What took us so long? We’d heard about the bo ssam dinners at Momofuku Ssam Bar. We’ve had the Momofuku cookbook for a couple of years now. Sam Sifton wrote about the Bo Ssam dinner in the New York Times in January. And then our friend Tim — whom SCF fans may remember from our Beef Seven Ways dinner at Ma Peche — made the recipe. Finally — finally — we made it ourselves.
Yeah. Why did we wait so long?
Really all you have to do is rub a bunch of salt and sugar all over a pork shoulder and stick it in the oven for six hours. When it comes out, it’s fall-apart-tender with a sweet brown sugar crust.
While that is cooking, you make your sauces.
The Korean Chili:
And you should have bibb lettuce, rice and kimchi on the table.
When your pork is gooey delishy on the inside and crunchy sweet on the outside, you present it to your guests by placing it in the center of the table.
Tell your guests to make lettuce wraps.
Then you commence to eating, drinking, laughing and talking, all the while making cooing, purring noises to express your pleasure with the meal.
If you have leftovers, you can have the same meal the next night and be just as happy.
Or do as Tim did, and make fried rice with your leftovers. Either way, you will be happy.
So please. Don’t wait. Make this. Now.
Momofuku Bo Ssam
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
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions, both green and white parts
1/2 cup peeled, minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup neutral oil (like grapeseed)
1 1/2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1 scant teaspoon sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
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)
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1/2cup 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.
Serves 6 to 10. Adapted from “Momofuku,” by David Chang and Peter Meehan.