The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

The Religion of Pork: Bo Ssam Recipe

We Filipinos view pork as a religion.  We praise it and eat it in every form imaginable.  No family get-together is complete without a roasted pig, which always gets an invite.   The same can’t be said about that one crazy Aunt.   I’m sure there are remote places in the mountains of The Philippines that have pork desserts but no internet to evangelize their practices.  This year, we are seriously considering an Porcine Thanksgiving  as a celebration of our faith.

Consider me The Filipino Archbishop of All Things Swine.   And as your spiritual advisor, I present to you – the second greatest pork shoulder recipe.   Ever.

It’s called Bo Ssam and it’s a type of Korean dish where meat and other fillings are wrapped in lettuce.

bo ssam done


Wait… Am I, the Filipino Archbishop of really proselytizing about a pork dish that’s… gasp… Korean?  Maybe I’m the David Koresh of pork. Whatevs.

This is an amazing dish that David Chang serves at Momofuku for a couple hundred dollars. But since it serves a dozen people easily, that’s not that bad a price. At home, you can probably make it for under $30.

And it couldn’t get any easier than this.   Rub the pork, cook it in an oven for a few hours, make the sides, burn the pork, and then make serve.   Just trust the process.   The rub uses an ungodly amount of salt that would seem to make it inedible.   And yes, you burn it.   But when it all gets mixed together, the salt is spread out and the “bark” or “brittle” provides a deliciously sweet, crunchy texture.   The meat is terrific without the sauces, but totally sings with them.

The only way you’ll have leftovers is if you make the whole thing for yourself or your small family.  But, in the unlikely event you do have leftovers, the pork and sauces make for terrific rice bowls.

bo ssam rice bowl


Bo Ssam

I got Chang’s recipe from the New York Times.   It’s bookmarked on my laptop, iPad, iPhone, and is printed out and stuck in a prominent position in my recipe binder.

The different chili pastes and kimchi are easily available at Asian markets.  I think Whole Foods may even have them.  Definitely worth picking up as they are great with other food. I haven’t tried this recipe with the optional oysters, but only because good ones aren’t readily available in the Midwest.

1 whole bone-in pork butt (8-10 pounds)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
7 Tablespoons brown sugar

Ginger-Scallion Sauce
2 ½ cups sliced scallions
½ cup peeled, minced ginger
¼ cup grapeseed oil or other neutral oil
1 ½ tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sherry vinegar
½ tsp kosher salt

Ssam Sauce
2 Tablespoons fermented bean-and-chili paste (ssamjang)
1 Tablespoon chili paste (kochujang)
½ cup sherry vinegar
½ cup neutral oil

Other Accompaniments
2 cups white rice, cooked
3 heads bibb lettuce, leaves separated and dried
1 dozen fresh oysters (optional)

1 – Place pork in a large shallow bowl. Mix the white sugar and 1 cup of salt and rub all over the meat. Cover with plastic wrap and let it stand in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight

bo ssam pork


2 – Heat oven to 300 degrees. Discard any juices, place the pork in a roasting pan, and cook for about six hours. After the first hour, basted it hourly with the pan juices. After six hours, the roast should have collapsed and will yield easily to a fork. Let it rest for up to an hour.

3 – Make the sauces by mixing the ingredients in separate bowls.

bo ssam sauces


4 – Prepare rice and other accompaniments

5 – When ready to serve, turn the oven on to 500 degree. Mix the 1 Tablespoon salt and the brown sugar and rub all over the cooked pork. Place it in the oven for 10-15 minutes until a dark, caramel crust develops.

bo ssam brown sugar


5.5 – Take picture of dark, caramel crust for blog. (oops)

6 – Tear apart and serve hot with the accompaniments.

bo ssam mixed


7 – Find comfortable spot for the ensuing food coma.



About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

8 comments on “The Religion of Pork: Bo Ssam Recipe

  1. The Dutchman
    November 18, 2015

    Of all the FWH cuisine I have sampled, this one is my favorite. I may have consumed a pound of this and had to pried away to prevent me from eating more.

  2. Michelle Williams
    November 18, 2015

    Recipe looks fantastic. However, once I saw that egg I was sold on the rice bowl! Thanks for the recipe!

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      November 19, 2015

      It is sooooo good. If you make it, curious what you’d pair with it. My initial thought is Riesling but maybe a Syrah?

      • Michelle Williams
        November 19, 2015

        Tough pairing because lots of flavors. Riesling would be a good choice. I had a Portuguese wine called Esporão Monte Velho Red 2013 that was a blend of Aragonez, Trincadeiera, Touriga Nacional and Syrah that I think would pair well too.

  3. kritterspaw
    November 20, 2015


  4. Pingback: The Butter Coffee Biohack | The Food and Wine Hedonist

  5. Pingback: Inspirational Lettuce Wraps | The Food and Wine Hedonist

  6. Tamara
    July 11, 2017

    Whoa, that looks phenomenal!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on November 18, 2015 by in Cooking and tagged , , , , , , .
%d bloggers like this: