I made the Momofuku bo ssam for a dinner party last night and recommend that you do the same for your next dinner party, if you are feeding people who eat meat. If you learn that the guest of honor is a vegetarian on the morning of the bo ssam dinner (as I did) you may spend part of the day freaking out! Relax: the guest of honor is a tolerant and understanding person who appreciates the smell of roast pork, and is content to eat noodles, rice, vegetables, and lettuce wrapped around kimchi and ginger-scallion sauce, which is really not so bad.
Here are some bo ssam tips that might be more generally useful:
1. make a double batch of that famous ginger-scallion sauce: you’ll want it for the leftovers. To speed the tedious ginger-mincing step, put all the ingredients except the sliced scallions (ginger, kosher salt, usukuchi soy sauce, grapeseed oil, vinegar) in the food processor and blend, then fold in the scallions.
I know I have rhapsodized about this sauce before but I can’t stop. It’s SO simple and SO, SO good, especially if you nail its proportions precisely. It’s good as salad dressing, on wilted spinach or steamed or stir-fried bok choy or gai lan, on eggs, on rice, on humble cheap Chinese takeout, on any meat or noodle dish but especially on ramen (even the 25 cent kind).
2. It’s worth seeking out usukuchi, which is recommended throughout the Momofuku cookbook. Lukas and I did a soy sauce tasting recently (his idea) and I thought it was gonna be weird and pointless. Turns out the sauces we tasted were all WILDLY different, some smoky, some pungent, some supersalty, some misoey, some sweet, some bitter, some vaguely inky! Priciness wasn’t any guarantee we’d love a sauce, either. Buy a few bottles at an Asian supermarket and find your favorite. (Rather than just buying whichever’s cheapest, my usual MO).
3. Give your guests pork to take home. You are never going to finish all that pork. (That’s what’s in my fridge right now, nestled in a puddle of its own rendered lard! I am trying to gather the strength to start taking it off the bones before using them to make stock).
4. Open the window before you do the last step of turning the oven up to 500 degrees and rubbing the pork with brown sugar. Molten spatters of candied porkfat may decorate the bottom of your oven and create a campfire ambiance in your apartment. Use caution.