4 Korean Barbeque Must-Haves For Your DIY K-BBQ Experience
You’ve seen it in every Korean drama or movie. You’ve probably seen it in your neighborhood’s Korean restaurant. The mouthwatering sight and the delectable smokiness will no doubt be too much to bear that you’ll end up googling: How do I make Korean Barbeque at home?
Known locally as gogi-gui, the Korean way of grilling your meats is through charcoal grills inlaid into the dining table itself. Bulgogi is the crowd favorite for Korean barbeques. These are slices of beef sirloin or tenderloin cuts that marinated and seared to perfection. Galbi (short ribs) and sagyupsal (grilled pork belly) are also a popular choices.
This DIY method of barbequing your meats with the whole family or your group of friends is a clear characterization of how the Korean dining experience is rooted in the value of sharing. You’re gathered around a hot platter filled with sizzling meats, taking turns in flipping, cooking, and grabbing a bite of your main entree straight from the grill, while munching on numerous side dishes and toasting shot glasses of soju over good conversation. What else could you want!
If you’re planning to host your own Korean barbeque party from the comfort of your homes, you would want to replicate the restaurant experience as close as you can. Here are some Korean barbeque essentials to help you achieve the comforting flavors of Korean-style barbeque.
A ssam, or vegetable-wrapped meat, is an essential food item in the K-Barbeque table. Making it is incredibly easy and fun! Once your meat is cooked, take a lettuce or perilla leaf and place in your meat, a slice of garlic, maybe even a small ball of rice, and a dollop of soybean paste on top, before wrapping it all up and eating it in one bite! There really are no rules in what goes inside your ssam. But the savory ssamjang sauce can complement the smoked flavors of your grilled meats and have you preparing the next ssam excitedly. You can even use it as a standalone dipping sauce.
The side dishes are equally as exciting as the barbeque itself, simply because you have a whole set of small meals to enjoy in front of you. Who would say no to that? The usual banchan set includes kimchi, stir-fried vegetables, seasoned soybeans, pickled radish, potato salad, dried anchovies, Korean pancake, quail eggs, and more. These side dishes are meant to be mixed and matched, instead of eating it all in one go. What you want to do is take a bite of rice, followed by one or two bites of banchan, then a bite of your grilled beef. Enjoy all the flavors and feel free to play with the order of what goes in your mouth!
Apart from the fun way of cooking your meat, what makes Korean-style Barbeque so special lies in the marinade. Smoky and spicy flavors dominate Western-style barbeques. However, most of Korean barbeque sauces are infused with fruit purees like apples and pears, giving you an irresistible blend of sweetness, smokiness, and spiciness in every bite. There are marinades readily available for your choosing depending on your meat or flavor preference: there’s one for beef bulgogi, galbi, a hot and spicy chicken and pork variant, and even a gluten-free option.
Sure, your barbeque must taste good as it is. However, you can add more depth to the smokiness of your grilled beef by dipping it on some good ol’ sesame oil, especially when these aren’t marinated in the first place. What you want to do is add a dash of salt and pepper in your sesame oil to truly heighten the umami flavors from your meats. This is actually one