BBQ Finds Its Seoul

By Bender, Andrew | Out, September 2011 | Go to article overview

BBQ Finds Its Seoul


Bender, Andrew, Out


HOW TO MASTER THE ART OF KOREAN GRILLING

Before you hang up your grilling tongs for the cold months, consider Korean barbecue for one last hurrah. This adventurous crowd-pleaser is finally getting its due stateside: Think sliced beef, chicken, or lamb in a bold marinade of soy, garlic, sesame, ginger - and just enough sugar to balance but not smother.

Seoul-born, Los Angeles-raised chef Roy Choi is the poster boy for Korean barbecue, and he ate plenty of it asa boy ("A normal Monday night felt like carnival," he says). Only in multi-culti L.A. would that boy grow up to serve Korean-barbecued beef in tacos from a humble catering truck. And only in America would that truck, Kogi, land Choi on Food & Wine's Best New Chefs list and spark a newfood movement. Choi has since opened brick-and-mortar restaurants Chego and ?-Frame on L.A.'s Westside.

For further inspiration, look to PBS, which began its documentary series, Kimchi Chronicles, in July. It stars Korean-born Marja Vongerichten, whose husband, Jean-Georges, is behind some of the most lauded restaurants in Las Vegas and New York City. Her new companion cookbook, The Kimchi Chronicles (Rodale Press, $32.50), has pretty pictures of some daunting recipes- certain kimchis ferment for a month or more - but, as Vongerichten advises, "Don't feel you have to jump in the deep end if you are new to Korean cooking."

Barbecue marinade is a great start. Ingrethents are easily found in American markets: soy sauce, onion, Asian pear, garlic, ginger, even cola. Vongerichten recommends galbi (short ribs) sliced "L.A.-style" (cross-cut for ovals of bone that double as handles), but the marinade will work fine with other thinly sliced meats. Serve it simply, with steamed rice, lettuce leaves for wrapping it into little packets (called ssäm), and, if you dare, spicy Korean gochuchanghot pepper paste. …

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