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Which beef cut to substitute into today's NYT recipe for Bo Ssam (slow-roasted Korean pork shoulder)?

fmogul Jan 13, 2012 08:31 AM

This recipe in today's NYT looks amazing -- and amazingly easy. What do you think: can we make something reasonably close, and kosher?


I really don't know my beef cuts all that well. I get the same few, when I get meat at all. Anyone knowledgeable out there have any ideas for a substitution? Shoulder for shoulder -- or something else?

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  1. bagelman01 RE: fmogul Jan 13, 2012 09:27 AM

    I have just read the recipe and suggest you use 2nd cut brisket or top of the rib for this. The key to the recipe is that the meat should collapse upon itself after 6 hours pf slow cooking. The deckle cut of brisket or top of the rib will shread or pull after that long cooking and still be moist.

    Stay away from shoulder roast, rib roast or any dense lean beef, They will not collapse or shread after long slow cooking as they don't render out enough fat to collapse and fill the void.

    This sugar/sweetness of this recipe reminds me of the 70s when we would make apricot candied corned beef to carve on cocktail rye during the shmorg hour at affairs. It always would shread or pull after hours at low heat, but was delicious.

    10 Replies
    1. re: bagelman01
      SoCal Mother RE: bagelman01 Jan 13, 2012 11:47 AM

      I second the suggestion. We have had "pulled pork" made from deckle or 2nd cut brisket (not sure if they are the same cut!) and it worked fine.

      1. re: SoCal Mother
        weinstein5 RE: SoCal Mother Jan 13, 2012 12:09 PM

        I always thought the deckle was the 1st cut of the brisket - the smaller piece on top of the 2nd cut - usually less fatty - but I agree I have used both for 'pulled pork' style barbecue

        1. re: weinstein5
          SoCal Mother RE: weinstein5 Jan 13, 2012 12:27 PM

          Dunno. I just know that I like 2nd cut brisket the best.

          1. re: SoCal Mother
            larry321 RE: SoCal Mother Jan 13, 2012 12:44 PM

            Breast of veal with bone pulled out?

          2. re: weinstein5
            ganeden RE: weinstein5 Jan 15, 2012 08:28 AM

            I think you have them confused. The "2nd cut" or "point" is the smaller piece with the grain running across the width of it, so that slicing it into legthwise pieces is across the grain, whereas the "1st cut" or "flat" is sliced across the grain by cutting along the width, widthwise slices. The 2nd cut has more collagen, takes a longer time to cook, but ultimately is often the piece that comes out more tender, simply because there is more that melts away around the individual muscle fibers.

        2. re: bagelman01
          cowboyardee RE: bagelman01 Jan 13, 2012 12:54 PM

          I'm puzzled by your warning not to use a shoulder roast. Unless I'm just using different terminology than you are, I'd say that chuck/shoulder pulls about as easily as any other cut of beef, and is generally a bit cheaper, more readily available, and a bit easier to work with than 2nd cut brisket (2nd cut brisket will also work - I'm not claiming otherwise).

          A meat's ability to 'pull' has a little bit to do with its fat content but a lot more to do with is collagen content, btw. It's more gelatin than fat that makes pulled meat taste moist.

          1. re: cowboyardee
            scubadoo97 RE: cowboyardee Jan 13, 2012 03:09 PM

            I was thinking chuck which I use for pulled beef when smoking.

            1. re: cowboyardee
              bagelman01 RE: cowboyardee Jan 15, 2012 05:47 AM

              This is not about pulling. The recipe says that the cut of meat will collapse upon itself after 6 hours of slow cooking. That's why I recommend a fatty cut such as brisket. The fat renders out and the meat collapses. Those who mentioned breast of veal are only recommending brisket from a calf not a mature steer or cow.
              I have found that a shoulder roast of any size (such as a shoulder clod) dries out terribly when subjected to long cooking times, even in liquid and don't suggest it.
              I did not consider cost when answering the OP's question. If the OP wanted to ask what is the cheapest cut I could use to make this recipe, then it should be a consideration.
              I do find brisket to be as readilly available as shoulder roasts, sometimes more available. Shoulder is often cut into steaks (such as London Broil) stew meat or ground with other chuck. Brisket is generally sold as roasts.

              1. re: bagelman01
                cowboyardee RE: bagelman01 Jan 15, 2012 02:08 PM

                "The recipe says that the cut of meat will collapse upon itself after 6 hours of slow cooking. That's why I recommend a fatty cut such as brisket. The fat renders out and the meat collapses."
                In any of these meats, there is a lot more fat surrounding the cut than there is intramuscular fat. What causes a 'collapse' is a breakdown of connective tissue within the meat along with a general shortening of muscle fibers. At any rate, my though is that when making ssam, the important thing is how readily the meat pulls apart, how moist and tender it is, not so much the extent to which a roast caves in on itself.

                "I have found that a shoulder roast of any size (such as a shoulder clod) dries out terribly when subjected to long cooking times, even in liquid and don't suggest it."
                That has not been my observation. Honestly, I don't know why you've had this problem. Unless you've been thrown off by admittedly confusing and variable use of the term 'london broil.' See below.

                "I do find brisket to be as readilly available as shoulder roasts, sometimes more available. Shoulder is often cut into steaks (such as London Broil) stew meat or ground with other chuck."
                Local market differences apply, of course, and the OP is encouraged to use whatever is readily available in his or her area. However, where I am, London broil is generally top round. Which would not braise or pull well at all. I don't know whether the London broil you've had is also top round, but if that's the case, and you've mistaken that for chuck or shoulder meat, then I'm not surprised you think beef shoulder doesn't braise well. We might be talking about different cuts.

                1. re: cowboyardee
                  bagelman01 RE: cowboyardee Jan 15, 2012 05:13 PM

                  No where I am London Broil is shoulder, top round is not generally available as kosher beef in the USA. This is not to say I don't see top round labelled as London Broil in the regular supermarkets, but this is the Kosher Board

          2. b
            brooklynkoshereater RE: fmogul Jan 14, 2012 06:21 PM

            i second the veal recommendation. i've substituted veal for pork in many other recipes, very successfully.

            1 Reply
            1. re: brooklynkoshereater
              scubadoo97 RE: brooklynkoshereater Jan 14, 2012 07:37 PM

              the other white meat. I like veal too and used it recently in a posole instead of pork

            2. s
              shoelace RE: fmogul Jan 14, 2012 10:27 PM

              if this looks good to you, get his cookbook, i got it as a gift from a non-kosher friend and use it all the time

              he has a recipe for wings that is insane

              3 Replies
              1. re: shoelace
                brooklynkoshereater RE: shoelace Jan 15, 2012 07:40 PM

                more info on the wings?

                1. re: brooklynkoshereater
                  queenscook RE: brooklynkoshereater Jan 15, 2012 08:13 PM

                  Just google it; it's all over the 'net.

                  1. re: brooklynkoshereater
                    shoelace RE: brooklynkoshereater Jan 16, 2012 06:18 AM


                    they say to dry the wings after bringing them, its essential, so dont skip the step

                    also i dont fry them, i bake them, on a cookie sheet, 20-25 minutes at 425

                2. b
                  belsha RE: fmogul Jan 15, 2012 09:58 AM

                  If you want to eat kosher, the problem with this recipe is not what to replace the pork with.

                  The problem is what to replace the raw oysters with, that come into the cabbage wrap in the end. To me, the combination of the hot, crispy, sweet pork, with the cold, moist and salty oysters is the pure stroke of genius! An unheard taste for me as of yet, but one I definitively have to trie!

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: belsha
                    bagelman01 RE: belsha Jan 15, 2012 12:04 PM

                    you can try to use cerviche instead of the oysters, a salt water fish is best, preferably not a bland white flesh

                    1. re: bagelman01
                      gotcholent RE: bagelman01 Jan 15, 2012 12:46 PM

                      not really as the prohibition is also against meat and fish together...tis a hard one to get around (remember the Worcestershire sauce issues that always came up?)

                      1. re: gotcholent
                        bagelman01 RE: gotcholent Jan 15, 2012 05:15 PM

                        As I recall the worcestshire sauce issues involved cooking. Here the cerviche ie already processed via citrus, not cooking and served with a fionished meat product. You are not cooking fish or meat in the other's pot. I'm no posek and I wpouldn't be making this dish, so it's all acedemic.

                        1. re: bagelman01
                          queenscook RE: bagelman01 Jan 15, 2012 08:21 PM

                          It's a pretty well accepted halacha not to eat fish and meat together, cooked or not. Some are very careful to separate fish (like gefilte fish at the beginning of the shabbat meal) from the meat that comes later, by having bread and a drink. This is one reason given for those who have the minhag to have a l'chaim between the fish appetizer and the meat main course.

                          Others are less strict, but almost everyone changes, or at least wipes off or rinses, the fork used for fish before eating meat.

                          1. re: queenscook
                            bagelman01 RE: queenscook Jan 16, 2012 04:30 AM

                            I'm not questioning the halacha and this board is NOT the place to discuss It. The OP asked about a substitute for the pork which was discussed, a later poster asked about a substitute for the oyster which I suggested. I NEVER advocated the consumption of the dish, as they say ask your LOR...................

                            1. re: bagelman01
                              fmogul RE: bagelman01 Jan 16, 2012 07:18 PM

                              As the OP, let me just say that the idea of mixing oysters into this, even if I DID eat oysters (and I used to, about 25 years ago), is yuck. Just doesn't appeal to me at all. And while I love ceviche, that's no more appealing to me, either, though I appreciate the creativity, halachic issues notwithstanding. The magazine write-up characterizes the oyster 'mix-in' as optional, anyway, not a sine qua non, so doesn't seem like much of a loss.

                              But any thread on this board worth its salt (so to speak) has to have at least SOME dust-up over halacha, so I'm glad we got it out of the way ;-)

                              1. re: fmogul
                                belsha RE: fmogul Jan 16, 2012 09:59 PM

                                No, it's the oysters that make this recipe just pure genius!
                                Unheard of combination, but completely logical and complementary!

                    2. re: belsha
                      twyst RE: belsha Jan 16, 2012 06:28 AM

                      Ive made this recipe at least a dozen times since the momofuku cookbook came out and after the first few times I just omitted the oysters and the dish was still fantastic.

                    3. t
                      teachermom RE: fmogul Jan 15, 2012 02:04 PM

                      I was thinking the same thing as I read the recipe! Thanks for posting this question.

                      1. letsindulge RE: fmogul Jan 15, 2012 02:48 PM

                        I think a 7-Bone Chuck Roast, or Boneless Short Ribs would work real nice in this recipe. Both would cook down fork-tender.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: letsindulge
                          ospreycove RE: letsindulge Jan 16, 2012 04:59 AM

                          The original Chang recipe uses a bone-in cut of the Boston Butt, shoulder or whole Picnic, all the same cut of Pork, just different names. In substituting beef I would think any Chuck roast, 7 bone roast, etc would make a reasonable substitute, as long as it is a little fatty, but bone-in is important to the dish and the "low and slow" cooking method is also very important as the fat will melt away and the connective tissue will breakdown only at a very low temp.

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