KOREAN BBQ SAMGYEOPSAL
Korean BBQ Samgyeopsal 삼겹살 サムギョプサル
Samgyeopsal is grilled pork belly and it means ‘three layers of meat and fat’ in Korean. It is probably the most popular BBQ meat in South Korea. Samgyeopsal is recognized as the most delicious cut of pork amongst Koreans because the meat and fat combination makes an incredibly gorgeous taste.
Watch My Easy Korean BBQ Samgyeopsal Recipe Video (3m 28s)
In some countries, pork belly is not as popular as in Korea and is usually used to make bacon. The foreigners living in Korea from countries who enjoy bacon such as the UK, US, Canada and Australia LOVE samgyeopsal. They usually list samgyeopsal as one of the best Korean foods and they miss it when they go back home. In Korea, beef is much more expensive than most countries in the world, so, we eat pork more often. Koreans eat so much samgyeopsal that it has too be imported to meet demand.
Koreans usually eat Samgyeopsal as lunch or dinner, but, some westerners like to eat it for breakfast since they eat bacon and sausages for their own breakfast. There are quite a few samgyeopsal breakfast restaurants near American military bases because of it. If you are on a diet or if you don’t like pork belly, you can use pork shoulder steaks instead.
It’s fair to say that every meat eater on earth likes BBQ, but, I can say Koreans eat the most BBQ without hesitation. There are thousands of different BBQ restaurants in Korea and as such people usually eat out rather than cook at home. The menu choices are plentiful, samgyeopsal, pork shoulder, pork galbi, beef galbi, steak, the list goes on. I will post a Korean BBQ series, so, keep your eyes open for it.
When I was a child, eating out wasn’t as popular as today. I remember eating BBQ when we had visitors or when we were on a summer holiday in the mountains or on the beach. Nowadays, cooking is banned on most beaches or mountains in Korea, but, it was possible at the time. When I was in university, on trips, we booked cheap accommodation and more often than not had Samgyeopsal with beer or soju.
When you cook samgyeopsal on a Korean BBQ grill over a table stove, all the oil from the samgyeopsal drains out from a small hole in the side of the pan, so, you get really crispy and delicious meat. I highly recommend you buy one through the Amazon links on my website or from an Asian grocery store. Whichever is more convenient (or cheaper). You can grill meat without a Korean BBQ grill, but, mop up the pork fat with some kitchen towel taking care not to burn your fingers, so that the meat is crispy when cooked.
To eat samgyeopsal Korean style, we take lettuce or sesame leaves and lay on top grilled meat, spring onion salad, ssamjang or sesame oil dipping sauce. Then fold the leaf and make a wrap and enjoy. It is a great combination and tastes A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Sesame leaves are hard to come by in the UK, so, I usually just use lettuce. Watch my video below for the proper way to eat Korean BBQ. Enjoy!
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- 1kg Belly Pork
- Pinch of Sea Salt
- 1 Cup Kimchi, chopped.
- 1 Garlic Bulb, peeled.
- 4 White Mushrooms, thinly sliced.
- To Serve
- 1 Bag of Lettuce
- Sesame Oil Dipping Sauce
- Spring Onion Salad
- Cooked Rice
- Doenjang Soup
- Put the samgyeopsal (belly pork) on your BBQ grill over a high heat and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Turn the samgyeopsal occassionally to cook both sides.
- When cooked halfway through, pick up the samgyeopsal with tongs and cut into 1in/2cm strips with a pair of clean, sharp scissors.
- Grill the kimchi, peeled garlic cloves and sliced mushrooms in spare spaces on your grill. You should start to cook the kimchi, garlic and mushrooms when the samgyeopsal is 70% cooked. This will ensure all the food is ready at the same time.
- After everything is cooked, take a leaf of lettuce in your hand, lay belly pork on the leaf and add ssamjang, spring/green onion salad, cooked kimchi, garlic or mushrooms,.
- Fold the lettuce leaf over to wrap everything together and enjoy. Serve with sesame oil dipping sauce, cooked rice and doenjang soup.