Saturday, March 3, 2012

Vietnamese (inspired) grilled pork

The Vietnamese dish, Thịt Nướng, was my inspiration for this dish.  I always love the grilled or charbroiled pork dishes at Vietnamese restaurants but I never order them when I eat out because pho always wins me over in the end.
However, I found boneless, skinless, trimmed pork chops on sale at Sprouts ($1.49 a pound! what a steal!), and I decided to make my own dish at home!

The only differences between my pork dish and thịt nướng is that it is typically consumed with vermicelli noodles, but I had my pork with rice since rice > noodles (that's a fact!).  Also, I did not slice the pork as thinly as thịt nướng typically is and I omitted lemongrass since I don't have any.  But other than that, everything still came out delicious

I know a number of people that refuse to eat pork due to reasons such as "pork is very fatty", or "pork is very unhealthy" ***
However, I think when a lot of people think of "pork" they think of: bacon, sausage, ham, etc... 
And it's true, all these items are really unhealthy.  But what is also true, is that all those items are heavily processed, made of pork fat, and are treated with chemicals.  It is not pork in their true form.
When I say "I eat pork" or "I cook pork", I'm talking about the actual cut of meat and it is typically a pork tenderloin.  Did you know that a 3oz serving of pork tenderloin contains 2.98g of fat and that the same portion of skinless chicken breast contains 3.03g of fat?  Yep, you read that correctly, pork tenderloin is leaner than boneless skinless chicken breast!

That's actually the reason why pork can be very hard to cook: because it is so lean, you can easily dry out the meat.  And similar to chicken, pork does not have a lot of flavor so when cooking pork, you need to add in a ton of your own flavor.  That's why for this dish, I put in so many ingredients into the marinade and marinated the pork overnight.

Ingredients for the marinade:
4 Tablespoons Fresh Garlic, minced
6 Tablespoons Cilantro, finely chopped
2 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoon Honey
2 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Teaspoon Fresh Cracked Pepper
2 Pounds lean pork chops, sliced into 2-3 inch strips

Mix all the marinade ingredients together with the pork and let it marinate in the fridge overnight.

The next day, remove pork from the refrigerator 5-10 minutes before grilling to take the chill off the meat. Heat your grill pan on medium high heat (you want a good sear, but not burn the meat!  Especially since there is sugar in the marinade) and lightly cover with cooking spray (You can also use your outdoor grill!).

Grill the meat until both sides are browned and cooked thoroughly.  Garnish with chopped green onions.

Another reason I've heard from people, for why they don't eat pork, is because it's "gross" and it has "worms" in it.  As far as I know... not all pork has worms in it.  I have also heard that you are more likely to get sick from eating undercooked chicken (salmonella poisoning) than you are from eating undercooked pork.  If that's the case, isn't chicken more "gross" than pork?

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