31 January 2012

Bo ssäm (pork brûlée)

Okay, so our Momofukubinge has reached its apex. Bo ssäm, baby. We've made this before, but we were inspired by the recent New York Times article to do it again.

Bo ssäm is the Korean equivalent of a pulled pork sandwich. It's got the slow-cooked, fall apart pork. It's got the crispness of the cole slaw (kimchi). It's got the acid bite of a tomato chili sauce (ssäm sauce). The parallels are almost perfect, and the combination of acid, fat and crunch is nearly perfect. Delicious.

We've modified the recipe a bit from Momofuku.
1 whole bone-in picnic ham (8 to 10 pounds)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt
7 tablespoons brown sugar
Picnic pork

Mix 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of kosher salt. Rub it all over the pork.

Rubbed picnic pork

Put in the fridge overnight. Fire up your smoker, to a nice temperature of 225°F. We smoked for four hours at this temperature, with wet hickory for smoke, then transferred to a 300°F oven for another 3 hours to finish. I'd like to say that was by design, but the snow was falling too fast to keep the temperature in the bbq. vaporizing snow takes a ton of heat out of your bbq.

Smoking in the snow

While baking, prepare your accompaniments:
2 cups plain white rice, cooked
3 heads bibb lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried
1 dozen or more fresh oysters (optional - we skipped this time, but for the last time)
Kimchi (available in Korean markets)
Ginger-scallion sauce
Ssäm sauce
Smoked, baked pork

When done baking, remove the picnic ham from the oven. This final step is what takes this recipe to the next level. We're talking pork brûlée. Caramelized sugar, all over greasy, delicious pork. Wow. Ok, mix the last tablespoon of salt with the brown sugar. Rub all over the hot picnic ham, and heat the oven to 500°F. That's right, you're going to melt sugar onto your pork. Yes. Transfer the pork to a fresh cookie sheet and place in the oven.

Pork brûlée

Okay, so if we'd had a slightly better fan, we would have left the pork in the oven about a minute longer (the sugar on the cookie sheet was starting to burn), but this was nearly perfect. This takes less than ten minutes to start melting the sugar all over the pork. Remove from oven when it's perfectly melted and caramelized, or when the smoke starts to overwhelm your smoke detectors...

Pork brûlée

Tear apart the pork, into little pieces. I use forks to pull them apart, you want small chunks of beautiful pork brûlée.

Pulled pork

Okay, now you assemble your little bo ssäm, a lot like a burrito. Take a leaf of bibb lettuce, and place some of the pork, rice, kimchi, ginger-scallion sauce and ssäm sauce in there. Curl it up like a burrito, and take a bite. Oh. My. Gawd. The heavenly mix of fat, spice, acid and crispy kimchi is mind-blowing. One of the best bbq tricks ever. This might replace pulled pork as our Superbowl favourite. Yum.

Bo ssäm



Laura said...

BBQ Dude,
For the life of me, I cannot figure out the reason why I stopped eating these scrumptious little treasures when you made them for us.
Next time we try the torch to finish it!

Dave said...

Looks like pork candy - yum! I've got to try this. I don't think gochujang is gluten free, can I replace it with srichacha?

Indirect Heat said...

Laura, They were tasty, weren't they...

Dave, I believe gochujang is gluten-free. While it does contain rice and fermented soybeans, it is my understanding that both of these things are gluten-free. (Though, depending on how the soybeans were fermented, they may contain wheat residue). I don't think it would change too much to switch it out with sriracha, but it would lose some of the rich fermented soy flavour...

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