If you are someone like me who loves playing around with international flavors, I strongly recommend giving Korean BBQ a try this summer. You may have heard of this popular dish. Korean BBQ has grown in popularity over the past few years amongst non-Korean people, but If you still don’t know what it is, let me explain.
In Korean BBQ, meats—such as beef, chicken, and pork—are typically served raw and ready to be cooked. A small grill is placed in the center of the dinner table and dinner guests can partake in grilling their own meats. This method of grilling has been adopted in restaurants and people's homes as they look for unique dining experiences.
The best way to enjoy Korean BBQ is to prepare rice, several side dishes, marinated meat, and lettuce. Each guest can grill their own meat, then dip it in the sauce. Place the meat, some rice, and a mouthful of the side dish in the center of the lettuce, wrap it up like a taco, and enjoy it. It’s healthy, fun, and insanely delicious.
What makes a Korean BBQ different from a regular American-style BBQ is its distinct bold flavors. To get the most flavor out of your meat, marinating is the way to go. I suggest marinating your meat overnight for the best flavor. According to Bon Appetit: Korean Comfort Food edition, gochujang and shilgochu are two popular ingredients you can use to marinate. Gochujang is fermented red pepper paste that is both spicy and sweet and can be added to fried rice, stir-fries, and marinades. Shilgochu is chile threads that are used to garnish meat dishes and noodle soups. You can find these ingredients in most Asian supermarkets. I have also included a recipe from Fine Cooking Grilling along with a ssamjang sauce that I am sure you’ll enjoy.
Korean BBQ Beef Short Ribs (Kalbi)
For the Short Ribs
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce
- 6 tablespoons apple or Asian pear juice
- 1/4 cup Asian sesame oil
- 4 medium cloves garlic smashed
- 4 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger (from a 2-inch piece)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds 1/2-inch-thick cross-cut, bone-in short ribs (flanken)
- Vegetable oil as needed
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions both white and green parts (about 2 medium)
- Big pinch of Korean chile threads or 2 tablespoons of thinly sliced fresh long red chiles
- 1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds
- 18 lettuce leaves such as green or red leaf, washed and dried
- 4 cups cooked white rice preferably short-grain
- Ssamjang recipe included below
To Marinate the Short Ribs
- In a large bowl, combine the sugar, soy sauce, apple juice, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the short ribs, and using your hands, massage the marinade into the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 and up to 12 hours.
To Grill the Short Ribs
- Prepare a hot (450°F) charcoal or gas grill fire. Clean and lightly oil the grill grate.
- Remove the short ribs from the marinade and let any excess drip off; discard the marinade. Grill the short ribs, flipping once until done to your liking, about 4 minutes total for medium-rare. Transfer to a serving platter.
- Garnish the meat with scallions, chile threads, and sesame seeds. Serve with lettuce, rice, and ssamjang, cutting the bones from the meat with kitchen shears before eating.
- To eat, put a small spoonful of rice inside a lettuce leaf, dab it with some sauce, and top with a piece of the beef. Wrap and eat.
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions both white and green parts (about 4 medium)
- 3 tablespoons dwenjang fermented soybean paste or red miso
- 2-1/2 tablespoons gochujang red chile paste
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 2 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
- In a small bowl, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients.
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Photographer and Content Creator
Camila Pesantez is the owner of @camipphotography. She is a wedding, portrait, and fashion photographer based in New England. She loves capturing authentic, candid, fun, and spontaneous moments. In her spare time, Camila enjoys singing and serving at her local church, cooking, and spending time with friends.
What sparked your passion for the industry?
The creativity behind it. It’s what I use to express my creativity and feel free to express myself through it. The photography world is so diverse and the possibilities are endless.
Cake or Pie? Why?
Pie because it has a lot of texture and moisture and reminds me of a nice cozy fall day at home.
Favorite dish to cook at home?
Vegan meat pasta. I have my own recipe, and I make it at least twice a month