Isn’t It Time for Some Rich and Crispy Pork with an Easy Korean Style Dipping Sauce?
Over the course of my life I have cooked a lot of pork shoulders/Boston butts. My whole family loves this cut of pork, and it’s pretty darned hard to screw up one of these. But as the years have gone on, I’ve found that I have a particular method of cooking it that I prefer above all others.
As far as seasonings go, you can add whatever moves you, but I frequently settle for using only salt and pepper. This way I don’t have any conflict with whatever sauce I’m using. But most importantly, the pure flavor of the pork shines through.
I begin by browning all sides of the meat in a Dutch oven to which I’ve only added about a tablespoons of oil. After that I turn it fat side up, place the uncovered pot into a 250° oven and do nothing for the next 6 to 7 hours. You’ll know it’s done by poking it with a fork, twisting the fork, and meeting little resistance. That’s it. Nothing to it. But I always end up with juicy, tender, and nicely crusted pork shoulder.
This time around I made a sauce that uses Korean ingredients. I’m nuts about gochujang ,* the lovely fermented Korean red chili paste. It’s so deeply and powerfully flavored that you only need other ingredients in order to balance it out. I grated half a Korean pear, some ginger and garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and green plum syrup.
Let me explain. Green plum syrup/maesil chung * is a Korean product that I use in kimchi, etc. It is a fermented syrup made from green apricot plum extract and brown sugar. Ever since tasting it for the first time several months ago, I’ve become a big fan. I’ve even used it in desserts in place of maple syrup. It’s not as sweet as maple syrup and has a distinct fruity flavor. If you’d like to substitute maple syrup, I would use half the amount and add an equal amount of fresh lemon juice.
As for the Korean pear, you can substitute a ripe, but firm, Bosc or Anjou pear. The flavor and texture of the sauce will still be great. I served this with white rice and my High-Heat-Roasted Baby Bok Choy. Talk about sensational. I think you probably have a good idea how this tasted from the list of ingredients. The sauce is addicting. You don’t need a lot of it. I spooned it on our plates and we used it as a dipping sauce for the pork.
But then I made pork sandwiches with the leftovers and it was fantastic smeared onto baguettes with some of the pork and quick pickled onions and carrots. So, there you have it. Perfectly cooked pork shoulder and a great sauce is one of my go-to meals. You really can’t go wrong.