Cambodian Pork Chops

These Cambodian pork chops are coated in an aromatic peppercorn and lemongrass rub and then grilled to tender perfection. Sorta like street food that you can make at home.

Two bone-in grilled Cambodian pork chops on a plate.

These grilled Cambodian pork chops are inspired by street fare—you know, the kind that comes straight off the charcoal and is delivered to you in a Styrofoam container with white rice and pickled daikon and carrot. We’ll hold the Styrofoam, thank you, but keep everything else about these insanely aromatic, mildly mouth-tingling chops.–Renee Schettler

Cambodian Pork Chops

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 20 M
  • 3 H, 10 M
  • Serves 2
5/5 - 1 reviews
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  • For serving:


In a dry, small skillet over low heat, toast the peppercorns and star anise until slightly darkened and aromatic, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Using the back of a large knife, a rolling pin, or a pestle, crush the stalks of lemongrass. Thinly slice or mince the tender white parts of the bruised lemongrass.

Tester tip: Toss the rest of the lemongrass in the compost or freeze it and use it to stuff the cavity of a chicken before roasting.

In a mortar and pestle, crush together the peppercorns, star anise, garlic, and lemongrass to form a sorta pulverized mess. Add the oil and salt and mix everything together thoroughly.

Tester tip: If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can use a spice grinder or a rolling pin to crush the spices. Mince the lemongrass and garlic with a knife. Then mix it all together with the oil and salt to create a paste.

Massage all of the pepper marinade into the pork chops. Cover and refrigerate the pork chops to marinate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

Remove the pork chops from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you intend to cook them.

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (400 to 450°F [204 to 232°C]).

Drizzle a little oil over each of the pork chops. Place them on the grill and cook, without turning, for 4 to 5 minutes.

Tester tip: These pork chops can also be cooked in a grill pan over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Flip the pork chops and cook on the other side until the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C), 3 to 4 minutes more.

Tester tip: If you’re using a probe thermometer to take the temperature of a relatively skinny cut of meat, such as a pork chop or chicken cutlet, hold the probe parallel to the ground and insert it sideways into the center of the chop or cutlet for the most accurate reading.

Remove the pork chops from the grill and let them rest for at least 5 minutes.

Serve the pork chops with rice, toasted peanuts, and assorted pickles. Pour the resting juices over the pork chops just prior to serving.

Print RecipeBuy the Sweet, Savory, Spicy cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

I don’t have enough superlatives to describe these beauties. Fragrant, succulent, easy to prepare, and pleasing to the palate of both pork lover and agnostic alike. I will definitely add these to my rotation.

Pork chops can be the death of many a dinner if they become dry and sawdust-like during cooking. These chops were juicy and flavorful. The peppercorns added a stealthy whammy of hot and the lemongrass balanced the flavor. My inner recipe wonk couldn’t find anything that needs to be changed with this recipe.

Simple enough for a weeknight supper and sassy enough for a summer dinner party, these chops will charm even the most reluctant pork lover. My husband is a pork chop lover and he really loved these. This recipes erased many of my bad chop nightmares from childhood.

I used boneless chops as it was all I had on hand. They weren’t rib chops, but they worked well with the recipe. I think you could use either bone in or a boneless one. I used Red Boat Vietnamese peppercorns. I usually slice and freeze lemongrass. I used 1 tablespoon of frozen lemon grass slices. Based on some quick research, this is about 2 stalks.

I marinated the pork for about 5 hours. My pit master adjusted the cook time to account for the boneless chop. He cooked them for 4 minutes on the first side and 2 on the second. The internal temperature of the chops when flipped registered between 135 and 140°F on the Thermapen.

I served the chops with steamed rice, Japanese cucumber salad, and the mushroom packets from a prior round of testing. The flavors were really well balanced.

These chops are a revelation. They are absolutely delicious.

I actually made 5 bone-in pork chops with this recipe, and I don’t feel the seasoning was scant at all. For the spice rub, I ground the toasted peppercorns and anise in my spice grinder and then added the pulverized garlic and lemongrass in, making a paste. The pork chops marinated for 2 hours.

The only change I’ll make when I grill them next time (and I will be making them again!) is to slice up boneless chops and thread them onto skewers in bite-size pieces. For some reason, the bone-in chops just didn’t seem to mesh with the idea of “street food,” maybe because my family is weird and used a fork and knife for such things. I, on the other hand, just grabbed the chop with my hands. Either way, it will be fantastic. I served the finished pork chops with spiced carrots and rice noodles and it was, to quote my kid, a “party in your mouth.”


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