Braised Pork Shoulder & Kimchi Soup

Pork shoulder is a great cut because it has the right meat-to-fat ratio for a flavorful braised dish. If you can find a whole shoulder, use it to minimize the work, or use already-cut pieces as an option. This dish highlights Korean flavors in a simple kimchi-based braising liquid. This recipe can be made in two stages to accommodate your schedule. You can cook the pork shoulder days ahead and finish the braising on the day it is intended to be served. Its optional accompaniment of spicy tteokbokki (rice cakes) contrasts with and balances the richness. You could also make simple white rice instead.

Braised Pork Shoulder & Kimchi Soup with Spicy Tteokbokki Recipe


1 cup gochujang
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup sweet soy
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
2 tbsp persimmon vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 lb whole pork shoulder
2 qt meat or vegetable stock
4 cups kimchi, rough chopped
Fresh dill, sour cream, scallions, toasted sesame seeds for garnish


  1. Make the marinade ahead by combining all the ingredients except the pork shoulder and braising. Set aside 1/2 cup of the marinade if making the rice cake side dish.
  2. Marinate by evenly spreading the mix on the pork; cover with plastic in a bowl and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large braising pan, bake pork shoulder covered in foil for 2 hours. Let cool before refrigerating if you will finish the braise on a later day.
  4. Otherwise, remove pan from the oven and add stock and kimchi around the pork; cover without foil and braise for another hour.
  5. Serve while still hot and with garnishes and side dish.

Note: If replacing the rice cakes with plain white rice, cook the rice and add the marinade after or omit if preferred plain.

Spicy Tteokbokki

2 cups Korean rice cakes, ready-to-cook.
1/2 cup reserved pork marinade
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Use ready-to-cook or dried. Rice cakes will need special instructions to prepare before cooking, so check the instructions on the packaging. At the end of the previous recipe there is a note to add a sauce as the liquid reduces and the rice cakes are close to done; add the marinade that was made ahead to save time.

Cucumber Salad with Sushi Vinegar & Fresh Dill

Use one package of Kirby cucumbers or seedless cucumbers. Add enough sushi vinegar to marinate the cucumbers for at least 5-10 minutes. Top with fresh dill.

Story, Recipe and Styling by Rafe Vencio / Photography by Dave Bryce 

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