I always considered thit nuong (grilled pork) a dish not worth trying. Like with pho or pizza, I felt like it's easier and probably much better at a restaurant so I never attempted to make it. Then I gradually experimented with pho and pizza making and it wasn't so bad. Sure I failed miserably many times but I think I have it down now. Now it's time to tackle thit nuong.
There are many different recipes out there and as always, my recipe was adapted from many different sources and tailored the way I like it and what was readily available in our pantry. For example, I'm not a fan of lemongrass.
1 lb pork shoulder or butt (any fatty cut), sliced
1 Tbsp garlic
2 shallots (or 1/2 onion)
1 Tbsp thick soy sauce
2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp fish sauce
3 Tbsp brown sugar
[Marinate, at least 30 mins or overnight]
1. Grill, slightly char the outside (or not). But the burnt ends pack the most flavor, just don't over do it. Using a meat cage makes it easy.
2. Once charred on both sides, move to cooler side of grill (so that it doesn't get burnt to a crisp) and cook until done.
3. Add it to your starch of choice (noodles, rice, bread) and eat.
It's important to buy a fatty cut of pork. The first time I did this recipe I used pork tenderloin. First I wasted an expensive cut of meat and second, it dried up fast. The fat adds flavor and keeps the meat moist. Other recipes mention charbroiling it in the oven, which I haven't tried. I'm sure the results will be the same.
I love the versatility of this dish. You can eat it with rice or vermicelli noodles. You can make it into a wrap with rice paper (spring rolls). Or better yet, make some Vietnamese mayo and eat it as a banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich).