How to Cook Korean BBQ at Home

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South Korean cuisine is a reflection of the environment and history of the country. The peninsula with four seasons is bordered by the Yellow Sea, Sea of Japan and Korea Strait with mountains and stretches of fertile land throughout the region. A typical meal consists of rice and an array of small vegetables, tofu and meat dishes known as ''banchan." For years, the country has struggled with national famine, particularly during and after the Korean War. Although many associate South Korean cuisines with barbecue meats, it was not until the 1970s, after a decade of economic growth did beef become a regular staple in a South Korean meal.

Things You'll Need

  • 6 to 8 pounds of lean, Korean short ribs
  • Large bowl
  • Potato masher
  • Large casserole dish
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 kiwis
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion
  • 3/4 cup green onions
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. ginger
  • 1 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • Frying pan (indoor tabletop grill or outdoor grill)

Prepare

  • Soak the short ribs in a large bowl filled with cold water for 2 hours in the refrigerator. Drain then refill the bowl with fresh water and soak the meat again for another 2 hours. This prepares the meat for the marinade by cleaning the meat of any bone residue and blood.

  • Rinse the short ribs with cold water and add to a large casserole dish.

  • Mash the kiwis. Minced the garlic and ginger finely. Dice the yellow and green onions. Add all the ingredients to a large bowel.

Marinade

  • Add the red pepper flakes, sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar and sesame seeds to the bowl.

  • Mix all the ingredients and pour them over the short ribs. Thoroughly mix the ingredients, by hand, with the meat.

  • Cover the dish, refrigerate and marinade the meat for 2 days. Be sure to turn the short ribs occasionally for even flavoring.

Cook

  • Set the frying pan, grill top or outdoor grill to medium-high heat. It is important to have the pan or grill hot enough before adding the short ribs in order to sear the meat properly. The pan or grill is ready when a slight bit of smoke is coming off of it.

  • Add the short ribs onto the pan or grill and cook each side for 3 to 4 minutes. Unlike American meat, kalbi can be quickly turned over excessively to ensure proper cooking.

  • Garnish with thin slices of chopped green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

Tips & Warnings

  • Purchase lean short ribs. Excessive fat can make the kalbi greasy and heavy.
  • For a sweeter version, add 1 can of lemon-lime soda to the marinade mixture.
  • Grated Asian pear can also be used instead of mashed kiwis.
  • Have open ventilation when using high heat with a frying pan or indoor grill top.

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References

  • PBS: Hidden Korea - Food
  • "Eating Korean: From Barbecue to Kimchi, Recipes from My Home"; Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee; January 2005
  • "The Korean Table: From Barbecue to Bimbimbop 100 Easy to Prepare Recipes"; Debra Samuels and Taekyung Chung; October 2008
  • Photo Credit korean festival image by Gina Smith from Fotolia.com
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