Uh-Oh, Guess what day it is? Guess. What. Day. It. Is?!?!? Woooooot Wooooo!!! I watch that commercial on loop and then I watch it again. Nice job Geico. Hump daaay yeah!
We have this great cookbook, “Momofuku” written by David Chang. And by great, I mean we skim through it all the time and gawk at the pictures and recipes but never actually make anything from it. The recipes all seem very intimidating and make you think Chef Chang needs to be in your kitchen holding your hand throughout the whole cooking process. But then again, that’s why Garnet is the ying to my yang and instead of running away from the Bo Ssam, like me, she embraced it and took on the challenge. Good thing because this recipe really blew my mind. Everything. From the perfectly crispy caramelized- sweet skin, to the brined interior which resulted in juicy meat, all the way to the amazing condiments to top this pig. This was the greatest home cooked meal either of us ever made. Let’s start with the crispy skin caramelized with brown sugar in 500 degree heat for the last 15 minutes of cooking which leads to it resembling some kind of pork candy. Amazingly delicious pork candy. Not even joking here, that crunchy skin could be chopped up for an ice cream topping. Yes really! Chang? Can you back me up on that one? He’s down for some Bo Ssam froyo. Those crunchy bits would just melt in your mouth. I was so close to pulling a Jim Carey in, “The Cable Guy” and just drape the skin on my face but I restrained myself and put the skin in my mouth. After you get past the skin; juicy, fall off the bone meat is waiting for you. The salt/sugar brine really creates an amazing Umami flavor that gets your taste buds all excited and allows the pork to stay juicy during its 6 hour nap in the low (300) oven (uncovered). Brining works. Remember that for thanksgiving. Condiments? Didn’t really need them but it’s what put this meal over the “hump” (Mike Mike Mike Mike). The spice from the Ssam sauce (dressed in red) and the freshness of the ginger scallion (dressed in green) paired magically on top of the shredded pork. We’re going to enjoy those condiments the next couple days. Rice is usually a filler but it soaked up all that juice from the pork and sauce to allow a second coating of both toppings and the left over juice in the pan. Awe man. You really need to make this! Really.
The pork and condiments are supposed to be wrapped in lettuce but of course I go tortilla all day and made an Asian taco. But that’s just the norm for me. I put lasagna in a tortilla so Garnet knew to pick up a dozen tortillas for her man. I can’t take any credit for this dish. This one was all Garnet from start to finish. She prepped, made the sauces and sat in the 700 degree kitchen to baste every hour. Honestly, the only thing I did was try to talk Garnet out of making Bo Ssam. I pouted and over exaggerated saying, “I’m not gonna eat this so you better invite your friends because I’m really not having any. You’re gonna have left overs for a month. Gross. Is that what you want, huh?” Ya, 4 lbs. of pork later I was gnawing on the bone because I didn’t want dinner to end. And now I have a new bro-crush, David Chang. Tyler Florence used to be my bromosexual counterpart but now David Chang is what’s hot in my world right now. We might even cook our way through this book like Meryl Streep.
Dinner was so good, I legit had a piece of glass in my foot while the pork was coming out of the oven but I was so mesmerized by the smell and beauty of this pig I just left it in there throughout dinner. I ate these standing up too because I didn’t want to leave the condiment line and in between bites of the pork wrap, I was chomping on the candied pork skin. 6 hours of cooking, 6 tacos in my belly in 6 minutes. That’s the devils dinner.
I wasn’t sure what Bo Ssam was on Monday but today I can’t stop thinking of it and I might have fallen even more in love with my sues chef. If that’s possible. I’m not even sure if anyone really reads this but someone drop a comment and let me know what day you’re making this so I can come by and enjoy it with you. Plus, it’d be nice to receive a comment from someone other than my friend’s named, “Buy Cialis now” and “Nike Air Max.” Spam is the worst.
Not pictured are the oysters. We omitted them because the night before we hit the “buck a shuck” at Dante’s in Cambridge, which over-looks the Charles River and ordered 3 dozen. We were kinda oystered out a bit. 3 dozen was a bad choice. Anyways, The fall is coming. I’m not even asking; I’m telling you to cozy up and make yourself some Bo Ssam. It’s an all day affair, lots of effort but so worth it in the end. I actually cant wait for the first snow storm because this is gonna be dinner that night. MmMmM! So get yourself a copy of, “Momofuku” and stream “Mind of a Chef” off of Netflix and fall in love with David Chang. All right great talk. I really hope you get to enjoy this recipe. You will love it!!
Meat & Paprika
- 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
- For theGinger-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
- For the 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Make the ssam sauce. In a medium bowl, combine the chili pastes with the vinegar and oil, and mix well.
- Prepare rice, wash lettuce and, if using, shuck the oysters. Put kimchi and sauces into serving bowls.
- 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.