Momofuku's Bo Ssam pork shoulder
Chef Momofuko's Bo Ssam - caramelized pork shoulder for wraps = insanely good!!

What happens when a lentil/yogurt/kale and green smoothie person stays on to help out her solidly Midwestern parents? Things like this, I’m afraid! This is one gorgeous pork roast from Chef David Chang of Momofuku. Crazy good. Served with rice, sauces and lettuce for wrapping, this is insane.

Momofuku's Bo Ssam Pork Shoulder
Momofuku’s Bo Ssam

Sam Sifton, of the New York Times, says it all when he calls this the Bo Ssam miracle! He sings high praises, one of which is, “Momofuku Ssam Bar in Manhattan’s East Village for $200, where it serves 6 to 10 people and regularly blows minds.”

He goes on to add, “That you can achieve almost exactly the same result at home for a fraction of the cost…Recipes like Chang’s bo ssam are a godsend. They make any cook appear to be better than he or she really is, elevating average kitchen skills into something that approaches alchemy. Tell no one how easy this all turns out to be, though. Simply cook the food and serve it and watch as those at your table devour the meat in a kind of trance.”


Momofuku's Bo Ssam Pork Shoulder
Momofuku’s Bo Ssam

While he and others wax on about how addictive this is, how you’ll start out eating Bo Ssam neatly in little wraps and end up ripping into with your hands, they don’t really describe how you’ll crack open that crust to reveal the moist pork inside. Literally, you’ll hear it crackle and sizzle and once open the steam and aroma pour out.

As Chef Chang said, “The ssams were being taken apart as if by frenzied animals. “People were just housing them,” Chang said. “They smell it and they look at it and they just go crazy.” See for yourself.” You’ll probably want to just bring the whole thing to the table and have people pass their plates to you so you can fork over the meat. You may need shears to cut apart strips of the crust if you don’t wish to just tear it apart.

Serve it with the two sauces, the Ssam Sauce (which you might find at your store – we found it in Sioux Falls but opted to make our own) and the Ginger Scallion Sauce. The folks weren’t too crazy about either sauce, but we added a third, a Sweet Chile Sauce, which I always have on hand. That did the trick for them…

Note: I probably could have cooked this just a bit longer for the first cooking; it was not quite to the point of collapse, but we had to eat; I can’t imagine it having been any better, although the juices would have been more caramelized.

Always buy Pork Shoulder on sale; it’s really an inexpensive meat! While leftovers are wonderful, consider remaking them – I used part of the leftover roast to make Brunswick Stew.

Momofuku's Bo Ssam pork shoulder
Momofuku’s Bo Ssam

Momofuku's Bo Ssang

  • Servings: 12 -16
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

For the Roast:

  • 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


  • Kimchi (available in many Asian markets, and online) and/or Cucumber Salad with Asian flavors
  • 1 dozen or more fresh oysters (optional)
  • 3 heads bibb lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried
  • 2 cups plain white rice, cooked
  • Ginger Scallion Sauce
  • Ssam Sauce

Place the pork in a large, shallow bowl lined with overlapping pieces of plastic wrap large enough to wrap around the pork. 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 ready to cook, heat oven to 300 degrees. Remove pork from refrigerator and discard any juices. Place the pork in a roasting pan (preferable foil lined or a disposable foil pan) place 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 and the Ssam sauce. Prepare Rice and any accompaniments.

When 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 10 to 15 minutes, or until a dark caramel crust has developed on the meat.

Once that last bit of sugar and salt is on there and the meat is back in a hot oven,” Chang says, “you want to watch it carefully. You’re not looking for a color so much as for the moment when the fat and the skin begins to fluff up a little. It’s not so much about the sugar caramelizing as it is about the fat starting to bubble.” When that happens — Chang calls it the soufflé effect — you are ready to go.

Serve hot, with the accompaniments.

from the kitchen of, original recipe from David Chang, appearing in the New York Times


You know I’ll be bringing this to our Throwback Thursday #26 Link Party, hosted by Quinn of Dad What’s for Dinner, Meaghan of 4 Sons are Us, Alli of Tornadough, Carlee from Cooking with Carlee and Moi! That’s right – me!

Click over to our Throwback Thursday post for links to their blogs and social media, rules and more info or just click on the blue leapfrog, below, to view all the Throwback Thursday Posts or enter your own!

I will also be bringing these over to Angie’s Link Party, Fiesta Friday # 107, Hosted this week, by Margi from LaPetiteCasserole and Sue from Sue’s Healthy Living! It should be another great party!!


17 Comments on “Momofuku’s Bo Ssam

  1. Is 6am too early to ask for some??? Oh my this looks amazing. I only had that fat alchemy effect once in Perugina, Italy, 1985. Still remember it. It was that good. Question: once you remove pork from fridge, you leave the sugar/salt crust on for the slow cooking?

    • I think you can use your judgement on that – I left most of it on and took a swipe or two and knocked some off across an area where it was particularly thick. I was a little worried about salt/sugar content, blood pressures, etc…but then figured if anyone had a problem, they could eat the moist tender, juicy pork from the center…

      I think it would be fine if most of it was knocked off, leaving only a very thin layer, too. I wouldn’t go so far as to rinse it off…

  2. I love the way you have written this post! It is like a story narrative. You brought everything alive!Even though I don’t eat pork,this one sounds delicious! Thanks for bringing it to FF!

    • Liz, it was funny because at first I had a section of pork that didn’t have the outside crustiness and I was thinking, ok, that’s good, juicy, nice…then I got down to the crusty outside. It was like candy apple meets pork, but in a delish, savory way.

  3. Looks amazing and just about anything from Chang is a hit. The slow cooked pork, with those sauces all caramelized and yummmy makes me hungery.

  4. Yum! We love pork shoulder. I actually have one going now, I wish I would have done it this way… next time!

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