Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bo Ssam

I saw an article in the New York Times about a dish called Bo Ssam. Now I am one of many porkaholics out there so a dish like this was likely to be a winner no matter what. I love the whole idea of how to present the dish, using lettuce wraps to scoop up pork and the various Korean pickled vegetables is an appealing way to eat for me.
I didn't vary from the recipe at all, other than the size of my pork shoulder. And that is where I want to offer a note of caution.
I only had a 3 pound pork shoulder, and while it looked fantastic
The smaller size of the pork screwed up the ratio of crusty, salty, sweet outside and slow roasted pork inside. It wasn't too salty for me, that is pretty hard to accomplish, but for Kerrie and others who sampled it, it was a bit on the salty side. With a larger pork shoulder there would be a better ratio of outside to inside and the saltiness would abated. If you are going to use a shoulder, say 7 pounds or less I would reduce the cure time to 6 hours or so.

I thought about making my own kimchee for this dish but since I wanted some of the other options I went to my favorite Asian market (conveniently located next to one of my favorite Korean/Japanese restaurants) and was able to pick up a tray containing the 4 options that Secret Garden, serves with their meals. If you have an Asian grocery nearby I would bet you can find several pre-packaged choices. At the very least Kimchee is readily available.  Serve up with a stack of bib lettuce leaves and steamed rice and you have a fun and tasty meal.

10 pounds bone-in Boston pork butt
2 1/3 cups white sugar 
2 1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons salt 
4 each red and green chiles 
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 cups uncooked Korean rice
2 heads Boston lettuce
Sagyegeol ssäm jang (Korean soybean paste)
Salted shrimp
1 pounds cabbage or daikon kimchee

The Night Before
Place 2 cups each sugar and salt in a bowl or saucepan large enough to hold the butt, add 6 cups water, and stir until dissolved. Place the pork butt in the brine solution. Make sure it’s submerged (weight if necessary), and refrigerate overnight.

Clean the chile peppers (leave the seeds in for a hotter flavor) and slice them 1/2-inch thick, on the bias. Mix 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup salt with 1 cup water until dissolved, pour over the chiles, and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the pork in a large 6-inch-deep pot or casserole, and cook uncovered in the oven for about 6 1/2–7 1/2 hours, basting the pork with the pan drippings every hour. When the meat is fork-tender and pulls away from the bone, sprinkle the exterior with a mixture of 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1 tablespoon salt. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees, and continue roasting until the outside is well caramelized. Remove from oven.

Rinse the rice well to remove any sediment. Add 7 cups cold water, 1 tablespoon salt, and 4 cups rice. Cook for 20 minutes or until water evaporates.

Clean and wash the lettuce; select the best leaves, and set aside.

Assembly and Serving
Place the pork on a large platter surrounded with the pickled chiles. Arrange the Korean rice, ssäm jang, salted shrimp, kimchee, and lettuce in separate bowls. Allow guests to assemble their ssäm by wrapping each component in a lettuce leaf.

1 comment:

A Beer for the Shower said...

This sounds amazing. I've never heard of it, personally, but as another porkaholic I'm definitely gonna try it.

What I would not try, as you said, is making my own kimchi. That seems like too much work for too little payoff. There's actually some pretty good pre-packaged kimchi to be had around the Asian markets here.