You can find fish sauce and lemongrass at most Asian markets. Use only the firm, tender, yellowish-green core of the lemongrass stalk; discard the rest (or use it to flavor stock).
|5||tablespoons fish sauce|
|1||stalk lemongrass, finely chopped|
|1||clove garlic, chopped|
|1||shallot, finely chopped|
|1||Thai green chili or other small green chili, stemmed and finely chopped|
|¼||teaspoon black pepper|
|3||bone-in center-cut pork loin chops (each about 12 ounces and 1 inch thick)|
1. In a bowl, combine the sugar, fish sauce, lemongrass, garlic, shallot, chili, and black pepper. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. Arrange the pork chops in a rimmed dish in a single layer. Pour the marinade over, cover with plastic wrap, and let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour. (The pork can also be refrigerated overnight. Bring meat to room temperature before grilling).
2. Light a charcoal grill. Create a hot zone by putting two-thirds of the coals on one-half of the grill; spread remaining coals on the opposite side of the grill to create a cooler zone. On a gas grill, make hot and cool areas.
3. Remove the pork chops from the marinade, discard the marinade, and set chops on the hottest part of the grill. Cook for 1 minute, then turn, and cook 1 minute more. Move chops to the cooler side of the grill and cook, turning once, for about 10 minutes total or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chop registers 140 degrees. If necessary on the charcoal grill, rake over coals from the hotter side to maintain an even temperature.
4. Transfer the chops to a platter and set aside for 10 minutes. Cut the meat from the bone and slice the meat across the grain on the diagonal. Serve meat with the bones. Adapted from “Vietnamese Home Cooking”