Thursday, April 16, 2009

I like Pork Butts and I cannot lie

I've been thinking about making Momofuku Chef David Chang's recipe for Bo Ssam (Korean Roasted Pork Butt) for months and finally had the excuse last weekend. Let me preface this by saying that the full spread requires lots of dips and relishes and whatnot, but the Pork Butt is so good on its own that it doesn't need much dressing up. So if you don't have the time or energy to create the entire Korean buffet of accoutrement, don't worry, the Pork is a tender, crispy, savory-sweet meal by itself. The simple roasted butt recipe could be adapted to a barbeque preparation with the addition of a bottled or homemade bbq sauce, or made into tacos (you can also do this with your leftovers if there are any).

The raw bone-in butt (which is actually a cut from the shoulder) with skin is amazingly piggy-like.


Bo Ssam (Pork Butt)
1 (8- to 10-pound) bone-in pork shoulder or pork butt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon coarse salt
7 tablespoons light-brown sugar
12 oysters, shucked, for serving
1 cup Kimchi for serving (I used store-bought)
1 cup Kimchi pureed, for serving (I didn't bother pureeing)
1 cup Ginger-Scallion Sauce for serving
1 cup Ssam Sauce for serving
2 cups steamed short-grain white rice, for serving
3 to 4 heads Bibb lettuce, leaves separated, washed well, and spun dry
Sea salt


Place pork in a large bowl or roasting pan. In a medium bowl, mix together granulated sugar and 1 cup coarse salt. Rub sugar mixture all over pork and cover bowl with plastic wrap; transfer to refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Transfer pork to a large roasting pan, discarding any accumulated juices (or drain accumulated juices from roasting pan that pork is in). Transfer roasting pan to oven and cook, basting every hour with rendered fat in roasting pan, until meat is tender and easily shredded with a fork, about 6 hours.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together remaining tablespoon coarse salt and brown sugar; rub mixture all over pork.

Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. Return pork to oven until sugar has melted into a crisp crust, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot with oysters, kimchis, ginger-scallion sauce, ssam sauce, rice, lettuce, and sea salt.

Ssam Sauce

Note: For convenience, I used Sriracha instead of the two different pastes.

Makes 1 cup

1 tablespoon ssamjang (soybean and chile-pepper paste)

1 1/2 teaspoons kochujang (Korean chile-pepper paste)

1/4 cup sherry-wine vinegar

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Sauce may be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Ginger-Scallion Sauce

Makes about 3 cups.

2 1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions (from 1 to 2 large bunches)

1/2 cup finely minced peeled fresh ginger

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce

3/4 teaspoons sherry-wine vinegar

3/4 teaspoons coarse salt

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl; let stand 15 to 20 minutes before using. Sauce may be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

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