Last year ten of us had a dish called bo ssam at a New York restaurant called Momofuku Ssam Bar. Bo ssam is a roasted pork shoulder with a salt/sugar glaze. A Korean-inspired dish, you shred the pork at the table, wrap the pork in lettuce, and put toppings on it. It was delicious and more than ten people could eat.
We decided to try bo ssam at home. David Chang, owner and chef of Momofuku, wrote a Momofuku cook book, which we borrowed from the library.
We followed the recipe, with two changes. First, the recipe calls for 1/4 cup sherry vinegar. We had trouble finding sherry vinegar, so we substituted with a combination of white vinegar and balsamic vinegar. Second, the recipe calls for roasting the pork for six hours, basting every hour. Instead we used a large covered pot that automatically bastes the meat. From experience with other dishes, moist cooking with the pot reduces the cooking time, so we cooked an 8-pound shoulder roast for 3 3/4 hours.
The meat turned out fine. Here’s the meal as served.
The pork shoulder pulled away from the bone during roasting, and it has an attractive sugar glaze. We use tongs to shred and serve the pork. The butter lettuce is ready for wrapping the pork and sauces. Sauces in the foreground are a chile oil, pureed kim chee, and a ginger-scallion sauce. Fleur de sel is available, but the pork is salty enough. In the background are kim chee and pickled cucumber and turnip.
The meal was tasty without being too overpowering. And we don’t eat Korean food that often.
As a note to cooks, we used a French pot, called a cocotte, for the bo ssam. We first saw cocottes two years ago in Paris, at a restaurant called Les Cocottes. Like Les Cocottes, we use a Staub cocotte, a very heavy cast iron-enameled, covered casserole, with a black interior (doesn’t show discoloration through use) and spikes on the lid to automatically baste during cooking.