Jen In The Kitchen: Bo Ssam

Jen In The Kitchen: Bo Ssam

Our dear friends, Erin & Cyril, invited us over for dinner last month and they made one of the most fun and delicious meals I’ve ever had. It’s a Korean dish called Bo Ssam – slow cooked pulled pork lettuce wraps served with yummy accoutrements. This particular version is from David Chang‘s Momofuku Cookbook (and NYC restaurant). It is easy to make and a hit with guests!

I love meals that are simple, but also surprising and fun. For this dish, all you have to do is place a big platter in the middle of the table and let your guests go at it. Who doesn’t like building their own plate the way they like it!

Here is the full recipe.

Make the Pulled Pork

  • 1 whole 8- to 10-pound bone-in Boston pork butt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 7 tablespoons light brown sugar
  1. Put the pork in a roasting pan, ideally one that holds it snugly. Mix together the granulated sugar and 1 cup of the salt in a bowl, then rub the mixture into the meat; discard any excess salt-and-sugar mixture. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and put it into the fridge for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
  2. Heat the oven to 300°F. Remove the pork from the refrigerator and discard any juices that have accumulated. Put the pork in the oven and cook for 6 hours, basting with the rendered fat and pan juices every hour. The pork should be tender and yielding at this point—it should offer almost no resistance to the blade of a knife and you should be able to easily pull meat off the shoulder with a fork. Depending on your schedule, you can serve the pork right away or let it rest and mellow out at room temperature for up to an hour.

 Make the Accompaniments

  1. When ready to serve—sauces are made, oysters are ready to be shucked, lettuce is washed, etc.—turn the oven to 500°F.
  2. Stir together the remaining 1 tablespoon salt and the brown sugar and rub the mixture all over the pork. Put it in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sugar has melted into a crisp, sweet crust.

I’ve made this dish TWICE in the last 30 days (seriously y’all, so good). A few tips and tricks…

  • The Ginger Scallion Sauce is amazing. I couldn’t find the sherry vinegar, so we used Rice Wine Vinegar.
  • You can buy the Ssam Sauce at Whole Foods or Amazon. It is a lot easier than hunting down the ingredients (we did both and can attest that the store bought is delish!).
  • We didn’t serve the oysters or kimchi, and everything was delish!
  • We served it with both bibb lettuce and radicchio lettuce (which has a nice bitter bite). I like to layer the two lettuce leaves and top with rice, pork, the scallion sauce and the Ssam sauce.

Writing this blog post is making my mouth water. I need to make this again soon…

Live Life. Eat Well. 

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