Have you enjoyed a Korean barbecue at a restaurant and loved the ceremony of sharing the cooking with your friends who can cook their own meal and choose the marinated beef, pork, chicken, ribs and other items to their taste? It is rather like a fondue meal, which is still quite popular in Europe (see the recent image from Geneva).
Have you wondered whether you can share a Korean Barbecue at home with family and friends in an outdoor setting, or even indoor with an electric grill?
Well it is quite easy to do. What you need is some great recipes for the marinades, side dishes and ingredients which are provided below.
You also need a small barbecue that can be set up on an outdoor table or bench so that your guests can enjoy the social experience of cooking their own food and enjoying the delights of Korean tastes and textures. Once again it is very similar to a Fondue.
This article provides a simple guide to preparing a Korean Barbecue for your next dinner party with family and friends.
It includes recipes for the meat, marinades, sauces and side dishes you need and some options for small charcoal barbecues and other tiny grill cookers that can be set on tables or benches in outdoor areas.
Enjoy Korean barbecues at home!
There are many options for Korean barbecues and it is up to you to use your own initiative and to find cooking method that will work at your place.
I would suggest four options: a tiny portable charcoal barbecue, a revitalised Fondue cooker, an indoor electric grill or a camping gas burner or grill that can be adapted as a compact portable barbecue. The electric grill is probably the only one suitable for use indoors. I prefer the charcoal barbecue option as it improves the flavor. The 'Baby Gas' barbecue options are OK, but they do not allow guests to sit around the unit when cooking.
You may even be able to adapt your existing barbecue to do the job, using a much finer mesh grid or camping style grate that can be put on top of your existing barbecue. You can only light one of the burners, but this is the least favorable option as it is not portable and guests cannot really do their own cooking when sitting around the barbecue.
A tiny portable barbecue that is similar to the ones that are installed in or on the tables at Korean barbecue restaurants is the preferred option. I use a tiny portable charcoal barbecue that can be bought cheaply at barbecue supply shops (see image opposite). You can get the fire going, well in advance, in your backyard and bring it to your table, bench or outdoor dining area when you are ready to cook. This means that the smoke and mess of setting up the charcoal fire can be done well away from the dining area.
Choose a very small barbecue with legs and a carry handle, similar to the one shown one the image. The gas options are also very practical and easy to set up and use. See the image for a 'Baby Weber' example. The cooking should always be done outdoors, except for the electric griller option.
Below are a set of Korean Barbecue recipes. You can provide a set of raw meat cuts as well as the marinaded meats as some people prefer this and use the Korean Ssamjang Sauce and side dished to add flavor.
Chicken thighs are marinaded in a sweet and spicy sauce, then grilled or barbecued and wrapped up in lettuce leaves to serve.
For the Chicken and Marinade
Make cuts in the chicken thighs to help the marinade penetrate. Make the marinade by mixing the pepper to taste, pinch of salt, mirin, garlic, ginger, shallots, mul yut, soy sauce and sesame oil in a large bowl. Add the chicken and massage the marinade into all surfaces of the chicken pieces using your hands. Cover the bowl and set aside in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight. Barbecue pieces using a hot fire. Serve after garnishing with scallions, sesame seeds and chile threads in lettuce leaves. Cooked rice can be added to the lettuce leaves with the chicken.
Sprinkle the beef ribs with, mix to coat and set aside for 10 minutes or so. Prepare the marinade by whisking the rest of the ingredients, in a large bowl, and add the beef. Mix, cover and set aside in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. The ribs can also be places in a resealable bowl. Drain off the excess marinade and place on a plate ready for barbecuing using high heat. Allow about 2-3 minutes per side. Serve with Korean side dishes.
1 lb (500 g) pork belly, sliced thinly into pieces 2 inches long, 1/2 inch wide and about 1/8 inch ( 5 cm x 1 cm and 3 mm thick)
For the marinade
Combine and whisk all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add the sliced pork and mix well to ensure all the surfaces of the pork pieces are covered. Cover the bowl and set aside for 30-60 minutes in the refrigerator. Drain the pieces well and place on a plate ready for barbecuing over high heat. Provide rice Ssamjang sauce, sliced garlic, and thin strips of chili pepper for serving wrapped in lettuce leaves.
Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
Separate all the cabbage leaves and slice into bite-size pieces. Add 1/4 cup of sea salt to a large bowl of warm water, stir to dissolve. Add the cabbage leaves and toss gently to coat all the leaves. Set the salted cabbage leaves in the bowl aside for at least four hours. Then, drain the cabbage leaves in a colander to remove the excess salt and transfer the leaves to a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup of red chili flakes to 1/4 cup of warm water and stir to make a red chili paste. Add the paste to the cabbage leaves, together with the minced ginger, minced garlic, green onions and fish sauce. Next, blend the pear, onion and apple with one cup of water, add this to the cabbage. Using a pair of tongs thoroughly coat all the cabbage leaves with the ingredients (wear plastic gloves if you use your hands). Transfer seasoned cabbage leaves to a large glass bottle, pressing down the cabbage leaves as they stack up inside the bottle. Transfer any remaining liquid to the bottle. Seal the bottle and leave sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours. Then, refrigerate and take out portions as they are needed.
Cut the Korean eggplants (or similar) into quarters or smaller and then into pieces about 2-inches (5 cm) long. Steam the eggplant pieces for 5-10 minutes, until they are tender when pierced with a fork. Drain the eggplant pieces in a colander and then sprinkle with the spices and seasoning and toss to distribute. Cool to room temperature before serving as a side dish with your Korean barbecue.
Put the cabbage, onions and scallions into a serving bowl. Add the remaining dressing ingredients and mix to combine well. Serve immediately at room temperature. Setting aside in the refrigerator for several hours improves the flavor, but warm to room temperature before serving.