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Suon Nuong (Vietnamese Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chops)

Grilled pork chop over rice with side of salad.


These authentic and flavorful Vietnamese pork chops (suon nuong) are marinated in fragrant and savory ingredients like lemongrass, fish sauce, sugar and honey. Grill them over medium-high heat for picture-perfect grill marks, and nice charred edges. Serve these delicious pork chops over a bed of rice with a variety of fresh and pickled vegetables – and of course, drizzled with nuoc cham for the ultimate dish that will rival any restaurant!

grilled pork chops with green onions.

Lemongrass is a quintessential aromatic that you’ll find in a lot of Vietnamese dishes and marinades. It has a refreshing citrusy flavor, with a hint of mint, that brightens up any dish. There are many suon nuong marinade variations, but this version is my favorite since it was inspired by my mom’s recipe. 

If you have been to a Vietnamese restaurant you’ll find these lemongrass pork chops paired with a broken rice or a vermicelli dish. Whatever you serve it with, it’ll be delicious! 

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Ingredients & notes

Ingredients to make lemongrass pork chops and marinade.

Pork chops – I used ¾ inch thick bone-in pork chops.  Thinner cuts are great too. 

Lemongrass – You can get stalks of lemongrass at most Asian stores or you can find it in the frozen aisle, where they are pre chopped/minced. 

Fish sauce – It’s not Vietnamese unless there’s fish sauce! My favorite brands include Red Boat, Son and Three Crabs.

Brown sugar and honey – A combo of these sweeteners give a darker color to the pork and gets you nice grill marks. 

Instructions

Lemongrass marinade in bowl.

Make the marinade by combining all the ingredients and mix well.

pork chops marinading in bag.

Pour marinade over the pork and coat well, in a plastic ziploc bag. Squeeze out all the air, zip it up, then marinate overnight.

Pork on a grill.

Grill on medium high heat for 5-6 minutes on each side (for ¾ inch thick chops). 

Grilled pork chop with rice and side of salad.

Serve over a bed of rice with vegetables like sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, lettuce and pickled vegetables. Drizzle with nuoc mam cham sauce and enjoy!

Pro tips

  • You can also use this lemongrass marinade for delicious grilled chicken.
  • For additional aromatics and flavor, brush it with some scallion oil (mo hanh). To make it heat vegetable oil on medium heat and sautee chopped green onions for 1-2 minutes.
  • To get those nice, charred grill marks and better caramelization, make sure to preheat your grill to at least 400 Fahrenheit, and shake off the excess marinade before placing the chops on the grill.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are my pork chops tough?

The best way to keep pork chops moist is to not overcook them.

How do you grill Vietnamese pork chops?

Make sure to place them on a grill preheated to at least 400 Fahrenheit, heat set to medium-high, and only turn the pork once. 

How long should you cook grilled pork chops?

A ½” thick chop takes about 5 minutes per side to reach medium doneness. A ¾” thick chop takes about 6 minutes per side. And for a 1” thick chop, cook for  about 7 to 8 minutes per side.


How can you tell if pork is cooked without a thermometer?

Try the “poke test”: With your left hand, touch your thumb to your middle finger. Using your right hand, touch the meaty part of your thumb – it should feel close to a medium-done chop/steak. Now like the thickest part of your pork chop, if it feels softer, cook for a bit more.

More Vietnamese recipes to try!

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Grilled pork chop with rice and side of vegetables.

Suon Ram (Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Chops)

Kaylie

These authentic and flavorful Vietnamese pork chops are marinated in fragrant lemongrass, savory fish sauce, and a touch of sugar and honey. Grill them over medium-high heat for picture-perfect grill marks, and nice charred edges.

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 10 mins

marinade time 8 hrs

Total Time 8 hrs 20 mins

Course lunch, Main Course

Cuisine Asian, Vietnamese

Servings 4 pork chops

Calories 505 kcal

Instructions 

  • Place the pork chops into a resealable bag.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, lemongrass, shallot, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, sesame oil and salt.

  • Pour the marinade over the pork chops in the plastic bag, making sure it evenly coats each piece of meat.

  • Seal and place the bag in a large bowl (as the bones may puncture the bag) in the refrigetor overnight.

  • To grill, preheat the grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, on medium high heat. Grill for about 6 minutes on each side (see notes below for grill time for thicker cuts).

Notes

*Nutritional facts provided are only an estimate, accuracy is not guaranteed.

  • To get nice charred grill marks and better caramelization, make sure to preheat your grill to at least 400 Fahrenheit, and shake off the excess marinade before placing the chops on the grill. Only turn once. 
  • A ½” thick chop takes about 5 minutes per side to reach medium doneness. A ¾” thick chop takes about 6 minutes per side. And for a 1” thick chop, cook for  about 7 to 8 minutes per side.
  • The pork chops should reach at least 145 Fahrenheit in the thickest part, which will be cooked medium.
  • You can also use this lemongrass marinade for delicious grilled chicken.

Nutrition

Serving: 4pork chopsCalories: 505kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 33gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 2469mgPotassium: 815mgFiber: 2gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 10IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 52mgIron: 2mg





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