Momofuku Bo Ssam

Click here for a PDF of this recipe without photos.

I received the Momofuku cookbook as a Christmas gift and quickly zeroed-in on this recipe.  It includes the words “pig candy,” so it’s pretty much a sure thing.  The list of ingredients (and this is true for most of the recipes in the book) includes several items that my usual grocery store doesn’t carry.  Fortunately there is a large Asian supermarket right across the street from where we live, so finding everything I need is no problem.

The whole idea of this recipe is to make all of the accompaniments and serve them on the side of a huge hunk of sweet, crispy, fatty pork shoulder.  People take a lettuce leaf, add some rice, add some pork, and add one of the sauces.  You’ll be surprised how much pork six adults can consume in this manner.

Adapted from David Chang’s Momofuku

For the Pork

  • 8- to 10- pound bone-in pork butt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup plus 1 Tb kosher salt
  • 7 Tb brown sugar

For the Ssam Sauce

  • 1 Tb ssamjang (or other fermented bean and chile paste)
  • ½ Tb kochujang (or other spicy chile paste)
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil

For the Napa Cabbage Kimchi

  • 1 head napa cabbage
  • 2 Tb kosher salt
  • ½ cup plus 2 Tb sugar
  • 20 garlic cloves, minced
  • 20 slices fresh ginger, minced
  • ½ kochukaru (Korean chile powder)
  • ¼ cup usukuchi (light soy sauce)
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • ½ cup chopped scallions
  • ½ cup julienned carrots

Other accompaniments

  • 2 cups sushi rice
  • 3 or 4 heads of bibb lettuce, leaves separated, rinsed, and dried

Make the Kimchi – at least two days before you plan to serve, cut the cabbage in quarters, then into one-inch pieces.  Toss with the salt and 2Tb of the sugar and place in a large bowl.  Place in refrigerator overnight.  The next day, drain the cabbage.  In another bowl (or wash the same bowl while the cabbage is sitting in a colander), combine remaining sugar, garlic, ginger, chile powder, soy sauce, and fish sauce.  If it’s too thick, thin with a little water.  Add scallions and carrots, stir to combine.  Add cabbage and stir a few times to mix.  Cover and refrigerate.  It will be ready to eat after 24 hours, but will continue to get funkier and therefore better for 1 – 2 weeks.  When you’re ready to serve the bo ssam, take a cup or two of the kimchi and puree it.  Serve the bo ssam with both the pureed kimchi and the non-pureed.

Make the Ssam sauce – Timing isn’t too important here – the sauce will keep in the fridge for a month.  All you need to do is combine the ingredients, stir, cover, and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Make the pork – The day before you want to serve, place the pork in a roasting pan.  Mix the sugar (just the 1 cup of granulated sugar – not the brown sugar) and 1 cup of salt in a bowl.  Rub that mixture into the meat on all sides.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge (minimum 6 hours, overnight is better).  Between 6.5 and 7.5 hours before you’re ready to serve, preheat the oven to 300 and remove the pork from the fridge.  Discard any juices that have accumulated in the roasting pan.  Put the pork in the oven and cook for 6 hours.  At least every hour, use a spoon to baste the pork with the rendered fat in the bottom of the pan.  After 6 hours of cooking, it should be absolutely tender, with pieces easily coming off with a fork.  You can continue immediately to the next step or remove from oven, cover with foil, and rest on the counter for up to an hour.  When everything else you’re serving is ready to go, turn the oven to 500 degrees.  Mix remaining 1Tb salt and the brown sugar and rub all over the pork.  Put in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes.  The sugar should caramelize, forming a sweet crust on the meat.  Serve the meat whole with the accompaniments on the side, allowing people to pull off some meat and wrap it in some lettuce with rice and a sauce as they go.

1 Response to “Momofuku Bo Ssam”

  1. 1 Doug Benge April 25, 2010 at 1:53 PM

    How much for one?

Comments are currently closed.


Join 40 other subscribers

%d bloggers like this: