I came across the base for this recipe in Southern Living magazine from (I think) Houston’s Restaurant.
The restaurant used strip steak, and serrano peppers in their version of dipping sauce. I went with pork – country style pork ribs, to be exact – and made another version of Vietnamese Dipping Sauce but it’s all good; I am assured that most Vietnamese families have their own, customized dipping sauce recipe, and for sure, the marinated, grilled, and chunked pork was mighty tasty!
•3 lb country style pork ribs
•1/4 cup fish sauce
•1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
•2 tsp powdered ginger
•3 garlic cloves, minced
•2 tbsp sugar
•2 tbsp honey
•1 tbsp hot chili sesame oil
•1 tsp Tellicherry pepper
•1 onion, sliced
•Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
•Toppings (see below)
Stir together the fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, garlic, sugar, honey, and sesame oil and pour over the ribs in a gallon-sized zipper bag. Add the sliced onion and squish it all together to work the sauce into the meat. Place in a shallow bowl or rimmed plate (in case of leaks) and stash in the fridge for 8 to 24 hours, turning a couple of times.
When ready to grill, remove the ribs and the onion from the marinade (discard the marinade) and allow to come to room temperature while heating your grill of choice. I used my kitchen grill, set on high.
Grill for 20 or 30 minutes, turning several times, until the ribs are cooked through – I also slapped the cover on my grill for part of the time. If you use a charcoal/gas grill, you may want to pre-bake the marinated and drained ribs in a tightly covered pan for 90 minutes at 325º, then grill quickly.
However you get to cooked pork, let the ribs rest for five or ten minutes, then slice the meat into chunks and toss the bones.
Try not to eat all the meat while you are doing this. I found it to be just about irresistible and was popping one pork chunk into my mouth for each one that made it to the board before I caught myself. Yum!
I went with sliced/shredded cabbage, sliced scallions, sliced and quartered English cucumber, red onion slices, and thinly sliced carrot. You could also add cilantro, mint, and jalapeños, if you want a bit of a zip – tho’ I should note that both the Dipping Sauce and the Plum Sauce have bites of their own.
Gather the toppings in bowls around the pork chunks and serve on flour tortillas warmed in the ‘wave for 60 to 90 seconds.
This is one fine taco. I drizzled mine with both the dipping and plum sauces.