oh just one more bite of the bo ssäm

by foodhoe on December 30, 2010

I can’t believe I’ve lived this long without ever making the bo ssäm recipe from David Chang’s celebrated Momofuku cookbook… bo ssäm where have you been all my life?!  In case you aren’t familiar with this Korean extravagance, it is a meaty pork shoulder that has been slow roasted in a dutch oven until tender and has a caramelized brown sugar and salt crust.  It is served wrapped up in a fresh lettuce leaf with spicy condiments, fragrant sauces along with bites of deliciously sticky short grain rice.

Since I live on the west coast, making this at home is much easier than hopping a plane to NYC  and getting reservations at the momofuku ssäm bar (hello, it even has its own freaking faq with over thirty questions on the website). This my friends, is a completely do-able feast.  The only caveat is that you need a korean market where you can pickup a few necessary condiments, and a good chunk of time…  you know, like 6 hours to tend to a pork shoulder slow cooking in a dutch oven…  Mr. K. found an alternate Korean market since our neighborhood store has recently closed, where he procured kochujang (chili paste) and ssäm jiang (seasoned bean paste) and picked up some fresh handmade kimchi at the urging of the store owner (who spoke very little english).  And I’m glad he listened, because that kimchi kicks ass and is much better than the commercially made stuff.

It’s amazingly simple.  Marinate the pork shoulder overnight in a dry rub mixture of salt and sugar, then roast it (covered in a dutch oven) for 6 hours, basting every once in awhile.  At the end, you coat it with a mixture of brown sugar and salt, raise the oven temperature up high and finish it uncovered so it will caramelize…  The slow cooked pork just falls apart and has the most gorgeously crispy edges.  It’s a real stunner and I posted the recipe here.

The condiments are simple but heady and intoxicating when mixed together.  The Ginger Scallion sauce is like liquid gold and goes on noodles or roasted meats, adding extreme glamor to anything it comes in contact with… including people!  It has very few ingredients but when combined, they create harmony and oneness in the universe.

The Ssäm sauce is a luscious mixture of fermented bean and chili paste, which gets a rich sheen from grapeseed oil and a pungent electric kick from sherry vinegar

Ahhh, there’s nothing quite like eating that delectable pork rolled in a lettuce leaf and licking the savory dribbles from your fingers… in fact, it’s downright obscene.  And let me warn you that you will find yourself eating more pork than you thought possible because you just can’t stop.  Your mind and stomach might think it’s time to stop, but your tastebuds won’t let you…  Seriously!

The only thing missing were raw oysters, which would have required additional travel and didn’t fit into the plan.  I think the addition of raw oysters would just about do me in… that will just have to wait for the next time…  Enjoy this, I know you will.  Happy New Years too!

*~*~*~update*~*~* I finally did make it out to Tomales Bay with a bo ssam, read about that feast here.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa December 30, 2010 at 7:42 pm

That looks so scrummy and flavorful! a gorgeous cpmbo.

Happy New Year!




mark December 30, 2010 at 8:53 pm

that pork shoulder shot is pure food porn.


Gastronomer December 30, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Damn, girl! This looks phenomenally tasty and best of all, totally doable! Thank you for sharing one final feast with us. Happy New Year to you and Mr. K. May 2011 be filled with even more deliciousness.


Livin Local December 31, 2010 at 10:56 am

Oooo, what a perfect plan for a rainy weekend. This looks simply divine!


Janus December 31, 2010 at 11:29 am

Could you make this in a slow cooker?


sherry January 1, 2011 at 11:08 am

Absolutely mouth-watering photos! A perfect balance of flavors wrapped in a cool, crisp lettuce leaf. Happy New Year!


grace January 2, 2011 at 1:04 am

EXCELLENT choices for the first and last images. my stars above, that’s some good-looking food.


Single Guy Ben January 3, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Oh wow, that does look lovely. I love slow cooked pork (that’s how I make kalua pig) but have never cooked it for six hours! That’s a commitment (or a rainy day)!


hungry dog January 4, 2011 at 7:54 pm

I’m in love. I MUST make this!! Happy new year, foodhoe!


Taste Tests January 4, 2011 at 10:45 pm

I’m drooling now. My bf loves Momofuku – maybe I should check out that cookbook!


foodhoe January 5, 2011 at 12:28 pm

thanks rosa
mark, I couldn’t agree more!
gastronomer, many happy returns to you too
livin local, yes I’m just waiting for another good rain
janus, I imagine so, but don’t know for sure… but I know people who make brisket in the slow cooker, which is just about the same thing!
sherry, HNY to you too
grace, why thanks
single guy, I know, can you believe another cooking post in one month!
hungry dog, me too… mr. K too… HNY
taste tests, you should, it’s an awesome cookbook


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