Once we’re all properly vaccinated, the first thing Imma’ do is make a beeline for my fav Vietnamese restaurant, order all the things, and slowly relish mask free dining! Until then, recipes like this fresh and flavorful noodle bowl will have to suffice.
Per usual, I utilized the raw veg I had on hand already, but feel free to mix and match, as cucumber, radish, leafy lettuce, bean sprouts, or raw spinach are all delicious options.
2 bone-in thick cut pork chops
2 cups Nuoc Cham, divided 👉 tap the link for a recipe
2 tbsp 5 spice powder
2 servings rice noodles cooked per package directions and chilled at least 30 minutes
1 cup loosely packed Thai basil, stems removed and rough chopped
1 cup loosely packed mint, stems removed and rough chopped
2 carrots, sliced into coins
4 celery stalks, trimmed and sliced on the bias
1/4 cup toasted peanuts
1/4 cup green scallions, thinly sliced
1 stalk lemongrass
salt and pepper
1 large chunk hickory wood
1/2 bag charcoal
The night before you plan to smoke the pork chops, prepare the marinade. To a large bowl with a lid, add one cup Nuoc Cham, the pork chops, and enough cold water to fully submerge the chops. Cover with the lid and transfer to the fridge to marry overnight.
Before you start the coals, remove the chops from the marinade and discard the marinade. Lightly salt and pepper the chops on all sides then evenly coat in the 5 spice powder. Set aside on a clean surface.
Prepare an offset by adding charcoal to the firebox. Ignite the coals. Allow the charcoal to come up to temp, about 45 minutes until all the coals are white hot.
Once the coals are white hot add the chunk of hickory on top of the coals and close the firebox lid. Slice the lemongrass stalk into several thin pieces. Place the pork chops in the middle of the smoker barrel, arrange the sliced lemongrass on top of the chops, and smoke around 225 degrees for 3 – 4 hours until an internal temperature of at least 155 degrees. Alternatively, smoke the chops for two hours then transfer to a 225 degree oven and finish slow cooking until 155 degrees is reached.
Once 155 degrees is reached, remove the chops from the smoker and rest about 10 minutes. Slice the chops into bite sized pieces. Serve the bones along with the sliced pork or save for stock.
Divide the chilled noodles into serving bowls. Add in the Thai basil, green scallion, mint, and a generous amount of Nuoc Cham. Toss until well combined. Top the noodles with the sliced pork, raw veg, and toasted peanuts. Drizzle additional Nuoc Cham on top, if desired. Serve immediately.