Do-It-Yourself Korean BBQ

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Author: tess
Date: 6-14-10
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Craving Korean BBQ and want to give it a try at home? Below are the components of a Korean BBQ meal, starting with the core stuff, like meat. Don't feel pressured to incorporate all of the parts, though I would say the first three are pretty critical.


First you need some sort of BBQ meat. You could go with kalbi or beef short rib, which is the classic. You could mix it up by using Kalbi marinade on different types of meat, like pork or chicken. It's nice to have more than one type of meat, and a favorite among Koreans is the fatty samgyeopsal or Korean bacon. You can pre-grill the meat outside on a BBQ, or to really recreate the Korean restaurant experience, you can use a portable tabletop burner.


You must be, by now, familiar with the lettuce wrapper known as sangchu ssam. This is where you take a piece of meat, some other stuff of your choosing, sauce, etc and wrap it up. You may not be as familiar with using perilla leaves (깻잎 kaetnip) as the wrapper - they are not as large, but wonderfully flavorful and a nice addition. You can also even use a perilla leaf within a lettuce leaf. My personal favorite is the thin square rice wrappers (duk bo sam), which so far I have only experienced in LA Korean restaurants -- they often sell these in Korean grocery stores.


You have the meat in a vegetable wrapper ... now you really need a daub of sauce to give it some kick. Everyone has their own version of ssamjang - literal translation: wrapping paste. Try out the one hyperlinked, or go all out for the deluxe ssamjang recipe. Or if you're in a rush, just use some red pepper paste (gochujang) mixed up with soybean paste (doenjang) and a dash of sesame oil.


It's common to throw some other veggies on the grill, like onions, mushrooms and whole garlic cloves. They pick up the flavor off the fat of the meat and get really delicious. Oftentimes, there will also be a sort of seasoned salad made up mostly of slivered green onions. This is very easy to prepare - just julienne a bunch of green onions and sprinkle some seasoned soy sauce - yangnyeom ganjang - on top and toss. If you're using roasted garlic or the julienned green onions, you can add that into your ssam, or wrap. With the other stuff, like grilled mushrooms and onions, you can just eat those off the grill. They're meant more as accompanying sides.


If you're going to have one side dish to eat this with, you know what that MUST be --  kimchi. Here's a recipe for full-blown baechu kimchi (cabbage kimchi) or a shortcut version - baechu gutjuri. If you have loads of time I might recommend a few other banchan, like sigumchi namul - seasoned spinach, or gochu jjangachi - pickled peppers.


Soups and stews are a big part of Korean meals. I like a simple fermented bean paste soup - doenjang jjigae - to accompany this meal, or if you're craving spice, then a kimchi jjigae or soondubu jjigae should suffice.

Now sit down and enjoy ... and don't think about all of those dishes you're going to have to wash.

Your rating: None Average: 4.4 (8 votes)