Grilled pork with a Vietnamese inspired marinade served on a bowl of noodles, lettuce, and cucumber, and topped with a refreshing watermelon salsa
- 1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder steaks
- 1/4 cup Fish Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Sugar
- 1/4 cup Lime Juice
- Salt and Pepper
- 2 cups diced watermelon
- 1 Jalapeno diced, seeds optional
- 1 clove Garlic grated
- 1 Lime (juice of)
- 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
- 1 Shallot minced
- 1 tablespoon Honey
- 10 leaves Fresh Mint chopped
- 8 ounces Rice Noodles soaked in warm water until tender
- 1 tablespoon Sesame Oil
- 1 teaspoon Fish Sauce
- 1 Lime (juice of)
- 2 cups Shredded Lettuce
- 1 cup sliced cucumbers
- Mix the fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar in a bowl and pour it over the pork steaks. Allow to rest in the fridge for an hour or two, but no longer than 3 hours.
- Make the salsa by mixing all the salsa ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside until ready to use.
- When the rice noodles are tender, strain from the warm water and toss in the sesame oil, fish sauce, and lime juice. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
- Grill the steaks over very high heat to char all over and cook through.
- Allow the pork to rest for 5 minutes after it comes off the grill, then slice it thin. Save all the juices from the pork and stir them into the rice noodles.
- Build the bowls starting with the noodles, then the lettuce and cucumbers. Top with the steak, then the salsa, adding extra spoonfuls of the juice from the salsa.
Recipe Sponsored by the National Pork Board
This time of year turning on the oven is the last thing I want to do when it is time to make dinner. I love finding meals that I can put together easily without heating up the house. My go-to is firing up the grill, tossing on some meats, and serving it in a salad situation. That’s why I was happy to celebrate No Oven Summer with the National Pork Board!
More often than not, the meat on my grill is pork. Every cut of pork can taste great on the grill! Whether you are cooking it all the way or just finishing it, adding that little bit of char can really complete a meal.
Today’s “salad situation” is a noodle bowl inspired by Vietnamese flavors. Rice noodles are a great no-cook option because you can just soak them in warm water until tender and the only real cooking can be on the grill.
As the noodles soak, make the simple pork marinade. All that is in here is fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar.
I used pork shoulder steaks for this dish because they have lots of great fat to char up on the grill and cook pretty quickly. They also have a nice chew that adds the perfect texture to the dish. You only want this to marinate for a couple hours max, or the lime juice will start to change the texture of the pork.
For the topping I was inspired by nuoc cham, a Vietnamese dipping sauce that at its most basic is fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar. I combined this with a fresh watermelon salsa that had some jalapenos, mint, garlic, and shallots, and it ended up being an incredibly refreshing topping for the bowls that balanced sweet, savory, spicy, and sour.
I like to cube the watermelon perfectly but some might call this obsessive.
The sugar in the marinade and marbled fat on the pork helps it char really nicely on the grill. Cook it on high heat for about 3-5 minutes per side, flipping often to get an even cook and char on the pork. Again because of the fat content, this cut of pork is forgiving and will still be juicy if you overcook it a little.
Slice it thin and reserve any juices that accumulate.
After I drained the noodles, I tossed them with just a touch of sesame oil, fish sauce, and lime juice, and when the pork had rested I also stirred in the pork juices. Build the bowls starting with the noodles, then some lettuce and cucumber.
Top with plenty of pork, and then the watermelon salsa with a few extra spoonfuls of the salsa liquid.
This bowl is incredible and refreshing and just what you want to eat on a warm night in August! The sweet and savory marinade makes the pork super cravable – you can’t wait to go back in for the next bite!
Pork and fruit is a classic combo, but using watermelon puts a new spin on things. As you eat it feels familiar and new at the same time!