Korean Roasted Pork Belly Bossam

Sharing is a common theme underlying all of Korean food. Bossam embodies this convivial sentiment - everyone sharing from the same plate, yet creating a small little bespoke parcel for their own consumption. I have many memories eating this dish while a student in New York. A large group of us would order it and literally pig out. The lettuce leaves and pickles cut the fat nicely and bring a welcomed freshness to the dish.
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 5 min
  • Active: 50 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Ingredients

3.3 pounds (1.5 kilograms) pork belly, skin on, boneless

Cooking Liquid:

8 cloves garlic, crushed

7 spring onions or scallions, roughly chopped, roots on

4 1/2-by-1 1/2-inch piece (75 grams) ginger, skin on, roughly sliced

1 onion, peeled and cut into eighths

2 tablespoons dwengjang paste

Pickled Radish (Moo Sang Che):

6 ounces (175 grams) white radish, mouli or daikon, julienned into long strips

4 1/2 teaspoons Korean apple vinegar or rice wine vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons white granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons Korean chili flakes (gochugaru), or to taste

1 small clove garlic, grated

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Rub:

2 tablespoons Korean soy bean paste (dwengjang)

2 tablespoons honey

1 1/2 tablespoons grated ginger

1 teaspoon Korean chili paste (gochujang)

Bossam Sauce:

2 tablespoons Korean soybean paste (dwengjang)

2 teaspoons grated onion

2 teaspoons roasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons roasted sesame seeds

1 teaspoon grated ginger

Serving suggestions: white rice and lettuce leaves

Directions

  1. For the pork: In a heavy pot, place the pork belly in and all of the ingredients for the cooking liquid and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the pork is fully cooked through and very soft, 2 hours.
  2. Remove the pork belly and place on a baking tray lined with foil to let cool. Discard the poaching liquid. Once cooled enough to handle, carefully cut off the skin of the pork and discard.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C.
  4. For the pickled radish: In a medium sized bowl, mix all of the pickling ingredients together and stir to coat the radish well. Cover and chill for 1 hour before serving.
  5. For the rub: Mix all of the rub ingredients together into a smooth paste and smear generously all over the top of the skin-side of belly. Place the pork in the oven, rub-side up, and roast the pork until the top is nicely caramelized, about 30 minutes. Additionally you can place the pork under the broiler briefly for a little more char.
  6. For the sauce: Meanwhile, make the bossam sauce by mixing all of the ingredients together well in a small bowl. Set aside.
  7. Once the pork belly is nicely caramelized on top, let rest for 15 minutes in a warm place. Then transfer the pork to a cutting board and thinly slice into two-bite pieces. Serve the pork with the rice, lettuce leaves, bossam sauce and pickled radish. Try eating the pork in this way: Place a lettuce leaf in your hand. Scoop in a spoonful of rice, top with smear of sauce, piece of pork and finish with some pickled radish. Wrap it all up together and take a bite. You'll love it.

Cook’s Note

Buy the best quality pork belly you can afford. Heritage breeds yield the best flavor. If your pork belly comes with the ribs on, slice them off and slather with the rub (make extra). Roast until cooked through and caramelized and you'll have the tastiest ribs ever.

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