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Bo Ssam


This recipe for a delicious Korean dish is courtesy of Momofuku chef David Chang.

  • Servings: 10

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, January Winter 2009


  • 1 (8- to 10-pound) bone-in pork shoulder or pork butt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 7 tablespoons light-brown sugar
  • 12 oysters, shucked, for serving
  • 1 cup Napa Cabbage Kimchi, for serving
  • 1 cup Napa Cabbage Kimchi, pureed, for serving
  • 1 cup Ginger-Scallion Sauce, for serving
  • 1 cup Ssam Sauce, for serving
  • 2 cups steamed short-grain white rice, for serving
  • 3 to 4 heads Bibb lettuce, leaves separated, washed well, and spun dry
  • Sea salt


  1. Place pork in a large bowl or roasting pan. In a medium bowl, mix together granulated sugar and 1 cup coarse salt. Rub sugar mixture all over pork and cover bowl with plastic wrap; transfer to refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to overnight.

  2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

  3. Transfer pork to a large roasting pan, discarding any accumulated juices (or drain accumulated juices from roasting pan that pork is in). Transfer roasting pan to oven and cook, basting every hour with rendered fat in roasting pan, until meat is tender and easily shredded with a fork, about 6 hours.

  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together remaining tablespoon coarse salt and brown sugar; rub mixture all over pork.

  5. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. Return pork to oven until sugar has melted into a crisp crust, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot with oysters, kimchis, ginger-scallion sauce, ssam sauce, rice, lettuce, and sea salt.

Reviews Add a comment

  • Sittin_Here
    23 DEC, 2011
    I have been making this for years. I never use that much salt and I swap the sugars since I want the caramelized crust and sauce that comes with it. I never sear cook time takes care of that & you must baste every hour. massage in marinade, the longer it sits the better. Turn every 6-8 hours does help. If you smoke it us apple juice injections. WOW!!!
  • Weedah
    10 DEC, 2011
    Also, check out this video for a great tutorial on how to make it... the two sauces they use are fantastic...
  • Weedah
    10 DEC, 2011
    I've made this recipe about 5 or 6 times. The first time I followed to the letter, including cooking times, leaving on the salt and it was a hot mess. Every time I've done it since then, I rinsed the meat off and used a meat thermometer. I let the meat get to it's optimal cooking temperature and then watched it closely after that... usually an additional 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Also, only broiled it for about 5 to 8 minutes once you put the sugar/salt mix on otherwise it burns. SO. GOOD.
  • Furgs
    12 JAN, 2011
    I just looked up this recipe online and there's a copy of it from David Chang's cookbook. In that recipe, he uses the salt and sugar (and water) to make a BRINE. That makes so much more sense than the results I got from using the salt and sugar as a dry rub. It was just way too salty for me as a dry rub.
  • MattSsam
    29 MAR, 2010
    Made this last weekend, and it was amazing. I thought it was just as good as when I had it at Ssam Bar. I made a couple modifications to the recipe. First, I rinsed off the cure. The meat was very well seasoned, and the exterior wasn't too salty. Second, I roasted it in a V-rack, which let the fat drip off it (plenty of fat for basting, and it kept the exterior uniformly crisped). I pureed the ginger/scal sauce, and the ssam sauce needed a little extra kochujang to thicken.
  • nutlucky
    30 DEC, 2009
    He rinsed the pork belly that used to cook the pork buns but did not rinse the pork butt/shoulder in this recipe. It looked as though the excess salt and sugar was brushed off though.
  • Lorelei777
    21 FEB, 2009
    I made this today. The "crust" of the pork was too salty for my taste buds but the rest of the pork turned out great!
  • Furgs
    10 FEB, 2009
    I just rewatched the segment and he says "you DON'T have to rinse it off." I made this for Superbowl Sunday and we loved it, however, I found it to be too salty. Once you folded the pork into the lettuce leaves with all the condiments it tasted just fine, but there was a lot of leftover pork which was very salty. (I suppose the combination of flavors when eaten as Bo Ssam camouflaged the saltiness.) I think next time I will rinse it off.
  • JoannaHogan
    1 FEB, 2009
    You are supposed to brush off the excess salt and sugar brining mix. It was the eggrolls on the same show that you didn't rinse off the salt from the cabbage you are thinking of when you said, "I don't think he rinsed it off." On the eggrolls, definately rinse the cabbage or much too salty. I am making thin now and have made before. I don't think that I have every had enough drippings to baste. About the third time I made it, I added water to the pan and then had some juice. You have to do that right away
  • missymod
    1 FEB, 2009
    I stand corrected, I can't find the video segment online. You used to always be able to watch show segments online. They are constantly changing the website, but not always for the better.