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Korean-Inspired Pork Shoulder

Renée Robinson

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.

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that, at no additional cost to you, may pay me a small commission and help support the costs of this website. Read full privacy policy here.

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Korean-Inspired Pork Shoulder

Recipe by Renée Robinson



Slow roasted pork shoulder couldn't be more simple. Add a Korean-inspired sauce and you've got a sensational meal. Gochujang, garlic and ginger, grated Asian pear, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil cook for a few minutes and your sauce is made. Easy and absolutely delicious!

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  • 5 pounds bone-in Boston butt roast

  • 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil

  • Kosher salt

  • Black pepper

  • 1/2 large Korean/Asian pear, peeled and grated or 1 medium Bosc pear (ripe, but firm), grated

  • 2 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and grated

  • 3 tablespoons Kikkoman soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons gochujang *

  • 1 tablespoon plum syrup/maesil chung * or 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup and 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

  • 1/4 teaspoon Morton kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon roasted sesame oil

  • Toasted sesame seeds


  • Preheat oven to 250° with a rack in the center. Heat a large Dutch oven (I used a 7 quart size) over medium heat. While the pot is heating, salt and pepper all sides of the pork. When the pot is hot, add the oil. It should ripple immediately. Place the pork butt into the hot pan, fat side down. Cook for 5 minutes (the cooked side should be nicely browned at this point) and flip it to another side, continuing in this manner, cooking for 4 - 5 minutes on each side until all 6 sides of the roast are browned, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent it from burning. Turn the meat fat side up in the pot, place it in the oven and cook, uncovered, for about 6 -7 hours. You will know it’s done when you can stick a fork into the meat, twist it, and you have very little resistance. The meat should be more or less falling apart. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes.
  • While the pork is baking, make the sauce. In a medium saucepan, stir together the pear, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, gochujang, plum syrup, rice vinegar, and salt. Cook over medium heat for about 10 - 15 minutes, until the pear is softened and the sauce is nicely thickened. Stir in the sesame oil. Pour the sauce into a serving bowl and sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top.
  • Depending on your preference, either break the pork into chunks or shred it. Spoon off the excess fat from the roasting pot and spoon the pan juices over the meat. Serve with the sauce on the side and Enjoy!

6 Responses

  1. Made this tonight for dinner and it was tasty. Will be making again, definitely a keeper. Made the rice and bok choy with it as mentioned and those were great complements. Also used mild gochujung and that worked well for our tastes.

    1. I’m thrilled you liked it, too! You just really can’t go wrong with a pork shoulder, can you? Thank you so much for letting me know!

  2. I’m doing this one
    My friend is using kimchi and really likes the addition to her meals
    Wait until I show her this recipe!
    Your the Best Renee thank you

    1. Oh, I love kimchi, too, Marilyn. This recipe is really delicious. Tell your friend that I served it with kimchi. It’s so good to hear from you, my friend!!

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