Momofuko Bo Ssam

While in Florida for a quick mini vacation, I happened upon this article and the above amazing photo about the Bo Ssam at Momofuko in New York.  I had tried back in November to reserve the infamous Bo Ssam for the family, but unfortunately they were booked solid.   And at $200 a pop I was thrilled to see the recipe!  And what was more fantastic then that, was reading how incredibly easy it is to make.  To be honest, it seemed too good to be true.

I ventured out to Joongboo Market; which is the best Korean market in Chicago to get a few ingredients for the sauces. There was a fermented bean-and-chili paste (ssamjang), chili paste (kochujang), and Kimchi (fermented vegetables..usually cabbage).  Here is a pic of what the two pastes looked helped enormously to have found pictures on the internet beforehand,  since everything is in Korean at the market.

On the way home I was heading to Whole Foods to pick up the pork.  The recipe calls for a bone-in pork butt, which I had never seen before.  I happened to randomly take another street and saw this…

HOME OF THE BEEF!  PLASTIC COWS!!  I felt like I was back in Florida at the local steak house.  So of course I had to venture in and piled high in the case were bone-in pork butts. For a total of $15 I got a 6 pounder and Momofuko’s $200 meal was seeming better and better.   I came home, mixed up 1 cup of Kosher salt with 1 cup of sugar, rubbed it on, and didn’t look at it until the next day.

Now here’s where the recipe was vauge..does one wash the rub off or not?  I did.  Right? Wrong?  Who knows? Anyone out there make this with the rub on it?

Here’s a picture of it going into the oven…

The recipe called for a 8-10 lb pork butt and to cook it for 6 hours.  I cooked mine for 5 hours and it probably could have went for another hour.  One thing I’ve come to realize about roasting pork butts, no matter what the size, it is more like 8 hours in a normal oven.

The end result…worth every long hour waiting for it to cook.  The sides were so easy to make and the pork was out of this world. I was blown away by how easy and painless this A-rated meal was to put together.

The perfect meal for a cold winter day.

Momofuko Bo Ssam

Pork Butt

1 whole bone-in pork butt or picnic ham (8 to 10 pounds)

1 cup white sugar

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt

7 tablespoons brown sugar

Ginger-Scallion Sauce

2½ cups thinly sliced scallions, both green and white parts

½ cup peeled, minced fresh ginger

¼ cup neutral oil (like grapeseed)

1½ teaspoons light soy sauce

1 scant teaspoon sherry vinegar

½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

Ssam Sauce

2 tablespoons fermented bean-and- chili paste (ssamjang, available in many Asian markets, and online)

1 tablespoon chili paste (kochujang, available in many Asian markets, and online)

½ cup sherry vinegar

½ cup neutral oil (like grapeseed)


2 cups plain white rice, cooked

3 heads bibb lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried

1 dozen or more fresh oysters (optional)

Kimchi (available in many Asian markets, and online).

1. Place the pork in a large, shallow bowl. Mix the white sugar and 1 cup of the salt together in another bowl, then rub the mixture all over the meat. Cover it with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

2. When you’re ready to cook, heat oven to 300. Remove pork from refrigerator and discard any juices. Place the pork in a roasting pan and set in the oven and cook for approximately 6 hours, or until it collapses, yielding easily to the tines of a fork. (After the first hour, baste hourly with pan juices.) At this point, you may remove the meat from the oven and allow it to rest for up to an hour.

3. Meanwhile, make the ginger-scallion sauce. In a large bowl, combine the scallions with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and taste, adding salt if needed.

4. Make the ssam sauce. In a medium bowl, combine the chili pastes with the vinegar and oil, and mix well.

5. Prepare rice, wash lettuce and, if using, shuck the oysters. Put kimchi and sauces into serving bowls.

6. When your accompaniments are prepared and you are ready to serve the food, turn oven to 500. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining tablespoon of salt with the brown sugar. Rub this mixture all over the cooked pork. Place in oven for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, or until a dark caramel crust has developed on the meat. Serve hot, with the accompaniments.


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