Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cooking Momofuku pork buns

We were cooking with friends this weekend, so I decided to make David Chang's signature dish - Momofuku pork buns.

First off, I couldn't find pork belly at either Wegman's or Whole Foods, but thank goodness for the Amish market. I got a great thick piece of pork belly there and set it up to brine overnight in a solution of water, salt and sugar.

I followed David Chang's recipe on epicurious, which was actually different than the one in his cookbook. The one online was brined in liquid as opposed to dry-rubbed in the cookbook, and the meat is kept in the juices throughout the whole process, so I figured maybe we'd end up with juicier pork.

After brining for 12 hours, I set to roasting the pork belly - fat side up - in a low temperature oven - 250 degrees for 2 1/2 hours. Then you turn the heat up to 450 and continue baking uncovered for 1/2 hour to crisp the fat.

Next the whole thing is chilled. This let me skim off the fat from the juices, plus it makes the pork much easier to slice.

After cutting into slices, you keep the slices in the juice, then right before serving, reheat covered in the oven.

Chang also had a recipe for the steamed buns, but I wasn't ambitious enough to try those yet. Instead, I bought buns from the Asian market, and steamed them while the pork was reheating.

Finally last step is assembling - hoisin sauce, pork, cucumbers and scallions. Delicious!

Post by fougoo, photos by 1000yregg


theminx said...

That looks fantastic - just like the real thing! What did it taste like? Was it worth doing? Would you do it again? And one more question - which Asian market?

fougoo said...

Yes, the pork was fabulous - I thought they tasted like the real thing! Definitely worth doing - the pork was very easy to prepare!

I think the hard part is the making the buns from scratch, but if you read the Momofuku cookbook, David Chang is in love with the buns at a Chinese restaurant in NYC and when he goes to the chef there to ask for the recipe, the chef admits that he buys the buns in bulk from a place in Flushing or someplace like that! So David Chang actually goes out to that place and finds out how to make them, and devises his own recipe.

But all that is to say that just like dried pasta isn't all bad, I think if you find good locally made store-bought buns you're ok. I got mine at the Asian Food Market in Plainsboro - the buns were in the refrigerated section, not frozen, and I think they came from New York.

Good luck!