These Banh Mi Pork Tacos are perfect for grilling season and can be made in under 30 minutes! Tender grilled pork is topped with quick-pickled vegetables, hot chili mayo, jalapenos and cilantro. It’s your favorite sandwich, in taco form!
When I first moved to Portland a few years ago, I was on the quest to find the best Banh Mi sandwich in the city. I followed my way through Yelp sampling the baguettes filled with tender marinated meat and pickled vegetables… And then, right afterwards, The Portland Mercury came out with an entire article on the subject – “Battle of the Banh Mi” and they nailed it – Ranking the Banh Mi sandwiches across the city first by the standard varieties, and then by the more gourmet versions, like those swapping in smoked duck or other house-made charcuterie.
For me, it all comes down to the crunch of the pickled veggies, the quality of the meat and the flavor of the creamy, spicy mayo sauce.
I’ve been making a version of Banh Mi at home for a while now, but I often have difficulty finding the perfect bread for the sandwiches – It’s got to be fresh baked, and just the right size for a sandwich that’s not too big, but more like a mini-baguette. So, when spotting some leftover tortillas in the fridge, I came up with the idea to try making Banh Mi Pork Tacos instead of the traditional Banh Mi sandwich. These are perfect for summer grilling! They are ready in 30 minutes or less!
Although Banh Mi sandwiches can also be made with chicken or beef, my go to meat is pork – I just love the flavor. For these Banh Mi Pork Tacos, I’m grilling up a pork loin filet.
By cutting the filet in half lengthwise, and then crosswise into 1/8 inch thick slices, it’s the perfect size for stuffing those taco shells, plus it cooks up super fast. Just 3-4 minutes on each side gives that perfect sear while maintaining the juiciness of the meat.
The pickled veggies consist of carrot and daikon radish – I like a ratio of 1-1 on my veggies, so I look for a large carrot and a daikon radish that’s about the same size. I used a julienne peeler to get nice thin strips and then let them pickle away in a brining mixture of rice wine vinegar, salt and sugar. Let the veggies sit for at least 20-minutes, but you can even make them a few days ahead of time, they’ll take on more flavor the longer they sit.
The hot chili mayo takes just three simple ingredients – Mayo, sriracha and green onions. You can make your mayo up to a few days ahead too – Perfect for if you’re having a summer get together – Almost all of your work can be done ahead of time.
To top these Banh Mi Pork Tacos off, I’m adding the traditional accompaniments of sliced jalapenos and cilantro for a bit of heat, crunch and fresh flavor. If you’re having guests over, serving these toppings on the side is a great option, as everyone can customize their tacos to their own liking.
Are you a Banh Mi fan? What do you think on this taco twist on the traditional Vietnamese sandwich?
Banh Mi Pork Tacos
Banh Mi Pork Tacos are perfect for grilling season and can be made in under 30 minutes! Tender grilled pork is topped with quick-pickled vegetables, hot chili mayo, jalapenos and cilantro. It’s your favorite sandwich, in taco form!
For the pickled carrots and daikon:
- 1 large carrot peeled and julienned
- 1 daikon radish about the size of the carrot, peeled and julienned
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 3 tsp sugar
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- ½ cup water
Hot Chili Mayo:
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 green onions finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 1 Smithfield Slow Smoked Mesquite Flavor Fresh Pork Loin Filet about 1 1/2 lb., cut in half lengthwise, then sliced crosswise 1/8 inch thick
- 1 package soft corn or flour tortillas
- 1 English cucumber thinly sliced
- 2 jalapeño peppers thinly sliced
- 1 bunch cilantro chopped
- Preheat your grill to medium-high direct heat.
- Make the pickled vegetables: Put the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt into a canning jar or container with a lid and shake until the sugar is dissolved. Add the daikon and carrot matchsticks. Make sure all the vegetables are covered. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, and up to two weeks.
- In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, green onions and sriracha. Set aside.
- Place pork on grid over medium-hot coals. Grill, uncovered, 3-4 minutes per side or until pork is no longer pink in center.
- To assemble tacos: Warm corn tortillas on the grill. (Alternatively, wrap them in tin foil and heat them in them in a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes) Spread about 1 teaspoon of the hot chili mayo on each warm tortilla and top with grilled pork. Add the pickled vegetables and chopped cucumbers and jalapeños. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Top with additional hot chili mayo, if desired.
Wine Pairings for Banh Mi Pork Tacos:
- These smoky, spicy, grilled pork tacos are well paired with a dry Rosé, Riesling, Viognier or Sauvignon Blanc.