Roast

Sam Sifton's Momofuku Bo Ssäm

by:
March  6, 2021
15 Ratings
Photo by David Malosh
Author Notes

Reprinted from See You on Sunday. Copyright © 2019 by Sam Sifton. Photographs © 2019 by David Malosh. Published by Random House, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC. —Food52

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: The Viral 'New York Times' Dish I Make for Friends (& Myself!) Week After Week. —The Editors

  • Prep time 6 hours 5 minutes
  • Cook time 6 hours 20 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 10
Ingredients
  • For the pork
  • 1 whole bone-in, skin-on pork butt or picnic ham, 8 to 10 pounds
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 7 tablespoons brown sugar
  • For the ginger-scallion sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions, both green and white parts
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1 scant teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • For the ssäm sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ssamjang fermented bean-and-chile paste (available in many Asian markets and online)
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang chile paste (available in many Asian markets and online)
  • 1/2 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
  • Accompaniments
  • 2 cups plain white rice, cooked
  • 3 heads Bibb lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried
  • Kimchi, if you can find it at the market
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Prepare the pork. Place the pork in a large, shallow bowl. Mix the granulated sugar and 1 cup of the salt together in another bowl, then rub the mixture all over the meat. Cover the meat with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  2. When you’re ready to cook, heat the oven to 300°F. Remove the pork from the refrigerator and discard any juices. Brush off the meat to remove the bulk of the remaining sugar and salt. Place the pork in a roasting pan and cook in the oven for about 6 hours, basting hourly with the pan juices, until it collapses and yields easily to the tines of a fork. Remove the meat from the oven and allow to rest for up to an hour.
  3. Meanwhile, make the ginger-scallion sauce. In a large bowl, combine the scallions with the ginger, oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and salt. Mix well and taste, adding more 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 and wash lettuce. 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°F. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Gretchen @ Backyardnotes
    Gretchen @ Backyardnotes
  • FrugalCat
    FrugalCat
  • SMSF
    SMSF
  • AntoniaJames
    AntoniaJames
  • MMH
    MMH

27 Reviews

Paul August 26, 2020
Sorry, but this isn't bossam. Bossam is boiled pork and looks like this. https://g.co/kgs/9Jxck2
 
Greg F. May 29, 2020
Like most, I have trouble finding skin on cuts and no doubt this would be better with it BUT this very good regardless. The scallion ginger sauce is yummy but doesn’t keep well. My family really liked the ssam sauce as above, though I stirred in a little (maybe a lot) more gochujang. This is a good one.
 
Gretchen @. May 20, 2020
I did not use skin on. Just try for a pork shoulder with a good fat cap.
 
TS May 17, 2020
Could I make this with bone-in skinless pork shoulder? Any alterations to the recipe? I’m worried it might get too dried out with such a long cooking time.
 
Gretchen @. March 28, 2020
I made this shortly after it was published in NYT magazine in January 2012 with a 5lb. pork butt since there were only two of us to eat it (over several days). I adjusted the other ingredients accordingly and it was unbelievably, outrageously good. The next time I used a 7-8 lb. piece for a family dinner and it is now a often requested birthday dish. It easily served 5 adults and two teenagers. Even my 89 year old mom eats the kimchi that goes with it!
I have found that 1⁄3 cup each salt and sugar to be sufficient for 7-8lb. Also, line a large bowl with plastic wrap and then add the sugar-salt mixture, patting it onto the meat and wrap tightly. Overnight is best.
Ginger-Scallion sauce will last several days and is good on rice, noodles, etc. The Ssam sauce will keep for at least week or more and is a great condiment. I would make both sauces a day ahead to let flavors mingle. Bibb lettuce is best for its 'bowl' shape, but red leaf lettuce works well too.
 
JFlitz March 8, 2020
Yecchh! Salty beyond. I like the technique but the salt was way too much.
 
jeff.mccallister April 22, 2021
What kind of kosher salt did you use? Diamond Chrystal has a much lower sodium content than Morton or others and the end result is never too salty.
 
FrugalCat March 5, 2020
8-10 pounds? Way too much, even if I have people over. What would be a good pork cut for less than 3 pounds?
 
MMH March 5, 2020
I will tell you that the first time I ate this was with 3 adults and a 5 year old. It was so good that we all just kept eating just because.
 
Coral L. March 9, 2020
Hi FrugalCat! Wrote to you in the article comment section—a smaller cut of pork shoulder (1-3 pounds) will work just as well! Just cut down on the salt-sugar mixture accordingly, and watch for doneness at around the 3 hour mark.
 
Denise M. March 5, 2020
Has anyone tried doing it in a slow cooker? It would save taking up valuable over real estate for 6 hours
 
Coral L. March 9, 2020
Hi Denise! A slow-cooker would make for a more *wet* slow-and-low method. The dry/hot environment of an oven is crucial for crisping the pork shoulder. If you're very anti-oven, you could try slow-cooking, transferring the pork shoulder to a sheet pan, patting it dry, then broiling with the brown sugar/salt for 15 min before serving?
 
Cyndy L. March 4, 2020
Do you serve the meat and sauces inside the lettuce? If not, what is the lettuce for?
 
Coral L. March 9, 2020
Yes! Use the lettuce leaves to wrap little packages—rice, meat, kimchi, sauce, etc.
 
delcecchi March 4, 2020
Skin on pork butts are sort of hard to find. Would it not work with a conventional skinned pork butt? Or is the skin an important part of the dish?
 
Coral L. March 9, 2020
Hi! A skinned pork butt would work as well—you just won't get that crisped layer of skin, but the fatcap will render/crisp in its own way!
 
SMSF March 4, 2020
Here are the missing steps:
STEP 4
Make the ssam sauce. In a medium bowl, combine the chili pastes with the vinegar and oil, and mix well.
STEP 5
Prepare rice and wash lettuce. Put kimchi and sauces into serving bowls.
STEP 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.
 
lumpy222 March 4, 2020
I don't know who proofreads these recipes. Thanks to the reviewer for the insight on what to do with the brown sugar. I know what to do with the ssam sauce, but I think it might be helpful for others that if you list ingredients you indicate what to do with them. Even to the point that some people wouldn't even know how to serve it; i.e., and the lettuce is for...
 
gideon B. March 3, 2020
what happens to the 7 tbsp of brown sugar???????????
 
Jazearley March 3, 2020
I was wondering the same thing about the brown sugar?
 
Maureen March 4, 2020
"When your accompaniments are prepared and you are ready to serve the food, turn oven to 500.

Check Sam Sifton's recipe in NY Times - "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."
 
gideon B. March 4, 2020
thanks
 
AntoniaJames March 2, 2020
So let's just say you're serving this at a dinner party. What's for dessert? And starters? Call me crazy, but I'm seriously thinking about changing up Christmas next December in a fairly significant way (serving a bunch of New England prep school-educated WASPS with advanced degrees), so I'm wondering, what goes with this on a festive December menu? I don't care about authenticity, consistency, or any other hobgoblin of little minds . . . . Thanks! ;o)
 
Eric K. March 3, 2020
!! That's such a fun idea, AJ.

Hm. Since the main course is so rich and meaty (albeit with fresh vegetables, white rice, and all of the accoutrements), maybe the dessert is a cleaner fruity situation?

I once had a light cinnamon granita with candied walnuts and burrata at a Korean restaurant called Atoboy. A little sweet, but very subtle and slightly savory. For dessert, you could do a no-bake cheesecake with winter fruit or go hard on the brown-sugar notes and do a sticky toffee pudding. Sometimes I just boil together some brown sugar and butter (a pinch of salt) for a makeshift butterscotch sauce over Scotch-vanilla ice cream.

Probably a light soup for the app.

I love that you're already thinking about Christmas. I can't wait for Thanksgiving, myself.
 
MMH March 5, 2020
We often serve a variety of sherbets with Asian food.

Our favorite came from a friend from India. In an Asian or Indian market you can purchase mango puree. Serve it in a pool with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream.
 
Maureen July 10, 2020
Gabrielle Hamilton has a recipe for milk punch, a kind of boozy, milky slushy that might be a nice dessert + nightcap. For a starter, maybe a salad with a citrus vinaigrette and crisp, juicy Asian pear and fuyu persimmon?
 
Deborah February 27, 2020
This is out of this world delicious. A word to the wise - it will smoke up your kitchen and set off smoke alarms. If you have an outdoor grill use that rather than the kitchen oven.