What should I do with beautiful korean-BBQ style meat
September 23, 2020 8:46 AM   Subscribe

There is a regional Korean-American chain, H-Mart, with beautiful pre-cut meat which looks just like the meat they bring out at Korean BBQ. What should I do with it? I do have access to a gas grill. What marinade should I make? Can I do it on the stove-top? What should I serve with it? They have a bunch of the salads/sides I can get. I look at the meat all the time and really want to make something fun for a party.
posted by shothotbot to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
You want bulgogi. Or ssamjang. But here's (what I consider as a non-Korean person) to be an excellent and comprehensive guide to Korean barbecue that will answer all your questions!
posted by unstrungharp at 8:52 AM on September 23 [7 favorites]

It sounds like you're thinking of cross-cut short ribs, a.k.a. flanken — long strips of meat with little oval cross-section bones embedded in them.

If so, they're called galbi in Korean and you can find recipes under that name.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:04 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]

Galbi or kalbi, I should say. There are different ways of writing Korean in the Roman alphabet. Same word, different spellings.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:06 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]

Those presliced meats are normally for a grill. If you have access to a table top grill you can replicate a korean style barbecue at home. Buy what ever protein you like including those delicious sides ("banchan"), leaf lettuce to wrap in and dipping sauces of your choosing. Dipping sauce can be as simple as sesame oil and soy sauce. I like gochujang, splash of sesame oil and soy and a squirt of Red Rooster. If you don't have a grill, you can certainly cook them on the stovetop all at once with a bit of salt and pepper and dip away.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 9:28 AM on September 23 [2 favorites]

One caution - in my experience, some, but not all, of the thin-sliced meat at H-mart is really intended for a tabletop grill/griddle, and is too thin to grill on a standard-sized outdoor grill. This is especially true for some of the pre-marinated stuff in the deeper containers. Some works great on a standard grill though - just look for the slightly thicker options of pre-sliced.
posted by mercredi at 9:51 AM on September 23 [6 favorites]

Also, if you don't want to grill, I also love to make gyudon with it. Gyudon is one of my faaaaaaaavorite comfort foods. You can also roll it around a vegetable and make negimaki, if you like asparagus or pepper. Or you could make hotpot with it - H-Mart usually sells a shabu-shabu friendly variety of paper-thin cuts that can basically only be cooked in broth.

Heck, you could make a cheesesteak sandwich out of some of the cuts.

Really, I vote all of the above. Lots of tasty things can be made with thinly-sliced beef.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 10:49 AM on September 23 [5 favorites]

They also do their own already-marinated bulgogi, which is definitely worth trying. We fry it in a cast iron pan since we don't have a tabletop grill.
posted by brilliantine at 10:52 AM on September 23 [7 favorites]

I love all these ideas. I am going to try the marinades

I got this raclette kit for Christmas a few years ago - I guess I could cook the meat on that, right? Supposedly the granite heats up to 400 degrees.

This has got me thinking I could make braciole (meat with breadcrumbs rolled up, skewered and grilled).
posted by shothotbot at 11:08 AM on September 23

Was also coming in to say hot pot/shabu-shabu, but really you can also use them in any sort of hot soup-based meal, like jjigae, pho, or even just beefing up some generic ramen. The super thinly sliced meat is so thin you don't really cook it, just throw it in right before you dish it out and let the residual heat do its thing.
posted by yeahlikethat at 12:14 PM on September 23

I got this raclette kit for Christmas a few years ago - I guess I could cook the meat on that, right? Supposedly the granite heats up to 400 degrees.

In my (limited) experience, one of the best parts of Korean BBQ is the crispy, caramelized and almost burnt bits. I would expect you'd have a hard time achieving that on that raclette thingy. I'd recommend a grill first (I have a fine wire rack that prevents small bits falling through the grates) and cast iron on the stovetop (or maybe a broiler) as a second.
posted by Superilla at 12:58 PM on September 23

There's the thinly sliced ones for the hibachi and then there's the shaved stuff for hot pot.

The shaved stuff makes totally aces Philly-style cheese steak sandwiches.

Personally I like to season with sesame oil, soy, onion powder, garlic powder, white pepper. Pan fry at high heat (and low density) until browned and a little crispy on the edges. I top mine with green onion instead of cheese on a Portuguese roll.

If you add a little bit of sugar to it, it'll produce a fair bit of "meat gravy" as the meat sweats in the presence of sugar, and can provide the "dip" for a beef dip style sandwich.
posted by porpoise at 1:50 PM on September 23 [1 favorite]

We don't have a grill, but use a well seasoned cast iron to quickly sear up marinated Korean meats, specifically the thin (but not paper thin) cuts. For pork we just sear and serve with kosher salt and sesame oil as a dipping sauce.

The super thin ones go in soup and melt into deliciousness- these are perfect for winter. (see previous recommendations)
posted by larthegreat at 2:31 PM on September 23

At our house we cook that meat on a grill plate in the center of the dining room table using a tabletop gas burner.

You can buy both of them at H-Mart. They aren't really very expensive, and it is fun to cook at the table.
posted by Quonab at 12:18 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]

A couple of recent videos that might be helpful:
Aaron and Claire: Korean Style Beef Short Ribs Recipe a.k.a LA GALBI BBQ
Future Neighbor: Craving Bulgogi? Make Mother Marinade | 15 Minutes... Done!
posted by Lexica at 12:43 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]

I used the link that unstrungharp provided on short ribs, pork belly and some other very thin cut of beef and it was pretty amazing. The marinade required two things which would have been hard to source without a Korean market: doenjang (Korean fermented soybean paste) and gochujang (Korean chili paste). I suspect red miso and Sambal Oelek would have been close.

We cooked it on the raclette top. I was not as charred as I would have liked. Because the grill is horizontal, I would skip the pork belly next time as there was a ton of rendered fat and crispy bits that did make a bit of a mess. If you are doing this exact setup at home you need to have something under the cooking surface to catch the fat run off. The links that Quonab provided show that the Korean grill surfaces are inclined or have some other plan to deal with the fat.

The communal cooking element is super fun. Thanks all for the advice! Try it!
posted by shothotbot at 7:59 PM on September 26

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