Momofuku Bo Ssam in the Instant Pot

March 2, 2020  •  Meat & Poultry, Technique

Here’s how this all started: my best friend from college once made this recipe for me on a Vermont winter getaway. I recently had a half hog delivered from my friend’s farm, and that included several butts, legs, roasts. I pulled the Bo Ssam recipe the week before I went to Las Vegas. And then karma struck – on the day of a blizzard in Denver, The NY Times cooking newsletter suggested making Momofuku Bo Ssam for dinner. Recipe, check. Pork picnic roast, check. Looking for something to do on a snowy afternoon, check. And that’s how I ended up adapting the Momofuku recipe for the Instant Pot.I personally use my Instant Pot almost exclusively to pressure cook things that take longer to become tender like Cochinita Pibil, Leg of Lamb, Lamb Shoulder, Mole, or Pork Hocks. I’ve only done one or two recipes like Beef and Broccoli to test out other settings, so if you’re new to the Instant Pot, you might like this cooking guide that a fellow blogger over at Instapot Life shared with me: Momofuku recipe is legendary, and delicious – but it’s a multi day project. I only had 6 hours total, and was starting with a frozen roast. Plus the more I read about David Chang’s recipe, the more concerned I was that it was going to be far too salty. So I made these simple changes:

1. I put the sugar and salt rub on the frozen roast, wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap, and let it sit on the counter for a couple of hours to partially defrost.

2. Next I submerged the whole thing into a large bowl of water and let it sit for another two hours to brine a little more, rinsing off all of the sugar and salt rub in the process.

3. I used the Instant Pot on pressure cooker setting, including water under the rack and using just a tiny bit of the residual sugar and salt from the brining bowl on the roast.

4. After the roast was tender in the Instant Pot, I roughly shredded the meat, removing large chunks of fat, poured a bit of the broth from the Instant Pot over the meat on a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkled brown sugar on top, and broiled it for just a few minutes.The result was perfection in just six hours instead of two days. I promise this stuff is addictive, and you won’t be able to stop eating the leftovers until you’ve polished them off entirely, savoring every single drop of pork fat on your lips in the process.

4.5 from 2 reviews
Momofuku Bo Ssam in the Instant Pot
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Adapted from David Chang's Momofuku Bo Ssam
Serves: 6-8
To Brine the Pork
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 boneless pork picnic roast (about 4 pounds)
Ginger Scallion Sauce
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup minced fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
Ssam Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Asian bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon Chile garlic paste
  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cup grapeseed oil
To Finish
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • Cooked white rice
  • Lettuce leaves (Bibb or Romaine work well)
  1. Mix the sugar and salt together and coat the pork in the mixture. Wrap tightly and rest for two hours. (If frozen, leave on the counter; if thawed, leave in the refrigerator). After two hours put the pork along with all of the salt and sugar into a large bowl and cover with cold water; rest for two hours (on the counter if frozen, in the refrigerator if thawed).
  2. Place the rack in the bottom of the Instant Pot and then add 1½ cups of water. Remove the pork from the brining solution, and scoop up about ¼ cup of the residual sugar and salt from the water to rub over the meat before you place it on the rack in the Instant Pot. Cover, close, and pressure cook on high for 1 hour; let steam escape naturally which will take about ½ hour.
  3. While the pork is cooking, make the Scallion Sauce and the Ssam Sauce by combining all of the ingredients for each sauce in a small covered container; set aside.
  4. After the meat has cooked, test it for tenderness; if it's still tough, pressure cook again on the high setting for an additional 20-30 minutes then let the steam escape manually.
  5. Remove the meat from the Instant Pot to a cutting board and shred/chop, discarding any chunks of fat. Spread the shredded pork onto a rimmed baking sheet and pour about ½ cup of the reserved broth from the Instant Pot over the meat, then sprinkle the brown sugar over the top. Broil on high until the sugar melts and starts to brown, about 3 minutes, taking care not to burn the meat and sugar. Remove from the oven and drizzle the meat with the desired about of Ssam Sauce.
  6. To serve, place rice into lettuce leaves, then add some pork and top with the Scallion Sauce.


6 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Cathy says:

    Thanks for saving my roast. I had started with the recipe from NewYork Times but my oven became uncooperative. I found you and you saved the day! Dinner was a success.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Great adaptation! I wish I found this before I tried the oven method. I am giving this a shot.

  3. Irene says:

    You’re a lifesaver! I forgot to put my roast in the oven before running errands and finishing my Christmas shopping ‍♀️ and knew the only way to cook it fast was to find an instant pot version online. Thank you!!!

  4. Corinne Garrett says:

    What I love about this recipe aside from it being faster is that it uses a 4-lb roast instead of an 8-10 lb roast!! Leftovers are one thing: enough for 8 more meals is another… Thanks for scaling down time and content!

  5. Rosalind Remer says:

    Thanks for this method! Question: if I do the 24-hour dry brine, and then just pressure cook as you direct, without the soaking, do you think that would work? I ask because I’ve done the oven method in the past and it doesn’t come out too salty. Thanks!

    • Michele says:

      When I did the dry brine for my turkey this year, I did not remove the salt before cooking it. I just patted it dry and brushed off any extra salt on the outside. I think if you do that with the meat for this, it should be OK. Let me know how it turns out!

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