Pulled Pork with Korean BBQ Sauce


I started writing this blog more than four years ago (where did the time go?). At first, it was meant to be a way for me to share recipes with friends, something I was doing all the time anyway. With the blog I would be able to put them down in one place and just tell them “the recipe is on the blog” (which I now do, all the time). The idea was that I would only post recipes that were exceptional, five-star, why-did-nobody-tell-me-about-this-before kind of recipes. I would only post the recipes I found myself going back to again and again because they were relatively easy but the results were remarkable.

Pretty soon, however, the blog took an additional role. It became a kind of writing exercise for me and I began to write about more than the food. Sometimes it was about things that happened at that point in time in my life, but more often they were childhood memories. With every added candle on my birthday cake, these childhood memories popped up more often in my head but also started to feel slippery, ready to fade away. So the blog helped solidify them and became a kind of memoire. This also meant that there was more urgency to find and test a new recipe every week or two.


I told Steve when I started the blog that I would continue to write in it only until it started becoming a burden. When I would begin to feel that coming up with recipes and stories was a chore, I would end it.

I’m not quite there yet but I feel that the time may be coming soon when the urge to write diminishes and the pressure to write overwhelms. So, my postings will become less frequent for now. I will go back to posting only when I have a recipe that is a must-share, or if there’s a story I really want to put down. At some point I may stop altogether but probably not anytime soon.

So here’s today’s must-have recipe. Melissa Clark posted this in the New York Times, along with a video, and from the moment we made it, it was clear it would be on constant rotation in our home. We have made it multiple times and have served it to friends on more than one occasion. It’s actually very easy to make and the result is mouth watering, tender pork that you can serve in buns or over rice or any way you want. If you go ahead and try it, I promise you will not regret it.


Pulled Port with Korean BBQ Sauce – Adapted from the NY Times

Makes 8-10 servings

Note: You can\ skip making the Korean bbq sauce but instead use any of your favorite bbq sauce, or make this super-easy 2-minute bbq sauce. Also, if you don’t have a slow cooker, you can make it in a pressure cooker. Go to the original recipe page where Melissa describes the process.



5 garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane or minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
1 tablespoon Korean chile flakes (gochugaru) (you can use other chile flakes, like Maras, Aleppo or crushed red pepper, but be careful to adjust the amount since they vary in heat)
1 tablespoon kosher salt, more to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4.5-5 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into two or three pieces

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane
1-2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
⅓ cup gochujang (Korean chile paste)
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil


To prepare pork, combine garlic, brown sugar, chile flakes, salt and pepper in a small bowl using a fork. Rub the mixture all over pork. Preferably, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to up to 24 hours. Otherwise, proceed with recipe.

On a hot skillet (or a removable slow cooker pot that go on the stove) over medium high heat, sear pork in batches until browned all over, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the pork to the slow cooker pot  and add 3/4 cup water, cover, and cook in slow cooker on high for 5 to 7 hours until tender.

While pork cooks, prepare sauce: In a small pot, warm vegetable oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, and sauté until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Set sauce aside. (It can be made up to 1 week ahead and stored in the refrigerator.)

Let pork cool until you can handle it, then shred it into bite-size pieces, removing any pieces of fat. Pork can be made to this point up to 3 days ahead.

While pork cools, strain liquid from bottom of pot. Pour off fat (or chill liquid, then scoop off solidified fat with a spoon). Toss a couple of tablespoons with shredded pork to moisten it (save the rest of the liquid to make Japanese style noodles in broth).

Serve pork over rice or on slider rolls, topped with bbq sauce and with pickles and kimchi, if desired.

Korean Beef Stir Fry


I never jumped on the Sriracha bandwagon. I know that everyone loves putting it on top of and inside everything but I’ve always found it a little too bland flavor-wise and too aggressive heat-wise. I have a bottle in the fridge but I rarely use it. So, I was happy to start seeing articles this year about the “new Sriracha,” the “hottest ingredient,” the “sauce of 2016,” all of them referring to gochujang, which I’ve used and loved for a while now.DSC04861 Gochujang comes from Korea. It’s a condiment made traditionally with fermented soybeans, red chili, glutinous rice, and salt. It’s the stuff they put on bibimbap, if you’ve ever had it. It’s medium to very spicy (depending on the brand), mildly sweet and earthy. It’s the kind of condiment you taste and taste again and every time you discover something else in its flavor profile. There are several brands in the U.S. and you can find it at most grocery stores. I really like the Mother In Law’s Kim Chi brand of of sesame gochujang (in the photo above). But I’ve used other brands and all have been good. DSC05111

While you can use gochujang with pretty much anything, it pairs really well with beef. In this recipe, I make a quick marinade for thinly sliced skirt steak and put it in the fridge up to 8 hours, or leave it for 30 minutes on the countertop. Then I stir fry it quickly in a hot pan and it’s done. You can serve it on rice or noodles (in the photo below it lies on top of rice noodles) and add whatever you might have as an accompaniment: sliced carrots or cucumbers, mint leaves, red onion slices, and pretty much anything pickled (in the photo below, I added some pickled yellow beets). It makes a quickly prepared but really satisfying meal.

And if you are one of the many Sriracha fans, I saw a gochujang-flavored Sriracha bottle at the store the other day, though I’ll be sticking to plain gochujang for us.


Korean Beef Stir Fry


1 lb skirt steak, sliced into thin strips against the grain
1 tablespoon gochujang
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely grated
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Combine gochujang, ginger, garlic, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, maple syrup, and soy sauce in a small bowl and mix until combined. Place thinly sliced beef in a large resealable plastic bag (or a medium bowl) and pour marinade on top. Using your hands, massage meat to make sure it’s all coated with marinate. Let sit at room temperature 30 minutes, or chill up to 8 hours.

Heat 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high until oil is shimmering. Remove half of meat from marinade, letting excess drip back into bag, and cook in a single layer without moving until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Toss meat and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil and remaining meat.

Serve over rice or noodles. Top with any combination of the following: sliced carrots (pickled or not), sliced cucumbers, slices of red onion (pickled or not), mint leaves, and other pickled vegetable.