pork chops in a 425°F oven or toaster oven. Allow them to finish cooking to an internal temperature of 145°F. Depending on the thickness of your pork chops, it could take around 4-6 minutes.
Serve the Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Chops with rice, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce as well as a side of nuoc mam cham (dipping fish sauce) and you have a meal to die for! We hope you enjoy our family recipe for Com Suon Nuong (Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops) as much as we do.
- 5-7 bone-in pork chops, ½" thick
- 2-3 stalks lemongrass, finely minced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 shallots, finely minced
- 4 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 4 tablespoon fish sauce
- 4 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon high smoke point oil, avocado, peanut, canola
Marinate the Pork Chops
- Combine all the MARINADE ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Place the pork chops in a large bowl or food storage bag and pour in the marinade. Massage the marinade into the pork chops. Be sure each piece is well coated.
- Add the lemongrass, garlic and shallots and massage the aromatics onto the pork chops.
- Marinate the pork chops at least overnight. If the pork chops are thicker than ½", marinate for 2-3 days.
- Bring the grill to high heat and sear the pork chops on both sides.
- If the pork chops are not cooked through, lower the temperature or move them to a cooler part of the grill. Cook until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
Pan Frying Method
- Heat a pan or skillet over high heat, then add a generous amount of oil to fully coat the bottom.
- Sear both sides of the pork chops. As you're searing, press down or use a weight on the pork chops to ensure they have as much contact with the skillet as possible.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
- If your pork chops are thick, you can finish them off in the oven instead. Bake the pork chops in an oven or toaster oven at 425°F until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F. It'll take roughly 4-6 minutes, depending on the thickness of your pork chops.