Korean BBQ, in which I vaguely explain how to do one.


Precision is a bad thing. Unless specifically stated, I wouldn’t trust any of the measurements I give. Not that I said there was garlic when there wasn’t, but two teaspoons could have a margin of error of +/-1tsp. Can’t remember the last time I leveled a spoon. And it’s not that I’m cavalier about the whole thing either, but I don’t want to convey the impression of great science. If I say 1¼ cups of something, then it says that 1 cup was too little and 1½ is too much and because of the accuracy you’d think it was. “One and bit” and the authority dissolves and you can make your own mind up.
This frees us from the dictatorship of the recipe.
So, next time you’re at a friend’s house, take a marker pen and block out a few measurements in their favourite cook book. They’ll be angry at first, people fear autonomy and are reluctant to trust in themselves, but they’ll thank you later.

A few people turned to nearly a dozen on a Friday night I’m back catch-up. That was OK because I had an an easy prep in advance grazing plan. Charcoal burner in the middle of the table, pile of meat, guests cook it themselves, no problem.

Buy some Korean pork and beef marinade and then marinate some pork ribs and finely sliced matchbox sized pieces of rump. This left the chicken and an extra pile of beef that I’d bought as numbers grew.

The beef marinade was a combination of Korean chilli bean paste, vegetable oil, soy, and sake. The chicken was the same but with a splash of sesame oil and two crushed cloves of garlic. I bought one meat dipping sauce and made another of a simple ponzu by mashing in a mortar a couple of limes in 2 parts soy sauce and 1 part sake.

For vegetables, I thinly sliced some pumpkin and made a salad out of daikon. The daikon was thinly sliced on a mandoline into thin rounds with a dressing of rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and a small amount of the chilli bean paste and sesame oil.

Home straight. Cook up some koshi hikari short grain rice in the rice cooker. Put some kim chee and nori on the table and then fire up the charcoal. Leaving just drinking, chatting, and the steady cooking of small bits of meat.


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  1. pieman’s avatar

    I’m a big fan of doing this stuff. We have a Japanese table at pieman towers and I picked up a hot stone korean indoor barbie thing in Seoul once. A real crowd pleaser and great fun. I find you do need to delegate one person to be meat watcher or char OD is a possible factor. So what’s your tipple with this dish. Do I see wine on the table?

    BTW – the CD arrived today. I will listen and report back in depth when I get over a sudden and inexplicable bout of tinitus. Nice cover.

  2. Anthony’s avatar

    True you try and democratrise these things and you get burnt meat. I think this is particularly the case in Australia where the host usually plays Glorious Leader of the BBQ.

    Drinks? I’ll have to go through the recycle bin but once again we didn’t get through our bottle of sherry. Lowenbrau, a local Little Creatures Pilsner (improving), a couple of value reds, cooler’s out so must have a been a white or bubbly, and some guests rocked up with a sauterne.

    CD! Excellent, I had actually resigned myself to the fact it hadn’t gotten there and bought some new CD post packs to give it one more try past ice-lady. Not me on the cover.

  3. David’s avatar

    The only drink with Korean bbq is Soju!

    Makes for better conversation in the long run :)

  4. Anthony’s avatar

    That’s blindness, madness, and death in the short term then.

    Actually there’s one with a frog on the lable which remeber being very nice.

  5. David’s avatar

    Korean’s also always eat BBQ with lettuce leaves. They wrap the meat up in it and add all the other extra’s like chilli sauce, garlic, and kimchi.

    Very ‘muh-she seyo!’

  6. Anthony’s avatar


  7. teddles_russ’s avatar

    Sounds like something I’d like to set up one evening – I like homely measurements by the way – and you made that sound easier to organise than the kofta, pilau, and molahia I made tonight.

    Arabs, Lebanese and Turks go barmy for molahia which is some weed which I reckon is like artichokes – you expend more energy getting it ready to eat than it contains… %)

    So I’ve taken careful notes of your preparations and will give that a whirl.

    Big Ted out.

  8. pieman’s avatar

    I agree with david, soju, beak seju or one of the other Korean tipples is the way to go. I did cook this recently for friends. It was fun, but Cab serve and beer doesn’t hit the spot like crap Korean liquor in my inebriated opinion.

    As for the CD, sad to say ice lady was outta town today. I Woz gutted. Thought I could blog her in her her iciness. I did take some pics along the way though and will blog in a day or two.

  9. Anonymous’s avatar

    That daikon is gorgeous!


  10. Anthony’s avatar


    It sounds great. I’m not really up to speed on Turkish, Middle Eastern food but went to Alanya in Floreat Forum and was very inspired. Seafood and lamb – what the hell were we doing with roasts and fish fingers all those years? If only Gallipoli had been a cook-off. And artichokes, never been able to work them out – always end up with this tiny bit of chewy fibre.

    True true, I should source out a bottle. Eat local drink local (unless it’s from Malibu).

    I usually slice it lengthwise with a peeler for salad but did it horizontally – keeps my fingers a nice safe length form the blade. Makes me wonder what daikon chips would be like.

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