Barbecue Pork Banh Mi Recipe

Jul 10, 2020 | meat, Recipes

Barbecue Pork Banh Mi. Right now, you may be thinking, “Mmm, that sounds good! But Ben, what is a “banh mi”?” That is a great question. What if I told you that a Banh Mi was the most delicious sandwich in the whole wide world? What if I told you that every bite of a Banh Mi is like a tickle on the tongue for a thousand little angel wings? More than that, what if I told you that a Banh Mi was a Vietnamese Sandwich made from the remnants of French colonization using local ingredients? Well, that’s what it is, and it is, in my humblest of opinions, one of the world’s best combinations of two cultures.

Today I am going to show you how to make my version of this sandwich that isn’t strictly classical but is damn delicious none the less. We are going to look at a recipe for barbecue pork tenderloin along with our trusty stand by, sriracha mayo, and quick homemade pickles. Let’s get to it.

The Barbecue Sauce

This sauce is not anywhere near close to authentic Vietnamese, or authentic anything for that matter. But, it is really tasty and worked perfectly on the pork tenderloin. It is a combination of classic barbecue sauce ingredients like ketchup, vinegar, and molasses, but with the addition of elements from South East Asia like fish sauce, Sambal, soy sauce, and Chinese 5 Spice. See the full recipe below.

Barbecue Sauce For Pork Tenderloin

This Barbecue sauce is pack with flavour from ingredients from South East Asia. It is the perfect sauce to marinade your pork tenderloin for your Banh Mi.
Total Time: 6 minutes
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: Banh Mi, Barbecue Pork, Barbecue Sauce, BBQ pork, Chinese BBQ Pork
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Chef Ben Kelly


  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Molasses
  • 1 tbsp sambal
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3-4 drops fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar


  • Measure all of the ingredients into a medium-sized mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Pour half the sauce over two pork tenderloins and leave to marinate for two hours.
  • Reserve the remaining sauce for basting the pork as it cooks.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Cleaning and Marinating The Pork

When using pork tenderloin, it is always best to take a minute or two to remove the long strip of silverskin that runs about 2/3 of the length of the tenderloin. You can see this silverskin very clearly on the second pork tenderloin in the first picture below. Use a small sharp knife to make an incision directly under the silver skin as close to the surface of the pork as possible. With the blade of your knife tilted slightly upwards, run your knife the length of the silver skin until it breaks free. Go back and clean up any other bits you see. Removing the silverskin from the tenderloin may seem like a waste, but it isn’t going to breakdown during cooking, which will give the pork a chewy texture. A chewy texture is the last thing anyone wants from something with the word “tender” right in its name.

Once the tenderloin is clean, go back over it with your knife and make a few shallow crisscross slashes on the top and bottom. This pattern will help the barbecue sauce more deeply penetrate the meat during the marination and will help the tenderloin to cook more evenly. Put the pork in a ziplock bag and pour half of the barbecue sauce over it. Seal it, and put it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Cooking the pork

Preheat your grill, then cook the pork over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes or until a thermometer takes an internal temperature reading of 160°f. Brush the pork with the remaining barbecue sauce as it is cooking.

A Banh Mi is typically a cold sandwich, so I put one of my pork tenerdloins in the fridge for the night to have in a Banh Mi the next day. The other pork tenderloin became dinner with some grilled vegetables.

Pickled Vegetables and Sriracha Mayo

Sriracha Mayo

For this Banh Mi, I recommend making a batch of Sriracha mayo. It’s my condiment of choice, and it is easy to make. I’ve made this a few times on the blog now, so rather than showing how to make it again, I’m going to share a link to my Ginger Beef Lettuce Rolls – 30 Minutes or Less Post which has the Sriracha Mayo Recipe.

Quick Pickles

Pickled vegetables are a common ingredient on a traditional Banh Mi. The acidity and the crunch from the pickles is one of the things that makes this sandwich truly special. The pickles can be made in only a few minutes and will last in your fridge for a few weeks. A lot of people that I’ve shared this recipe with in the past have told me that they always have a batch of these quick pickles in their fridge becasue they love them so much. Maybe you’ll love them that much too.

Typically, on a Banh Mi, the pickles are made of carrot and daikon radish. I didn’t have any daikon, so opted for something a little different. The vegetables I used to make these pickles are carrot, red onion, jalapeno, and cucumber, but you can use any vegetables you’d like. See the full recipe below.

Quick Pickles

This is a quick pickle recipe that can be made in just a few minutes. These pickles are fantastic on a Banh Mi sandwich, or just as a snack.
Total Time: 15 minutes
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Canadian, Thailand
Keyword: Pickled Vegetables, Pickles, Quick Pickles
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Chef Ben Kelly


  • 1/4 cup Rice Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt or 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1-2 tsp Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Julienned Carrot
  • 1/4 cup Sliced Red Onion
  • 1/4 cup Sliced Cucumber
  • 1/4 cup Sliced Jalapeno


  • Combine the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a medium pot and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add the vegetables into the brine, boil for one minute, then remove the pot from the heat, put a lid on it, and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Enjoy the pickles as they are or put them in a container with a tight-fitting lid and cool them overnight before enjoying.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

The Bread

The traditional bread for a Banh Mi sandwich is a Vietnamese version of a French Baguette. If you live in Canada, Superstore, or Loblaws sells small baguettes (Demi Baguettes) that are perfect for this. However, you have been following this blog for any amount of time (I hope you have been) you know that I can’t eat gluten at all. So, I had to go for a gluten-free alternative to the classic baguette. I used Udi’s gluten-free baguettes. I’m going to be completely honest here, Udi’s baguettes are good for what they are, but I think they are meant more like a dinner bread, something you dip in a sauce with your meal, rather than a sandwich bread. The crust is too crunchy and crumbly, and the baguette itself is just too big. It really took away from the sandwich. Having said that, it was better than nothing. In the future, I will probably use a gluten-free hotdog bun or something like that.

Putting The Banh Mi Together

Putting the Banh Mi together once all the components are ready is pretty straight forward. Slice the pork nice and thin, cut up some fresh cucumbers and put it all together.


If you are thinking that this sandwich seems a bit out of your comfort zone, good! Try it anyway! What I always say is that trying new things, as scary as they may seem, is the quickest (and only) way to find new things that you love. Life is short. Don’t deny yourself the oportunity to enjoy something that I honestly think will knock your socks off.

Thanks for reading, share this post, and rememeber to subscribe to the blog to get Chef’s Notes in your inbox.

As I said in the intro, this Banh Mi isn’t strictly classical. However, if you would like to learn more about what a traditional Banh Mi is, along with its history, you can check out this article from Saveur Magazine.


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