Korean barbecue 

Korean barbecue on the grill at a restaurant

Korean-style barbecue is so similar to Japanese yakiniku that no one can authoritatively claim where this style of cooking originated. They're very similar: slices of beef and pork, thin as credit cards; strips of chicken and pork belly; and seafood; marinated (or not) and grilled.

Korean barbecue is also prepared on grill tops that can be used for Thai barbecue. I wouldn't get too hung up on the distinctions. Instead, focus on how easy and delicious it is to cook a meal with friends on your tabletop grill. 

The most popular versions of barbecue, Korean-style, are:

  • Bulgogi: literally "fire meat"; thinly-sliced pieces of beef, marinated and grilled. 
  • Galbi: [Also kalbi] Korean-style short ribs, marinated and barbecued
  • Samgyeopsal: thick, fatty, tender strips of pork belly; essentially uncured bacon
  • Jjukkumi Gui: marinated and grilled baby octopus
  • Ojinguh Gui: marinated and grilled squid

All-you-can-eat Korean restaurants and barbecue restaurants are very popular in the US. Generally, the raw meat is laid out in trays and you fill up your plate the same as at any other buffet-style restaurant. Only when you get back to your table, there's a grill in the middle and you and your friends cook your meat before you eat it.

What you might need for Korean barbecue:

Visit The Tabletop Tool Shop or The Tabletop Food Shop for everything and anything you might need. 

The meat is typically accompanied by sides called banchan, which include kimchi and other vegetable dishes.You'll probably also want some rice or noodles as a starch. Some people like to make a little wrap with a large lettuce leaf, a schmear of spicy ssamjang (korean bbq sauce), a few pieces of meat, and some vegetables like spring onions or hot peppers. 

A nice Korean barbecue-style grill going at a summer barbecue

It's super easy to recreate the experience at home, and also really fun. Any kind of tabletop grill will work to cook your raw meat and veg. Pour a little soju, some cold beer, or iced tea, and you're ready to spend a couple of hours talking and cooking with friends.  

Other tabletop grilling recipes:

Thai barbecue

Raclette grill teppanyaki

banh mi sandwiches


Or check our full recipe index for even more ideas!

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Asian Food Grocer has a great selection of essential ingredients and many hard-to-find items.

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