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Korean Pork Belly BBQ (Samgyeopsal-Gui)

How to do Samgyeopsal (Korean Pork Belly) BBQ at home!

How to Do Samgyeopsal (Korean Pork Belly) BBQ at Home | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Koreans love Korean pork belly BBQ (Samgyeopsal, 삼겹살, also known as three layered pork). We or should I say “I” have to eat it on a regular basis, otherwise I go crazy. 🙂

According to recent research (2016), average Koreans consume 21kg (46 pounds) worth of pork belly meat annually and it accounts for more than 50% of total meat consumption. What’s more, there’s even a Samgyeopsal day (삼겹살데이, March 3rd), which was created to encourage pork belly BBQ consumption in Korea.

The way you cook Korean pork belly is quite straight forward. You simply need to grill the meat on a Korean BBQ grill plate until both sides of the meat are cooked (I prefer golden crispy texture!) and serve them with fresh lettuce and a spicy dipping sauce. As the flavour from the meat is quite savoury (some people may call it ‘bland’) on its own, you rely on the dipping sauce and/or other BBQ companion side dishes to add extra zing flavour to some degree.

Korean style pork belly cut can be purchased from a Korean grocery store or Korean butcher. However, you can also use the pork belly cuts from a regular butcher or grocery store. Just make sure they are skinless and cut thin – 0.5 cm to 1 cm/ 0.2 inches to 0.4 inches – similar to thick bacon rashers.

Below I will share how I typically do Korean pork belly BBQ at home, so you can gather some ideas for your next Korean pork belly BBQ party! Additionally, it might be helpful to read my 30 Essential Korean cooking ingredients article so that you know what to look for.

What I did before I start grilling the pork belly BBQ on a BBQ grill plate

It is important to spread some oil by rubbing one piece of pork on the grill before you add the rest of the meat. That way the meat doesn’t stick to the plate.

Korean Pork Belly BBQ | MyKoreanKitchen.com

What I grilled with other than the actual BBQ meat

You can grill pretty much anything you want but my typical choices are thinly sliced green chilies, sliced garlic, enoki mushrooms and aged Kimchi! I personally think these are must have items to enjoy Korean pork belly BBQ properly. Especially, golden crispy grilled mushrooms taste super ultra great. 🙂 Some Korean BBQ restaurants serve tofu, bean sprouts, onions or sweet potatoes to grill as well.

Korean Pork Belly BBQ - Other grilling items| MyKoreanKitchen.com

What I serve the pork belly BBQ with

Some Korean lettuce leaves, Korean perilla leaves, Korean pickled white radish, Korean green onion salad, Ssamjang (Korean spicy dipping sauce) and Fresh cucumber sticks.

In particular, Korean green onion salad is a must have pork belly BBQ companion salad. It gives a nice oniony flavour that’s sweet and sour. Most Korean restaurants serve this salad.

Korean pork belly BBQ: Ssamjang (Korean spicy dipping sauce) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Korean Spicy Green Onion Salad | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Korean Pork Belly BBQ | MyKoreanKitchen.com

In summary, below is some important information I want to highlight to enjoy Korean pork belly BBQ properly. Make sure you follow these! 😉

Enjoying Korean pork belly BBQ (Samgyeopsal) Dos and Don’t

Dos

  • Have some fresh vegetables with the meat. You can wrap the meat with some lettuce and Perilla leaves (Ggaennip, 깻잎). It is healthier and also helps digestion.
  • Bake some garlic and spicy green chilies on the grill and add them when you wrap the meat. It really enhances the taste.
  • You can also bake some fermented Kimchi on the grill. Some restaurants serve you 1 year old fermented Kimchi. It is not as horrible as you may think, it totally rocks. Some experts say that it is the best part of having samgyeopsal.
  • Cook the meat on high heat for a short time. That way you don’t loose the meat juice (you don’t want it to go dry).

Don’t

  • While the meat is cooking on the grill, don’t turn it over every so often. Apparently the more you do, the more it looses its flavour. Some experts say that only turning the meat once is best.
  • Don’t stretch out your hands to pick the meat from the opposite side. People can get annoyed by you. (Every wolf is hungry here!)
  • Don’t keep eating. You need to learn the beauty of cooperation by joining in turning the meat when it is cooked. You are a mean spirited person if you keep eating while the others work together to turn the meat.
  • Don’t eat the meat when it is burnt. I grew up being taught not to, because it is bad for your health.

Lastly, I have written and collated more detailed information about Korean BBQ in my free downloadable e-Book, How to Enjoy Korean BBQ at Home, Just like a restaurant, so if you are interested in that, enter your email address below to download!

Note: This article was originally posted in January 24th 2007.


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Written by: Sue

Last Updated: May 13, 2019

Hi, I'm Sue and I am the creator of My Korean Kitchen. Thank you for joining me in this delicious culinary journey!

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27 thoughts on “Korean Pork Belly BBQ (Samgyeopsal-Gui)”

    • I suppose so. If you buy the pork belly from a Korean grocer/ Korean butcher, the skin is already removed, so we never have to remove anything. 🙂

  1. I love your blog!! And I love pork belly too!! I’ve been cooking my pork in a frying pan and have to keep removing the oil. What is the brand name of the grill you are using, and do you have any general recommendations for finding a good grill pan for Korean bbq? Thanks!

    • Hi Johanna, You should check out this post where I discuss more about the BBQ grill itself. https://mykoreankitchen.com/bbq-grill-plate/
      I don’t have any particular brand that I recommend for a Korean BBQ grill. They are typically made by a small / medium sized company, not a recognisable brand.

      Also, most BBQ grills do similar jobs. I try to focus on the design and the functionality. For example, I prefer flat-ish surface (rather than obviously raised like a mountain) and something with a good drainage hole. Hope this helps.

      FYI, I’ve used this style of BBQ grill in the past and I quite liked it. My current one is a round shape. Other than that it has pretty much the same structure. (My sister burnt my previous BBQ grill plate really badly to an unrecoverable state, so I had to buy a new one. My old one lasted me for about 7 years and my current one is about 3 years old.)

  2. What medical or peer reviewed journal did you get your statement: Don’t eat the meat when it is burnt. It is bad for your health (The burnt part can cause cancer)?

  3. Yust love Samgyeupsal, cant get enough of the stuf.
    Normaly i have kimchi and green onion salad when i eat it. it keeps it simple and takes wery litle time, (as long as you have made a lot of kimchi, that yust sits in the fridge waiting for you to get a craving). The resipy i use for green onoion salad is for serving 2 people and have a crisp and klean taste.

    3 spring onions(preferably on the mild side) about 8-10 mm thick cut into strips 1-3 mm
    1 tbs sesam oil
    1,5 tbs rice winegar
    1/2 to 1 tbs toasted sesam seads (to taste)
    1/2 to 1 tbs grond chilli flakes (to taste)
    Make and eat instantly

    It is quite dificult to get even strips (looking good like you get in som resturants) when cutting the spring onion, so i got quite optimistic when you mentiond some kind of equipment to do the job, Could you please give me a name or a description of this equipment or even better where i can bou it.

  4. Do you have to use a portable gas range and grill? Can regular griddles or grills you simply plug up be used? I’ve been reading about these korean bbqs because I saw it in a movie and it looked delicious! I really want to make it, but I’m sure I wont use the portable gas range a lot… What’s an alternative to the portable gas range (if there’s any)?

    • Hi May,
      I know this is a late response, you can use other BBQ grilling equipment as long as it can drain the oil. Otherwise it won’t taste as nice.

  5. Thanks for reminding me how to serve this dish! It’s exactly what I was looking for in hosting my dinner party. By the way, if you don’t like the strong onion taste, you slice it thinner and then soak it in water to get some of the pungency out. This way, I can add more onion.

  6. I’m glad I found this – have been having a craving for Samgyeopsal and planned to have it during the weekend but didn’t know the side ingredients to prepare, so this was really useful. Thanks Sue!

  7. Lately, I’ve been on a Samgyeopsal binge–I can’t stop enjoying the taste of seared bacon cuts. What could be better? I’ve yet to try it at home though. I must say again you take amazing pictures of food.

  8. I think I know what you are describing. Though none of Samgyeopsal restaurants I have been to seem to serve it for free. I think it is called “Gyeran Jjim”, which means steamed egg.
    I sort of made it once, but forgot to add some water, so it turned out quite solid. You can see how it turned out from the link below (the picture is near the end).
    https://mykoreankitchen.com/2006/11/21/spicy-mussel-stew-honghap-jjim-in-korean/

    I didn’t post a recipe yet, but maybe some other time. I am pretty occupied with organizing my house at the moment, after moving.

  9. Sue – I love your recipes, they make me miss living in Korea and Korean food. One thing I brought back from Korea with me was a thick stone pot, maybe it’s “dol sot?”

    I have been trying to make the puffy steamed egg that you often get in ssamgyupsal restaurants at the same time as the chigae. Do you know what I mean? I never learned the name, we always just asked for “gae-ran chigae” and the ajuma laughed and knew what I meant.

    So, I bought one of the bowls at Emart to bring home fomr Korea with me and can’t get it right. One of my Korean friends told me to just put a small amount of water in the bottom of the pot, then pour in a mixture of beaten eggs with my leeks, onions and carrots, a bit of salt and then put it on the gas burner. But, if never turns out!

    I came to your website looking for advice to make it but can’t find this recipe anywhere. Do you know the best way to make this dish?

    Thank you so much and I hope you are loving Australia!

  10. Thanks for the information Ellie,
    I have to rely on a dictionary a lot since I don’t have much experience with western grocery shopping. I am learning from you and other readers as well.
    You guys have sharp eyes in spotting my mistake or ignorance. 🙂

  11. Hey Sue – those actually aren’t known as leeks in the western world, but go by the name of chinese chives/garlic chives (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_chives). These are smaller, flat blades as opposed to the leek which is much, much larger bundle of leaves (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leek). I know the translation from Korean to English is a bit difficult, I often argue with my mom about the translations as sometimes even the korean to english (and vice versa) dictionary isn’t 100% accurate 🙂

  12. Kat, It would be great if it is going to be the next trendy food. Though it is close to common food rather than trendy fancy food in Korea.

    Jennifer, that sounds great too. I should do that next time I have this.

    Rasa Malaysia, I don’t know about the professional look of my new template, though thanks anyway. 🙂 I use a Canon DSRL, but I am still learning how to deal with it.

    Tellos, I love it too. It is very addictive food indeed.

    Sandra, These are very thin leeks already, so it is very easy to chop.

  13. Malaysian Chinese use Pork Belly to cook this very savory soup…with gingko nuts…it’s a celebration dish too. By the way, I love your new template…it’s clean, professional, and nice! I also love your pictures…do you use a DSLR?

  14. In NYC, the korean restaurant I go to that specializes in pork belly bbq (Ham Ji Bak) serves the white radish with a mustard powder and a simple dipping sauce of sesame oil, coarse salt & black pepper to eat with the pork. Yummy!!

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