Spicy Korean Smoked Pork Barbecue
The South's Best Butts
While Atlanta might not be one of the so-called barbecue capitals of the South, there is damn fine BBQ to be found around the city, and some of the best is at Heirloom Market BBQ, were chefs Cody Taylor and Jiyeon Lee make this Southern-meets-Korean barbecued pork. It’s sweet and spicy and full of swoon-inducing flavors thanks to gochujang, gochugaru, Sriracha, and sweet chile paste, and infused with smoke for another layer of deliciousness. Serve it on potato buns with kimchi slaw, pickles, and extra (addictive) KB sauce.
Note: They use a blend of Georgia oak and hickory wood to smoke their meat at the restaurant, so follow their lead if you’re not sure what type of wood chips you want to use. You can find gochujang and gochugaru (Korean red chile paste and Korean red chili flakes, respectively) at many supermarkets and in Asian markets, or you can purchase them online.
Try the kimchi slaw outlined in our Kimchi Chicken Burger recipe on top of the pulled pork, and if you can’t get enough heat, have our Kimchi Potato Salad recipe on the side. And read about Chef Lee’s past as a K-Pop star.
For the pork:
- 2 cups gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
- 1 cup sweet chili sauce (such as Mae Ploy)
- 1 cup Sriracha chili sauce
- 3/4 cup KB Sauce plus more for serving
- 1 (8-pound) boneless pork butt (Boston butt), excess fat removed, cut into 1-inch-thick pieces
- wood chips
- 1/2 cup sliced scallions
- 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
For the KB sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3/4 cup lemon-lime soft drink (such as Sprite)
- 2 teaspoons gochujang (Korean red chile paste)
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
To make the KB sauce:
1Combine the water, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and soy sauce in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Stir in the soft drink, gochujang, and sesame oil. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week. Makes 2 1/4 cups of sauce.
To make the pork:
1Stir together the gochugaru, sweet chili sauce, Sriracha, and 3/4 cup KB Sauce in a large bowl. Add the pork; toss to coat. Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight.
2Remove the pork from marinade; discard marinade. Pat pork dry.
3Prepare smoker according to manufacturer’s instructions with an area cleared of coals to create an indirect heat area, bringing internal temperature to 225°F; maintain temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. Place wood chips on coals. Arrange the marinated pork in a single layer on grill rack over indirect heat. Cover with smoker lid. Smoke the pork, maintaining temperature inside smoker at 225°F, until pork is tender and a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers at least 145°F, about 4 hours.
4Remove the pork from smoker; let stand 10 minutes. Cut into small cubes. Drizzle with additional KB Sauce. Sprinkle with the scallions and sesame seeds. Serve in sandwiches or over rice.
Excerpted from The South’s Best Butts by Matt Moore. Copyright © 2017 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Time Inc. New York, NY. All rights reserved.
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