Vietnamese Braised Pork Shoulder (Thịt Kho)

A classic dish served in all Vietnamese homes! This is rarely served in restaurants but it’s a true delight! My mother never made this recipe in the oven and would often braise the pork on top of the stove and it would come off so tender, it’d melt in my mouth. I’ve tried to replicate her recipe and the meat would come off as a clunker, so this recipe for the oven is a good way to fix that problem!

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 3 pounds pork shoulder
  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable OR canola oil
  • Juice of 2 young fresh coconuts OR 20 ounces canned coconut juice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup Vietnamese fish sauce, preferably Three Crabs brand
  • 2 tablespoons dark muscovado sugar
  • 6 hardboiled eggs, peeled (optional)

Cut the meat into pieces roughly 2 inches wide and 4 inches long.

To cure the meat, place it on a sheet pan and coat both sides with salt and peppercorns. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. About 30 minutes before cooking, remove the meat from the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Brown the meat on all sides and set aside.

In a deep baking pan or braising pot, stir together coconut juice, chicken stock, garlic, fish sauce and sugar. Add the meat. Place a piece of parchment paper directly on top of the meat and braising liquid. Cover pan with a lid or wrap tightly with foil. Place in oven and braise for up to 4 hours, or until the meat is tender. Optional: Add hardboiled eggs to the braise for the last 20 minutes of cooking. At 2 hours, check for doneness; the meat should be very tender. Serve on a bed of leafy greens with braised hardboiled eggs.

NOTE: The recipe can be made using 3 pounds of baby back ribs (though Mangalitsa ribs are very small). Modify as follows: After coating the meat, refrigerate for 3 hours. Upon removing from refrigerator, cut into 2-rib sections. Braise for about 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender.

Courtesy of Eric Banh, reprinted from

*I usually serve this with a nice hot bowl of rice and some pickled vegetables.

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