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Bo Ssam Korean Pork Belly

Bo Ssam Close

The first year I went to the New York City Food and Wine Festival I was enamored. We spent a lot of time talking to the chef from the Korean Food Foundation. I thought it was wonderful that they were encouraging people to cook more Korean food and to visit Korea to learn more about Korean culture and food. The recipe I got from the chef there is the base of this Bo Ssam Korean Pork Belly.

I have to admit I’ve kept sat on this recipe for several years. I know that sounds crazy but this is a melt in your mouth type of deliciousness that it not for everyday. The way I made it also requires it to cook for several hours. I knew when i made it I wanted to do it right. I wanted that whole envelopment of flavor and warmth.

Though I know many Koreans just boil it for an hour, the fall apart and caramelization to the version we had from the Korean Food Foundation was not a boil 1 hour and throw under the broiler kind of recipe. To really do the recipe justice and make it right, I had to roast it in the oven for 3 to 4 hours.

Bo Ssam Table El's Birthday

Of course, nowadays I feel a bit of added pressure from my friends to really make authentic dishes. On the other hand, it makes me feel proud that they truly believe in what I’m doing and trust me with their recipes. I’m making this recipe a bit different than my Korean friends do, but I know that they know I’m staying as true as I can to their culture.

Most of my friends toss the pork belly in a heavy pot and roast it for about an hour. Then they crust it in a brown sugar and honey mixture and roast it for another 10 minutes. Since I made this for my birthday I went all out. I brined the pork belly overnight, then roasted it for 5 hours. Once again, you don’t have to do that. Just throw all the ingredients in a pot, walk away and come back in about an hour.

BTW – that’s how those restaurants fool you. They brine and roast and only give you part of the the recipe. Part of it is because most people aren’t interested in too many steps. But listen to me, the additional steps doesn’t complicate the recipe. But sometimes, (and this is one of those times) go through all the motions. It’s worth it.



Pork Belly Brine
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water

Braising Pork Belly
8 ounces soybean paste (miso)
2 ounces soy sauce
1 medium onion (reserve half)
3 ounces scallion
1 head of garlic (reserve half)
1 ounce ginger
1/2 ounce red chili powder
1 ounce honey lime mixture
2 pounds pork belly

Tools: large bowl, baking pan or Pyrex

Bo Ssam Ingredients


Brine pork overnight in a large bowl (or use this quick brine minus the lemon).

Once ready to cook, preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Mix all ingredients except pork in a food processer and add 4 cups of water.

Pour mixture over pork belly and add reserved garlic and onions.

Bo Ssam

Roast in the oven for 3 to 5 hours (this depends on your oven, after 3 hours keep an eye on it).

Bo Ssam Fin

voilà or 여기에

Traditionally, the pork is wrapped in lettuce and eaten with kimchi, rice and a sauce. This was so good no sauce was needed. We also had cold sesame noodles and several other rice dishes. It was a great time. What would you eat your Bo Ssam with?

Bo Ssam Close

If you try this recipe, I’d love to know. Leave me a comment or take a picture and tag it #elskitchencmfrt on Twitter or @els.kitchencomforts on instagram. I’m excited to see what you cook up.



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