Sweet Lemongrass Marinade for Pork

by Apr 6, 2024

This sweet marinade is from Charles Phan of Slanted Door fame. In his cookbook, Vietnamese Home Cooking, he uses it for bone-in pork chops and while that is delicious, we’ve come to love the skewers as well. Use pork shoulder cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces for maximum caramelization, which together with the crispy fat are what makes this extra special. 


Lemongrass Pork Skewers off the grill


Sweet Lemongrass Marinade for Pork

makes enough marinade for 2–3 pounds of pork; adapted from VIetnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan


  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces and placed in a bowl

Sweet Lemongrass Marinade

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup fish sauce Red Boat
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 Thai chile, stemmed and finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Serve with rice, lime wedges, mint or Thai basil leaves, and dipping sauce

Dipping Sauce: Nuoc Cham (recipe on ripefoodandwine, linked in instructions below) or simply lime juice mixed with fish sauce and a chopped Thai chile


  1. Combine the sugar, fish sauce, lemongrass, shallot, garlic, chile, and black pepper in a bowl and whisk until sugar dissolves.

  2. Pour marinade over pork pieces (in bowl) and allow to marinate at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. (Optionally refrigerate overnight. Bring pork to room temperature before grilling.)

  3. Preheat grill and skewer the marinated pork. Cook until pork is beginning to caramelize and is cooked through, about 10 minutes total or to 140°F.

  4. Serve with rice and nuoc cham dipping sauce and lime wedges.

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