Vietnamese Pork Ribs

These Vietnamese pork ribs have layers of sweet, savory, and spicy thanks to its five spice marinade and a tangy citrus and soy basting sauce that clings to every crevice while the ribs finish on the grill.

A rack of Vietnamese pork ribs on a sheet of parchment on a cutting board with a basting brush and a bowl of lime wedges nearby.

These Vietnamese pork ribs over-deliver on the sweet-savory-spicy promise of their native cuisine. Caramelized brown sugar, pungent fish sauce, and tangy lime create an experience that’s astounding in every way, not to mention sublimely sticky and perfectly charred from the grill. Napkins, please.–Jenny Howard

Vietnamese Pork Ribs

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 25 M
  • 3 H
  • Serves 2 to 4
5/5 - 1 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Sweet, Savory, Spicy cookbook

Want it? Click it.


  • For the marinated pork ribs
  • For the basting sauce


Marinate the ribs

In a very large bowl or roasting pan, whisk together the onions, garlic, five-spice powder, salt, and oil until well combined. Add the pork ribs and turn to thoroughly coat the ribs. Cover with plastic wrap.

Tester tip: You can instead divvy the marinade between 2 large resealable plastic bags, cut each rack of ribs into 2 even slabs, and place a slab in each bag, pressing out the air around the ribs and tightly sealing the bags.

Refrigerate the ribs for 2 to 24 hours.

Make the basting sauce

In a medium bowl, combine the palm or brown sugar with the water and stir to dissolve.

Whisk in the garlic, lemongrass, chili powder (if using), black pepper, lime juice, lime zest, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, fish sauce, and oil.

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

Remove the ribs from the marinade, scraping off any excess, and rub with a small amount of oil on both sides.

Grill the ribs, meaty side down, for 7 minutes. Flip the ribs and continue to grill, basting the meat side with the basting sauce, until the pork’s internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C), 7 to 15 minutes more.

Flip the ribs again and grill for 7 minutes. Use a clean brush to baste the bone side.

Flip the ribs one final time and grill them for 7 minutes. Baste the ribs all over before removing them from the heat. Discard any leftover basting sauce.

Let the ribs rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut the rack into 3- to 4-rib portions and serve.

Print RecipeBuy the Sweet, Savory, Spicy cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This dish is succulent and redolent with spices. My husband loved this recipe. It was easy to prepare and can be marinated up to 48 hours. The blend of spices is well balanced and each ingredient works well together. This would be an easy recipe for a backyard barbecue. You can dress it up or down as needed. The flavor will tempt even the most finicky of eaters. This would be easy for inexperienced and skilled cooks alike.

My husband loves ribs and I love Asian flavors so this seemed like a recipe we could both enjoy. I prepared the marinade and put the pork ribs in it for 6 hours. The last hour I took them out to bring them to room temperature before grilling.

The basting sauce took very little time to put together and the flavors together are delicious. Following the grilling directions exactly, the ribs were done perfectly! A nice chew and very juicy. The caramelization was my favorite part!

I think a time saving tip would be to make the marinade in a food processor instead of grating the onion and garlic. I believe the onion would still tenderize the pork just as much as grating it. In addition, the basting sauce can be made in a measuring cup and hit with an immersion blender before adding the lime zest and lemon grass. The basting sauce has a complex flavor, really tasting the lime juice, garlic, and lemon grass. This would easily be delicious on anything grilled.


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. Victoria Filippi: I would disagree about using the f/p after taking it out and then having to clean it and put it away is not a time saver. I believe I could grate the onions and clean the the grater way before doing the same with f/p. Same goes for i/b,but hey if you like washing appliances more power to yuh. I’m making this tomorrow and I find the 5 spice addition (house made) interesting and different than my other Vietnamese pork rib and chop dishes.

      1. I was skeptical cooking ribs over direct heat as well as the amount of 5 spice in the marinade, but they turned out tender, juicy and the basting sauce was bomb even with the amount of garlic. The flavors are fantastic, we served them with steamed rice and a shaved fennel bok choy salad with a ginger vinaigrette. I’m always on the lookout for Asian rib recipes and this did not disappoint.

        Thank you for this one it`s going in my pork do again file.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Rate this recipe!

Have you tried this recipe? Let us know what you think.

Upload a picture of your dish