This Samgyupsal recipe will give you a complete guide to preparing the best Korean BBQ in the comfort of your home. Wrapped in fresh vegetables, garlic, and homemade dipping sauce, every bite of this grilled pork belly will have you jumping with joy!
What is KBBQ and why is it so popular?
Korean BBQ is undeniably an indispensable part of Korean food culture and one that has gained immense global popularity over the years.
There is something so magical about having your loved ones around the dining table and enjoying freshly grilled meats together, which is a big reason KBBQ is a fundamental part of Korean cuisine.
KBBQ is truly one of the best ways to share a satisfying meal with your family and friends and a meaningful way to connect and bond with the people you love.
There is scientific evidence that sharing meals can greatly improve our well-being in both aspects of physical, social, and emotional wellness, and has been historically proven to be one of the most meaningful ways to strengthen a community.
Amongst many different types of grilled meats, Samgyupsal Gui, also known as Samgyeopsal Gui or grilled pork belly, is undeniably the most popular type of Korean BBQ for its ease of preparation and succulent flavors.
What is Samgyupsal?
Pork belly, also known as Samgyupsal or Samgyeopsal, has always been the most popular type of meat in Korea for many reasons: it’s inexpensive, requires minimal effort to cook, and is so flavorful and tender that it practically melts in your mouth.
These are some of the reasons why pork belly, or grilled pork belly, in particular, is Korea’s most iconic comfort food when served with a side of rice and kimchi.
Pork belly also comes in many different forms depending on the thickness of the cut which makes it incredibly versatile to use in a wide range of situations.
Korean grocery stores often carry many different kinds of pork belly that also comes frozen or fresh depending on your needs, and they are often conveniently labelled for their preferred use – whether that’s for grilling, marinating, or for making stews.
One of the most convenient parts about Samgyupsal is that it does not need to be marinated prior to grilling, which makes it easy and convenient to cook.
Moreover, it has a shorter cook time than most other meats, which means you can indulge faster and in bigger quantities as your heart desires. 🙂
Today I am sharing with you guys all of the essential tips needed to prepare your own KBBQ at home, as well as a homemade Korean dipping sauce and pickled onion recipe to take your experience to the next level!
What do I need to make Samgyupsal?
The fun part about KBBQ is that there are so many different ways to prepare depending on the side dishes you choose to serve it with.
We’ll go into that detail a little later in the post, but for now, here are a few essential Samgyupsal ingredients you will need:
- Samgyupsal: aka pork belly. There are a lot of different types of pork belly, but I personally love the thick cuts for grilling.
- Korean grocery stores often score the pork belly (as per the above photo) to make it ideal for grilling, which tends to be extra flavorful and crispy during the cooking process.
- You can also choose a thinner cut if you prefer, or even have a mix of both!
- Garlic: to be thinly sliced and grilled alongside the pork belly. Samgyeopsal and garlic are a match made in heaven and highly compatible in flavor, so I highly recommend having some fresh garlic at hand.
- Fresh vegetables: for the vegetable wraps. A core element of KBBQ is to wrap your meat in fresh veggies and various toppings and sauces to have all the flavors in one bite.
- Some popular vegetables to serve with KBBQ are green or red leaf lettuce, perilla leaves, green chili peppers, green onions, cabbage, cucumbers, or mushrooms.
- Ssamjang: as the dipping sauce. there are many store-bought options for Ssamjang, but my homemade recipe is also easy to make and tastes even better than packaged options!
- To make the Korean barbeque dipping sauce, you’ll simply need Doenjang (Korean soybean paste), Gochujang (Korean chili paste), garlic, honey, sesame oil, and toasted sesame seeds.
- Add all of these ingredients to a bowl and mix to combine, and you have yourself a savory-spicy dipping sauce for all your KBBQ sessions!
- Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, so it’s also a great make-ahead sauce to be used in many Korean dishes.
Which type of grill do I use?
Although there are many types of grills to use, using a high-quality cast iron grill will take your table-cooking experience to the next level.
The MOOSSE Enameled Cast Iron Korean BBQ Grill provided by the lovely ladies at Crazy Korean Cooking has been my absolute favorite pan to use for all different types of grilling, especially for Korean pork belly.
This premium cast iron grill has a unique curved design that collects all the fat in the middle, resulting in a perfectly crispy texture for your grilled meats.
The flavorful fat that’s collected can then be used to cook the slices of garlic, kimchi, mushrooms, or vegetables which has been an absolute game changer in both aspects of taste and texture.
Moreover, it evenly distributes and retains heat to ensure that your meats are perfectly cooked and heated throughout the entire duration of your meal.
The quality of this pan is truly exceptional, as it is coated with high porcelain enamel made of natural minerals, and made in Korea. It’s also incredibly easy to clean and maintain (with no seasoning required) which is a huge bonus!
To prepare a large batch of steamed rice, I absolutely love using my beautiful MOOSSE Enameled Cast Iron Gamasot which is also a part of the same premium cookware line by Crazy Korean Cooking.
Using a Gamasot (Korean traditional cauldron) truly elevates your rice to the most phenomenal quality in having the perfect balance of soft and chewy textures.
As it is also made with cast iron, it helps to keep the rice fresh and warm throughout the course of your meal, which is particularly helpful for your long Korean BBQ sessions.
Best of all, both of these cookware are compatible with all types of cooktops including induction, gas, ceramic, electric, coil, and oven, they are truly versatile to use for all different types of occasions!
If you’re on the lookout for high-quality Korean cookware, I highly recommend checking out the BBQ Grill and Gamasot Pot and all the other products that are available from Crazy Korean Cooking. They are truly of pristine quality!
How to prepare Korean BBQ
Then you’ll arrange a side of fresh vegetables and sliced garlic for the vegetable wraps, as well as kimchi and individual bowls of steamed rice and ssamjang (Korean KKBQ dipping sauce).
Lastly, you’ll arrange a plate of pork belly and other meats if you prefer, then set a BBQ grill pan on a portable stove and you are ready to start grilling away!
If you prefer, you can also serve a bubbling hot bowl of Korean Soybean Stew (Doenjang Jjigae) to make the meal extra nourishing and comforting, or bowls of Korean Cold Noodles (Naengmyeon) to freshen up your palate after grilling the meats.
I will also be sharing an easy recipe for pickled onions which is an incredible addition to your vegetable wraps. Feel free to be creative with assembling your spread and most importantly, have fun with it!
How to eat Samgyupsal
To assemble a wrap, place a slice of lettuce and/or perilla leaf in your non-dominant hand, and add a small amount of steamed rice, grilled pork belly, ssamjang sauce, pickled onion, chili pepper, fried garlic, and kimchi. Wrap tightly and indulge in all that glory!
You can totally have fun with this process and switch up your toppings to make a customized wrap each time. The possibilities are endless, and every bite of this wrap will have you jumping in pure joy!
And that’s it! The ultimate guide to preparing your own Korean BBQ pork belly in the comfort of your home.
I hope you enjoy this Samgyupsal recipe, and as usual, please feel free to leave a comment below or message me on Instagram with any questions you may have. Happy cooking everyone!
Other easy Dinner recipes you may like:
- Rabokki (Tteokbokki with Ramen)
- Soondubu Jjigae (Korean Soft Tofu Stew)
- Bulgogi Beef Udon Stir Fry
- Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Stew)
- Dakdoritang (Spicy Korean Chicken Stew)
Easy Samgyupsal (Grilled Pork Belly)
- 2 lb pork belly or more
- 1 bunch lettuce rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup kimchi
- 10 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- steamed rice served in individual bowls
- 10 perilla leaves
- 3 green chili peppers sliced
- Korean soybean stew (Doenjang Jjigae)
Ssamjang (Korean BBQ Dipping Sauce)
For the Ssamjang (Korean BBQ Dipping Sauce):
- Add all ssamjang ingredients to a bowl and mix to combine. Divide into individual sauce bowls.
For the Pickled Onion (Optional):
- Add soy sauce, white vinegar, sugar, and water to a jar or a container, and stir to combine. Add the sliced onions and press down to submerge. Set aside for at least 10 minutes before serving.
To prepare your KBBQ:
- Assemble your table by arranging the fresh vegetables, garlic, kimchi, and any other preferred side dishes. Prepare individual bowls of steamed rice and dipping sauce.
- Season the pork belly with salt and pepper and arrange onto a plate with a set of tongs and kitchen shears. Set the BBQ grill pan on a portable stove.
- Heat your grill pan over medium-low heat, and lightly grease the surface. Add the pork belly slices to the pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes before flipping to the other side.
- Add kimchi, garlic, or any other vegetables to the residual oil and cook alongside the pork belly. Using kitchen shears, cut the pork belly into bite-sized pieces and cook until golden brown and crispy.
- To make a vegetable wrap, place a slice of lettuce and/or perilla leaf in your non-dominant hand followed by a spoonful of rice. Add pork belly, ssamjang, pickled onion, chili pepper, fried garlic, and kimchi. Wrap tightly and enjoy!
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