When I told people I hadn't experienced Korean barbecue yet, they were shocked. The fact that such a meat enthusiast had never enjoyed the wonders of this cuisine brought such strong reactions, I had to try it. And when I finally did, I was underwhelmed at first. Starting with beef bulgogi, the evening continued with one pleasant meat after another, but nothing quite lived up to all the hype.
That was until I got to the Daeji Bulgogi.
Daeji Bulgogi, thin slices of spicy marinated pork, was exactly what I had imagined Korean barbecue would be—a perfectly tender and flavorful pork with a unique and bold spiciness. I had never quite experienced anything like it before. It was so delicious, I needed more, preferably in my own home.
I made it on the grill and thankfully, it was everything I had ever hoped for. The gochujang, a fermented hot red pepper paste, provided most of the flavor. The other ingredients in the marinade played second fiddle to its outstanding spiciness. The fiery slices of pork were rolled up in Bibb lettuce, with a little kimchi and quick pickles thrown in there. Even with minimal sharing and a massive amount of Daeji Bulgogi, I still couldn't get enough of these little pieces of meaty excellence.
- 1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin and excess fat
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons gochujang
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon crushed ginger root
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 green onions, minced
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- For serving
- Bibb lettuce
- Quick pickles
- Type of fire: direct
- Grill heat: medium-high
Place the pork in the freezer until it firms up, about 1 hour. While the pork is in the freezer, combine the soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, gochujang , mirin, sesame oil, ginger, red pepper flakes, and green onions in a small bowl.
Remove the pork from the freezer and slice into pieces 1/8 inch thick. Place the pork and sliced onion in a large Ziploc bag, pour in the marinade and seal. Toss to evenly distribute the marinade, then open and reseal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Place in the refrigerator and let marinate for at least one hour to overnight.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over the charcoal grate. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place the pork slices on the grill and cook until the meat is seared on both sides and cooked through, about 1 minute per side. Remove from the grill and serve immediately with bibb lettuce, kimchi, and quick pickles.