What is Korean BBQ?
Traditional Korean BBQ’s is a time for friends and family to come together and enjoy socialising cooking a casual meal. Typical Korean barbecue sets are small coal pots set into a table. The table will will include a variety of meats and vegetables with lettuce, radishes or other wraps. Sauces will also come on the side to mix all the flavours together. No Korean meal would be complete either without the national savoury side, kimchi. With Korean BBQ’s you are the chef and there is no wrong way of doing it because you experiment with the meats and sauces mixing up your own flavours.
Can I do a Korean BBQ at home?
At home its a bit hard to have a small coal stove in the centre of a table without it being a fire risk. An alternative is to use a hot plate or a heated grill around a big table. There will be a lot of smoke from the grill so the ideal place will be well ventilated and open to ensure that the fire alarms don’t get set off.
What food makes up a Korean BBQ
There’s a wide variety of meats that you could use on the grill and certainly no shortage. Traditional meats include pork belly, short rib, beef tongue, squid, prawns and more. Marinating some of the meats with sauce are called bulgogi. Usually meats are marinated for up to 24 hours.
Meats are usually sliced thinly so that they are easier to cook and less risk of eating uncooked meats especially when you are busy talking to friends or family.
Typically the meats that aren’t marinated will go on the barbecue first followed by the marinated meats so is not to affect the flavour of the un-marinated meats.
There are several types of sauces that are served with the BBQ including gochujang, ssamjang, and doenjang.
Gochujang is a fermented pepper paste, which has a bit of a kick to it. In London you will have seen the sauce served with bibimbap. Traditionally the sauces are fermented in massive barrels for years.
It’s common to use the various sauces with the meats and wraps, trying different combinations of them all.
Banchans are small dishes that are served around the BBQ, so you can nibble whilst waiting for the meats to cook or to pile into your wrap.
Traditional banchan’s will include pickled or fermented veg like radish, cabbage, green beans, or cucumber not forgetting kimchi.
The wraps are what holds the BBQ together, although you don’t have to use a wrap to eat with. Most restaurants will give you lettuce leafs as they are more common in the UK. In Korea you could use shies leaves or thinly sliced daikon radishes. Modern twists now use rice paper as a wrap.