Lemongrass Pork Chops

NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.

If you’ve ever been to a Vietnamese restaurant and not headed straight to the pho section of the menu, you may have tried lemongrass pork, which is a sweet/savory grilled pork dish. I decided to incorporate these unique flavors into thick-cut pork chops (because face it, there’s only so many ways to cook pork chops) and I added a citrusy pan sauce on top for good measure.

Brining is an essential part of juicy pork chops (even the traditional Vietnamese recipe calls for marinating overnight), so be sure to start this recipe well in advance of dinnertime.

You’ll need:
2 large, thick cut pork chops (bone-in, center cut preferred)
3 stalks of lemongrass, chopped (1/2 cup if using pre-chopped lemongrass)
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp each water and fish sauce
1 tsp each sesame oil, black pepper, sea salt, tamari and potato starch
1/2 cup chicken broth
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp coconut oil

In a food processor (or my handy Magic Bullet), puree 2/3 of the lemongrass, 4 of the garlic cloves, the water, fish sauce, sesame oil, black pepper, salt and 1/2 the lime juice. Pour the mixture into a ziploc bag with the pork chops, and marinate for 2-4 hours (or overnight).

Remove the pork chops from the bag and pat dry with a paper towel. There should be some of the mixture stuck to the pork chops, which is good. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and put a heavy duty baking pan inside the oven to heat it up. Heat up the coconut oil in a different pan on the stovetop on high heat.

Sear the pork chops for three minutes on each side as the oven is heating up. Don’t discard the pan when you’re done with it!

Place the pork chops on the baking pan in the oven (which will produce a nice sizzling sound) and cook for six minutes. Flip the pork chops and cook for another six minutes. Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature – if it’s at least 130 degrees, you’re ready to take them out. Immediately transfer them to a plate and cover them with tin foil, letting it rest for at least five minutes. This part is crucial because the rest of the pork will cook while it rests, and it gives you time to whip up the pan sauce.

Return the pan you used to sear the pork chops to the stovetop, and turn the heat to med/high. Add the remaining 1/3 of the lemongrass and 2 garlic cloves and saute for about 30 seconds, then add the chicken broth, tamari and the rest of the lime juice, scraping up any pork bits that were stuck to the bottom of the pan. As that simmers for a few minutes, add a little water to the potato starch to create a milky liquid. Add this liquid to the pan, stirring constantly, and remove from the heat once it gets to your desired thickness.

Take the pork chops from the tin foiled plate and serve, pouring the pan sauce on top. One thing I should note that when tenting the pork with tin foil, they’ll only reach about 155 degrees. This means they could potentially be a little pink, which is fine (medium rare pork is the only one I’d really worry about).

63 thoughts on “Lemongrass Pork Chops

  1. Hi
    I made these last night and they are a big hit. VERY nice indeed.
    I marinated the chops over night in a container and had to cook them just in a pan. But they are great.


  2. I love lemongrass. I didn’t know you could get it pre-grated though! I have some stalks in my freezer I need to use and this sounds like a perfect way to use them. Thanks for the recipe!


  3. Oh how I love this posts! Yet another wonderful wordpress blog about food! Because, I …can’t cook. It’s nice to see what people can do with such a talent. I think I’ll end up one of those wrinkly old ladies sitting at a corner cafe watching the young people coming out of the organic food store saying, “you people make my arse twitch.” But…I love ya!


  4. Wow–the pork chops look amazing. My partner and I lived in Vietnam for a year and I’m sure would love these!

    Congrats to you and lemon grass on freshly pressed. Hang on for the ride!



    1. Hi, as far as I know lemon balm is more like mint than lemongrass. I know it’s used in pesto, but I’m not sure how it would do at a high heat, like in this recipe. I’d love to hear how it goes, if you’re willing to sacrifice some pork chops to find out :) Good luck!


  5. I saw a comment like this already, but I repeat: “wait a minute, there’s pre-grated lemongrass?” Then again, since I think the best breadmakers are hands, I might not have bought that anyway.

    Your recipe sounds great.


  6. Lemongrass is my FAVORITE herb, and also my favorite smell. These look delicious and I can’t wait to try them! Thanks for sharing with us, and I’m glad you got a feature post!


  7. I’m salivating just looking at that! I just bought some thick-cut pork chops for grilling this weekend. May just try this instead. I suppose they would be just as good if I grilled them after marinating instead of oven broiling. Either way, they look delicious! Thanks for the recipe.


  8. I love Vietnamese food!! I love lemon grass too, its soooo yum!
    I once brought a lemon grass plant, but didn’t manage to grow that well probably due to weather conditions or poor maintenance.

    But i just love it! Wouldn’t mind living across lemon grass or the pork chop you wrote about. haha Thanks for sharing.


  9. I am not sure if I am just really hungry right now… but the moment I read the title I was drooling! MMMmmm if only my partner ate pork :( I’d have rushed out, grabbed a few things and had it all prepared for LUNCH tomorrow :D Great post!


  10. This is so flavourful and juicy.. even without the sauce. I cannot imagine the next level of awesomeness if I have the time to whip up the sauce. I’ll be sure to do that next time. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!!!


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