Last Updated on February 2, 2024 by Carne Diem
Origin: Asian, Vietnamese
Method: Grill or Oven, StovetopJump to Recipe
This Vietnamese banh mi sandwich recipe makes one of the most iconic and best sandwiches in the world. These Vietnamese sandwiches consisting of creamy liver pate and pickled vegetables, spicy mayo and smoke roasted pork, in between a crusty baguette, are the perfect sandwich. This banh mi recipe is a fun and delicious twist on the classic version of the spicy sandwich.
Created in Saigon in the 1950's, the Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich has become one of Vietnam's most iconic dishes. Heavily influenced by the country's earlier French colonization, this awesome sandwich leans heavily on both Vietnamese and French influences. This classic Vietnamese sandwich is taken to the next level with smoked then grilled pork, served on a fresh baguette with quick pickled veggies, sriracha mayo, Fresno peppers, and truffle chicken and pork mousse.
Making the Grilled Pork Banh Mi
What kind of pork is best for Banh Mi Sandwiches?
We have had success using both pork loin and pork tenderloin in this Grilled Pork Banh Mi. We like using a smoked roast cut first to add more of a smoky element to the Banh Mi sandwich. The pork roast is then sliced thin and finished on the grill. For a quicker, less smoky version, you can also use thin sliced, boneless pork chops and skip the slow smoking step.
Banh Mi Pork Marinade
To make the marinade for bánh mì you will need ¼ cup diced shallots, ¼ cup fish sauce, ¼ cup turbinado sugar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon minced ginger, 2 green onions sliced, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly to combine. Place the pork loin or tenderloin in a 1-gallon bag along with about half of the marinade. Seal and marinate in the refrigerator overnight. Reserve the other half of the marinade for basting the pork.
Making Quick Pickled Veggies for a Banh Mi Sandwich
To make the pickled vegetables, first combine the vinegar, salt and sugar in a non-reactive bowl. We typically use pickled carrots and radishes in the bánh mì recipe.
Slice your carrots and radishes. You can do either thin sliced or matchsticks here. We prefer matchsticks but do your preference.
Add the sliced fresh vegetables to the vinegar mixture, cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. Be sure to cover the bowl with some plastic wrap so your refrigerator does not end up smelling like vinegar. Typically, we use apple cider vinegar for the pickled crunchy vegetables, but you can substitute equal portions of white vinegar or rice vinegar.
Cooking the Pork for a Banh Mi Sandwich on a BBQ Grill
Now it is time to grill your pork for your Banh Mi Sandwich. To cook the pork, heat your grill to medium heat, about 350 degrees. Cook your pork loin or tenderloin until it reaches an internal temperature of about 130 degrees. Keep in mind that if you are using a tenderloin, it will cook a lot faster than a pork loin. On average this will take about an hour for a pork tenderloin and can take over 2 hours for a pork loin but there can be a lot of variation so please monitor your cook with a temperature probe.
This can be done over direct or indirect heat. If cooking direct you will get more of a browned outside and it will cook faster than using indirect heat. We find the pork to be more visually appealing cooked over direct heat, but it does run a higher risk of drying out, especially if you are not monitoring with a temp probe.
Have extra pork loin or pork tenderloin? Check out this basic recipe for Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin.
Remove the pork loin from the smoker and slice into ¼ inch thick slices (the pork may still be uncooked in the middle). Place the slices on the grill and baste with the reserved marinade.
Cook the sliced smoked pork for about 1 minute, then flip, baste, and cook for an addition minute. This step can also be done in a cast iron pan if you are making the recipe in an oven/stovetop. If you are using the same grill set at 350 degrees, you may need to cook an additional couple minutes to reach the safe temp of pork of 145 degrees, but don't overcook it.
Construct Your Grilled Pork Loin Banh Mi
Now it is time to finish off your Grilled Pork Banh Mi Sandwich.
What is the best bread for Banh mi sandwiches?
We feel the best banh mi sandwiches are made with French or crusty Vietnamese baguettes. For those that prefer softer bread, you can substitute a soft baguette, Italian bread, or even bolillo rolls.
Cut your French-style baguette into sandwich sized portions and slice in half. Be sure to use fresh bread and finding a great local bakery that makes fresh baguettes is the way to make the best banh mi.
Fresno peppers really help add some "pop" to the sandwich and add some great color, but if you can't find them you can use jalapenos or other sliced fresh chiles. Instead of traditional liver pate, we used a truffle chicken and pork mousse that we found at Whole Foods, but a traditional pate works well too. Don't be scared off by this traditional Banh Mi ingredient, it is really one of the things that makes this sandwich so great.
On the bottom of the sliced French baguette slather some of the pork liver pate or mousse. Top with the grilled pork, red lettuce, cucumber slices, Fresno or jalapeno pepper slices, and homemade pickled carrots and radishes.
Spread the sriracha mayo on the top half of the crusty baguettes and top with some fresh cilantro leaves.
In the mood for more great pork sandwiches? Then be sure to check out our recipes for a great Grilled Cubano and our recipe for our Caribbean Roast Pork Sandwich inspired by the famous sandwich at Paseo in Seattle. For some of our other favorite sandwiches, give some of these great sandwich recipes a try:
- Baltimore Pit Beef : Maryland Style Roast Beef Sandwich
- Tempura Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
- Dutch Oven Crumbly Burger: Maid Rite Style Loose Meat Sandwich
- Pizza Oven Meatball Grinders
- Uruguay’s Chivito: The Ultimate Steak Sandwich
- Grilled Picanha Sandwich
Now it is as easy as putting the top of the sandwich to the bottom of the sandwich. Dig in to the best pork banh mi sandwiches ever.
Frequently Asked Questions
In Vietnamese, "banh mi" literally translates to "bread" or "wheat cake."
The sandwiches originated in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) during the French colonial period and is a fusion of French and Vietnamese flavors.
The pork loin should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
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Vietnamese Grilled Pork Loin Banh Mi Sandwich
- Grill or Smoker
- 1.5-2 Pound Pork Loin
- 1 Baguette
- 1 Fresno or Jalapeno Pepper sliced
- Chicken and Pork Mousse or Pate
- 1 Cucumber sliced
- Red Leaf Lettuce
- Sriracha Mayo optional
- 2 Tablespoons Cooking Oil
- ¼ Cup Diced Shallots
- ¼ Cup Fish Sauce
- ¼ Cup Turbinado Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon Ginger minced
- 2 Green Onions Sliced
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
- ¼ Cup Water
- ½ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 2 teaspoon Salt
- 2 Carrots peeled and cut into matchsticks or coins
- 3 Radishes cut into matchsticks or coins
- Combine and mix all marinade ingredients. In a bag or bowl, place the pork along with half of the marinade. Reserve the rest of the marinade for basting. Place the pork in the refrigerator overnight.
Pickle the Veggies
- In a non-reactive bowl, mix the pickling ingredients. Add the carrots and radishes. Allow to pickle at least 4 hours or overnight.
Cooking the pork
- Heat your grill to medium heat, about 350 degrees. Cook your pork loin or tenderloin until it reaches an internal temperature of 130 degrees. Keep in mind that if you are using a tenderloin it will cook a lot faster than a pork loin.
- Remove the pork loin from the smoker and slice into ¼ inch thick slices (the pork may still be uncooked in the middle). Place the slices on a grill and baste with the reserved marinade. Cook for about 1 minute, then flip, baste, and cook for an addition minute. This step can also be done in a cast iron pan if your are making the recipe in an oven/stovetop.
Assembling the Sandwich
- On the bottom of the sliced baguette slather some of the pate or mousse. Top with the grilled pork, lettuce, cucumber, Fresno or jalapeno pepper slices, and pickled veggies.
- On the top half of the baguette, top with the sriracha mayo and cilantro. Enjoy!