Sườn Nướng (Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops)

Thin cuts and a lemongrass marinade deliver maximum flavor with minimal effort.

  • Serves


  • Cook

    1 hour 30 minutes


By SAVEUR Editors

Updated on June 2, 2024

The brilliance behind sườn nướng, the addictive smoke-scented grilled pork chops that are often served with fluffy white rice and nước chấm dipping sauce, is their slim size: Because these bone-in cuts are so thin, they soak up their sweet, garlicky, lemongrass-spiked marinade like a sponge, and they cook in minutes, charred on the outside, tender and intensely seasoned within. You can get three delicious cutlets out of one American-size pork chop: We usually find them pre-sliced at Asian markets, but you can ask your butcher to cut quarter-inch slices from the loin. Aside from the classic Vietnamese preparation, they're great for making schnitzel and roulades. Check out all of our favorite Vietnamese recipes here.

Featured in the January/February 2012 issue.


  • ½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced shallots
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced lemongrass
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable or peanut oil
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1½ Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. pork blade chops (¼ in. thick), pounded thin
  • Steamed white rice and nước chấm, for serving


Step 1

Bring a kettle of water to a boil. To a small pot set over medium-high heat, add ½ cup of the sugar and cook, swirling frequently, until dissolved and caramel colored, about 10 minutes. Add ¼ cup boiling water and cook, swirling, until the liquid is homogenous, about 1 minute. Set aside to cool slightly, then scrape into the bowl of a food processor along with the remaining sugar, the shallots, lemongrass, oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, black pepper, and garlic. Process until smooth, 30–45 seconds.

Step 2

To a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, add the pork chops. Pour over the sauce, cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to 10).

Step 3

Set a large grill pan over high heat. When it begins to smoke, add enough chops to fill the pan without crowding, and grill, turning once, until charred in spots and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil; repeat with the remaining chops. Serve immediately with the rice and nước chấm.

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