It’s not often that a recipe comes along that I can eat for multiple days straight. I get easily tired of eating the same thing and am always craving something new – that question about, if you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, leaves me feeling panicked contemplating the possibility. But despite the large quantity of pulled pork made by this recipe, taken from the menu of the famous New York restaurant Momofuku, I found myself wanting even more when I ran out (after 48 hours straight of using it in every meal). The recipe is deceptively simple (though, admittedly, requires some patience), with the shoulder rubbed with salt and sugar, then cooked for hours in low heat, and finally glazed with brown sugar at the very end. The result is moist, tender pork with an addictive salty-sweet crust – I can never resist the salty-sweet combination. For my first few meals, I ate this with a Korean spread reminiscent of how its served in the restaurant, alongside homemade kimchi, a scallion ginger relish (recipe included at the bottom of the post), thinly sliced cucumber, and leaves of butter lettuce (there’s also rice served in the restaurant, but I didn’t find it necessary here). But because the pork itself is so simple, there’s no need to stick to serving it Asian-style – I also had this on a salad with black beans, apples, blue cheese, and a red wine vinaigrette, as well as in a sandwich on crusty French bread. No matter how you serve it, this version of pulled pork is worth cooking up
Momofuku Pulled Pork (adapted from The New York Times)
Yield: 6 – 8 servings
- 1 (4-5 lb) boneless pork shoulder*
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
*Bone-in is fine, too, but will make fewer servings.
- Thoroughly rub 1 (4-5 lb) boneless pork shoulder with 1/2 cup kosher salt and 1/2 cup granulated sugar, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap, place in a pan or bowl, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and preferably overnight.
- When ready to cook the pork shoulder, preheat oven 300 °F.
- Unwrap the pork shoulder, brush off any salt or sugar, and rinse briefly in cold water.
- Place the pork in a roasting pan, and cook until it collapses, yielding easily to a fork, about 5 – 6 hours, basting hourly with the pan juices.
- Just before serving, preheat oven to 500 °F.
- Rub the cooked pork with 1/4 cup brown sugar, then bake until the sugar has melted and is bubbling, forming a caramel crust, about 10 – 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven, and serve hot, with scallion ginger relish (recipe below), kimchi, rice, and lettuce
Scallion Ginger Relish (adapted from The New York Times)
Yield: approximately 2 cups
- 6 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
- 2″ piece fresh ginger, minced
- 2 Tbsp neutral oil*
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp rice vinegar**
*Grapeseed oil is recommended by the original recipe, but I was just fine with the basic vegetable oil I had on hand.
**The original recipe calls for sherry vinegar, so feel free to use that if you have it around.
In a small bowl, combine 6 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced, 2″ piece fresh ginger, minced, 2 Tbsp neutral oil, 1 tsp soy sauce, and 1/2 tsp rice vinegar, and mix well. Taste, and adjust ingredients, if needed.