Sweet and smoky pork, spicy jalapenos, tangy pickled vegetables, and soft baguette bread, this campfire grilled Bánh Mì takes camping sandwiches to a new level.
Lunch ideas for car camping can be tricky. Regular cold cut sandwiches can be pretty boring, but cooking a full meal seems like way too much work. It would be nice if it could be a blend of both: partially prepared ahead but then assembled on-site.
Well, this grilled Bánh Mì Sandwich might just be the answer to all of your problems! (or at least what’s for lunch).
Ingredients for grilled Bánh Mì sandwiches
Bread: The bread should give structure to the sandwich without being overly crusty. A soft baguette from the grocery store, Cubano, torta or even kaiser rolls are all viable options.
Mayonaise: Slathered on both sides, mayonnaise gives the sandwich element of moisture.
Fresh Chiles: Bánh mì sandwiches need a spicy yet fresh-tasting kick. Thinly sliced jalapeno or Fresno chiles are perfect.
Cucumber: Contrasting against the heat of the chiles, cucumber offers a much needed cooling sensation as well as a refreshingly crisp texture.
Cilantro: This aromatic herb is one of the cornerstones of southeast Asian cooking.
Seasoning Sauces: Soy sauce, fish sauce, and honey are what make up the marinade for the pork loin. These ingredients create a trifecta of flavors ranging from umami to funky to sweet.
Pickled Vegetables: The sweet, tangy acidity of the pickled carrots and daikon adds a dynamic layer to the sandwich.
Pork: The protein is a central character in a bánh mì, but it should not overwhelm the sandwich. You’re not making pastrami on rye. A bánh mì is a more refined, ensemble sandwich. Look for a 1:1 ratio of protein to other stuff in your sandwich.
Grill or fire pit: If you’re camping at an established campground with a fire pit and grill grate, you’ll be all set. However, if you’re camping somewhere with no grill (check ahead!), you’ll want to bring your own. We like this portable propane grill, or if you want to cook over coals, consider the BioLite FirePit or a foldable grill.
Instant-read thermometer: Grilling is an imperfect science, but you can take some of the guesswork out of the question of “Is it done?” by checking your meat with an instant-read thermometer.
Grill gloves: These heat resistant gloves make working around a campfire or backyard grill so much easier. Pick up a pair of these and never get burned again.
How to make a campfire Bánh Mì sandwich
While this sandwich uses a bunch of different ingredients (which is why it’s so delicious!), thankfully a lot of it can be prepared ahead of time at home.
The marinade for the pork loin can be prepared at home, so it has adequate time to soak up all the flavor. The pickled vegetables can (and should) be prepared at home, because the longer they sit in the jar, the better they taste.
When you’re ready to pack up, stick the marinating pork and the jar of pickled vegetables into your camp cooler and you’re all set.
Learn everything you need to know about how to pack a cooler!
With those steps taken care of at home, making this sandwich at lunchtime becomes a much easier process. Fire up the grill or campfire, and start grilling the pork. Once the meat is cooked, remove, and start toasting your bread. From there all you need to do is assemble.
We start by taking the grilled bread and spreading mayonnaise on both sides. We place thinly sliced cucumbers and pork loin on one side and pickled vegetables and chiles on the other. Top with some fresh cilantro and you’re done. Perfection.
Soft baguette bread, smoky and sweet pork, spicy jalapenos, and tangy pickled vegetables, this campfire Bánh Mì takes camping sandwiches to a new level. Pick up your car camping lunch game and give this recipe a try!
Grilled Bánh Mì with Quick Pickled Vegetables
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ lb pork loin
- 4 sandwich rolls
- 1-2 jalapeno or Fresno chiles
- 1 cucumber
- Fresh cilantro
- Quick pickled vegetables, recipe follows
Quick Pickled Vegetables
- 1 large carrot
- ½ daikon radish, (about ¼ lb)
- ¼ cup water
- ⅓ cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- At home, marinate the pork and make the quick-pickled vegetables.
- To make the pork marinade: Combine the honey, soy sauce, fish sauce, ground ginger, and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Place the pork loin into a ziplock bag and pour the sauce into the bag. Marinade at least an hour, or pack in your cooler until ready to cook.
- To make the pickled vegetables: Julienne the carrot and daikon radish and place in a mason jar or tupperware. In a small bowl, whisk the water, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt together. Pour over the vegetables and seal the jar. Let sit for at least an hour, or store in the fridge or your cooler for up to a few days.
- At camp, prepare your fire. You’re looking for medium heat. Remove the pork from the marinade and place on the grill. Grill 5 minutes on one side, then flip and grill 3 minutes more, or until the internal temperature registers at 145 F. Remove from the grill, cover, and let rest for 3 minutes.
- In the meantime, grill the sandwich rolls, if desired. Thinly slice the cucumber and chiles. After the pork rests, cut into thin slices.
- To assemble the sandwiches, spread mayo on both sides of the sandwich rolls. Divide the pork between the sandwiches, and top with cucumber, fresh cilantro, sliced jalapenos, and pickled vegetables.