Meat grilled over charcoal is one of the standard street snacks throughout Vietnam. The smell from the dripping fat on the hot coals is incredible. And these fragrant and delicious grilled Vietnamese pork skewers are a great way to change up your BBQ game this summer.
These tasty skewers are a simplified version combining several styles from Vietnam. As some of the more “traditional” varieties are more complicated or have harder to find ingredients, we decided to put together an easier, entry-level recipe.
Vietnamese Pork Skewer Ingredients
This is a perfect recipe for you to give Vietnamese cooking a try. Whether you’re a novice cook or a grill master, these skewers are simple to make and taste incredible.
There are only 6 ingredients in these Vietnamese pork skewers, and they are all easy to find. You will need:
- Ground Pork
- Green Onions
- Fish Sauce
- Palm Sugar
- Black Pepper
Fish Sauce Substitute
Fish sauce is a staple in Vietnamese cuisine and is what really gives these skewers their flavour. Most major supermarkets and any Asian grocer will carry it. If for whatever reason you can’t track it down and need a fish sauce substitute, you can use Worcestershire sauce. It won’t have the same taste, but it’s better than skipping the main flavour altogether.
Palm Sugar Substitute
Unlike fish sauce, palm sugar isn’t a necessary ingredient. If you have an Asian market nearby, it’s a nice touch of authenticity, but you can easily use regular white sugar as a palm sugar substitute.
How to Make Vietnamese Pork Skewers
The first thing you need to do is soak your skewers in water for several hours before you plan on grilling. This allows the wood to absorb water, helping to prevent them from burning when cooking.
Mince the garlic and finely slice the green onions. Mix the pork, onions, garlic, fish sauce and palm sugar with a few cranks of fresh ground pepper. If you aren’t grinding your pepper fresh, use around 1 teaspoon.
Unlike with burgers or meatloaf, you want to mix this well – the more, the better. Mash the mixture with your hands for a minute or so until it becomes sticky. If you leave it too loose, it will just crumble off of the skewer.
Take a small handful of the mixture and form it around the end of the skewer in the shape of a sausage. They should be around 1 inch thick and 5 inches long.
Grill over high heat, turning every couple of minutes until cooked through. If you have a meat thermometer, cook the skewers until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
Tips for Grilling Pork Skewers
The trickiest part of this recipe is the physical act of grilling. Because the ground pork mixture is so soft, the skewers will sometimes pull right through the side of the mixture when you try to flip them.
To avoid this issue, make sure your grill is really hot before you begin cooking, this will help prevent the meat from sticking. If you still find that the skewers are pulling through, you can easily use tongs to turn them. Once they’re flipped, the skewer should stay put.
Do You Need a Grill?
For the absolute best flavour, just like the streets of Vietnam, grilling over charcoal is the way to go. If charcoal isn’t an option, a regular gas BBQ will work fine.
If you don’t have a barbecue or weather isn’t cooperating, you can cook these on a grilling pan or regular cast-iron pan over the stove.
What to Serve with Vietnamese Pork Skewers
One of the reasons these skewers are so great is that they can be enjoyed in many different ways. Serve them in a baguette with some cilantro, spicy mayo and hoisin for a bit of a faux banh mi, or wrap them in rice paper or lettuce leaves for a fresher twist. For a larger meal, put them over a bowl of rice noodles with some chopped veggies. Or, just eat them as is, right off the skewer, with sriracha, and oyster sauce for dipping.
- 1 lb Ground Pork
- 5 Green Onions (scallions), finely chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 tsp Palm Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
- 1 tsp Black Pepper, ground
- Soak wooden skewers several hours ahead of time in water.
- Heat charcoal grill or turn gas BBQ to high.
- In a bowl, mix all ingredients very well until it becomes sticky.
- Form meat around one end of the skewer, roughly 1 inch by 5 inches.
- When grill is hot, grill the meat on all sides until cooked through.
- Serve hot with nuoc cham, Hoison, Sriracha or your favourite dipping sauce.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 3 skewers
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 357Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 107mgSodium: 440mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 30g
We are not certified nutritionists and make no claims to be so. The nutritional information given here is intended for informational purposes only. These nutritional calculations are rounded numbers dependant on the certain ingredients and amounts in the recipe and are by no means perfect.