Experience Korean BBQ at Home
Korean BBQ is great and increasingly popular. (Although BBQ is always good—you can’t go wrong with it. 😜)
Some folks are so into it, they want to replicate the experience at home! And as you know, I’m always here to give you all my tips and secrets for successful grilling, so I’m going to tell you how to have a killer Korean BBQ party at home, right now. 😎
But before I can get to all that, I’ve got to start with the basics (don’t worry, I’m going to tell you about food, so it’s super interesting 😉 ). 🤓
Ready? Let’s get started!
What’s Korean BBQ?
A “traditional” BBQ is when you invite people over to eat a meal cooked on the grill. (Now you’re going to say, “Yeah, but JP! I’m all alone when I eat BBQ! Well, okay, that can happen too, and “BBQ” doesn’t necessarily mean “group”, but clearly, that’s because you’re keeping the fact that you’re grilling a secret—because otherwise, you’d definitely have friends coming in droves to eat at your place! 😜) And that’s when the magic happens. Everyone gathers around the grill, chatting and smelling and watching the food get kissed by the flames as it cooks.
A Korean BBQ works similarly, but instead of gathering around a grill, people gather around a table, with an electric or gas grill in the middle (an open-flame, lidless grill, if you prefer).
Korean BBQ, or “Gogigui” in Korean, is now widespread. More and more Korean BBQ restaurants are opening up around the world, and Korean BBQ has even become a staple cooking technique in Korean cuisine—goes to show how popular it is.
When it comes to BBQs, meat is a given (because let’s face it, no one gets excited when they hear, “Who wants grilled vegetables!?” 😬), and Korean BBQ is no exception! If you go to a Korean BBQ restaurant, the waiter will bring you thin slices of raw beef, pork and/or chicken. Once they’re done grilling, you eat them with a marinade, wrapped (or not) in a lettuce leaf and/or covered with grilled green onions—and that’s not all!
While your meat’s cooking, you can chat with friends and help yourself to banchan, which usually consists of dishes like kimchi, pickled vegetables, bean sprouts and potatoes. You have so much fun, time flies by.
Why Are People So Crazy About Korean BBQ?
It may not have been super obvious from what I just told you (because, it’s more the vegetables that seem exotic, and if you’re like me, vegetables already don’t appeal to you much🤪), but I think what people like about Korean BBQ is the unusual flavors. I haven’t mentioned it yet, but the food is also marinated/soaked in sauces that tantalize your taste buds with their mix of sweet, salty and spicy. The flavor is truly distinctive, and that’s what makes Korean BBQ so special. To give you an idea, some are made with a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, sugar, sesame oil or gochujang, for example.
Getting back to the question at hand, the fact that it’s a BBQ makes it enjoyable in itself, so there’s no doubt that people dig it (it’s a lot livelier than a microwave party! 😜)! People chat around a flame, often with a beer in hand, and enjoy the best food on the planet; there’s nothing about it that isn’t exciting! And, as I always say, at a BBQ, you know when it starts but never when it ends! So, there’s no better proof that people have fun making their food and eating it!
What Do You Eat at a Korean BBQ?
A Korean BBQ menu is quite extensive. There are meats, vegetables and seafood.
More specifically, they often include (whole or sliced):
- in terms of meat: chicken, pork, beef (in my opinion, the ultimate meat to try for this is Korean short ribs! 👌)
- vegetables: mushrooms (button, shiitake, etc.), onions, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, corn on the cob, asparagus, tomatoes, kale, Swiss chard, tofu
- seafood: shrimp, scallops, octopus, salmon, tuna
Then, once we’ve got our plates of food in front of us, we brush what we’ve ordered with a little oil to keep it from sticking to the grates, and grill it on both sides, at medium-high heat, to get a nice char and caramelization.
When it comes to sauces, there are so many to choose from. Some of the most popular are:
- sesame oil sauce (a mix of sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic and black pepper)
- gochujang sauce (a mix of gochujang, soy sauce, sugar and water)
- garlic soy sauce (a mix of soy sauce, sugar and garlic)
- miso sauce (a mix of miso paste, sake, mirin, sugar and sesame oil)
- Korean BBQ sauce (a mix of gochujang, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and sesame oil)
How to Have a Korean BBQ at Home
Now that I’ve given you the basics on Korean BBQ, you’ve got a good idea of how to go about it/what you need to put one together at home… But I’m going to give you a few tips anyway. 😏
- Get the gear
A good knife or meat slicer is essential if you want to give your guests nice, thin slices of meat. Personally, I recommend using a knife that makes clean cuts, such as the Kai Pro Professional Filleting and Boning Knife or the Kai Pro Professional Brisket Knife.
Tongs also come in handy for handling meat. You also want at least two, one for handling raw meat and another for cooked meat, to avoid cross-contamination.
To make sure your food tastes great and doesn’t stick, brushing your grill grate before use is always an important factor, too. It will keep your grill clean and prevent food residue from sticking to your meat.
Working with a thermometer is always a good idea, too. With it, you’ll know for sure what your food’s internal temperature is, and you’ll eat something that’s cooked to perfection, just the way you like it.
Earlier, I mentioned “fire tables” for Korean BBQs. Well, if you don’t have one at home, you can still have a Korean BBQ, just a little differently. For example, if you have a charcoal grill, you can thread your slices of meat or vegetables onto a skewer from our Ring of Skewers, or heat up our Pink Himalayan Salt Board on the grate of any kind of grill and set it down in the middle of your table afterward (put something under the Salt Board so it doesn’t damage your furniture!) and grill your food on it (a bit like you’d do with raclette). As they say, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” 😉
- Do the prep
If you don’t want to spend your entire evening in the kitchen after your guests have arrived, get a head start on your food prep. Slice your meats into small, thin slices, make your sauces, pull apart your lettuce leaves, cook your rice… That way you’ll be sure to spend as much time as possible with your loved ones (grill included 😜).
And I feel like spoiling you! 😜
If you’re looking for a sauce recipe to go with your food, look no further—just mix these ingredients together:
- ½ tbsp. gushuan
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ tbsp. House of BBQ Experts Samurai Sauce
Fast and easy, and so freaking delicious! 😎
- Follow traditional ways
The key to a Korean BBQ is to cook hot and fast. Make sure your grill is hot, you have your sauces on hand, your food is well seared, and you’re ready to get down to business. Then enjoy your grilled meats with a lettuce leaf for a more traditional experience—or not, depending on your preferences. 😜
- Enjoy the moment!
When it’s all cooking, just enjoy yourself, have a good time with your loved ones and that’s that!
Enjoy your Korean BBQ! 🔥