A Short Beginner’s Guide to Enjoying Korean BBQ

The Korean BBQ Experience Made Easy

As far as Korean BBQ is concerned, here’s a newbie should navigate himself/ herself through the experience of ordering, eating, and enjoying like a real pro. Don’t be intimidated, expect bright and bold flavors, and expect to eat a lot.

Firstly, know your Korean meats. Which cut of the meat will you order? Traditional options are beef short ribs, flank steak, paper-thin brisket, or thick strips of pork belly. If you want the traditional Korean flavor experience, choose short ribs, flank steak, or bulgogi, which is thinly sliced rib eye in a sweet and spicy marinade.

Keep your eye on the grill

You don’t want your meat cooked lightning-fast, flipping done incessantly. You don’t want it all brown or gray, but just enough sear to caramelize. It means the grill is preheated, the meat should pop and sizzle as it hits the grate. Ask questions about menu or ask for recommendations.

Choose from many appetizers available – dumplings, pajeon (a savory pancake with green onions, other vegetables and meat or seafood), or Korean fried chicken is great and filling. If you do want to taste test, choose stick noodles or stew and share with your company.

Meet your Banchan, or Side Dishes

The complementary vegetable side dishes that will accompany your BBQ meal. Usually, you’ll have lettuce leaves to wrap around the meat, kimchi, spicy cucumber salad, marinated or lightly seasoned raw bean sprouts, sautéed spinach, scallion salad, and any other vegetable that you can steam, boil, stir fry, or turn into a cold salad. You’ll have little dishes of gochujang (a spicy and sweet red pepper sauce), ssamjang (a thick, soybean paste), sesame oil, and even slices of raw garlic or jalapenos – all will enhance your meat flavor. You simply add any side dish and the sauce of your choice with every bite of your meat. Or you can go with plain rice anytime.

You might want a kimchi stew toward the end of your meal. it cleans your palate and cuts through the grease from the meat. If you like noodles, opt for cold buckwheat noodle soup; it’s refreshing. Also, every Korean barbecue experience should include some soju which is similar to the appearance and taste of vodka. And don’t forget to taste the house-made kimchi. It gives just the right acid and freshness to a heavy-meat meal like your Korean BBQ.