Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Korean BBQ: Galbi and Bulgogi

I don't know that I've ever had Korean BBQ before, but suddenly this past year, I've had it three times and love it.

This past spring, my DH's boss and his wife had us over for dinner. They are from Korea and they served a traditional Korean BBQ using thinly sliced beef short ribs. Later this summer, a friend of mine served a similar dish, but a thicker cut of beef rib, and again, we loved it.

My friend was not pleased with the results of using this thicker rib cut, so she was very excited when she finally found a traditional Korean cut of beef at the store and offered to bring it for us to cook for dinner during their visit. When we opened the package of beef, I was surprised to find a package of very thinly sliced beef.

When I looked up information on Korean BBQ beef dishes, I found that there are two popular but similar Korean beef barbecue recipes. One involves thinly sliced beef short ribs and is called Galbi. The other is very similar, but uses very thin slices of boneless beef and is known as Bulgogi.

Both beef BBQ involve the same basic marinade: soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and sesame oil. The Galbi traditionally includes pear juice. Bulgogi recipes often add sesame seeds, scallions and ginger to the ingredients above.

Overall, I think I would prefer doing the Galbi on the grill and saving the Bulgogi for my wok pan. The very thin slices of beef cooked very quickly on the grill and demanded constant attention. By the time the pieces were laid on the grill - which could be tricky in and of itself - it was time to start turning the first pieces to hit the grill. I'd recommend having someone nearby to help turn and/or hold a plate for the finished pieces - it all goes very quickly.

Photo from Trifood

I don't have any photos to share, so I'm borrowing, but check out this blog - it shows you the basics for Galbi. This site shows pictures and recipes for both.

This is the recipe we used:

Korean BBQ Marinade

1 cup soy sauce
2 cups water
5-6 cloves garlic
2 to 3 green onions
1 tablespoon sesame oil
black pepper
sesame seeds (I used about 1 teaspoon)
1 cup sugar

I would tweak this a bit and reduce the sugar to maybe a 1/2 cup or so. We marinated the beef overnight which I would definitely recommend. The musts in this recipe are the soy sauce, garlic and sugar. The rest can be adjusted according to tastes and preferences. It's a forgiving recipe, so don't be afraid to tweak and adjust.

My next task is to search out a butcher in the area that carries one of these cuts of beef........if DH will remember to ask his boss, he should be able to hook us up.

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