A good barbecue can be a brilliant way to relax, but there’s little else more therapeutic than a Korean barbeque, prepared with Korean philosophy in mind. In South Korea, a predominant cooking style involves patience, care and acceptance that making good things can take time. This approach is influenced by Buddhist ideals, as well as some Taoist influence from China. Cooking a Korean BBQ doesn’t have to be therapeutic, but when you use the cooking process to immerse yourself in the present, you’ll enjoy the act of making the food just as much as eating the food.
You can use charcoal for an authentic smoky flavor, but many people prefer to use gas. You should be ready to take your time. With some recipes you slow cook the meat for a whole day, if you wish to. Find out how long does a propane tank last and just make sure you have enough gas or charcoal for the whole cooking process. You want to be as calm as possible throughout, so you want to avoid any panic at a later stage.
Chicken is a favorite ingredient in Korea, though if you can try to get broiler chicken; it’ll be a bit tougher than the chicken you’re used to, but Koreans find it has a better flavor. You can cook dak gui, as it’s called, with any chicken cuts of your choice, some garlic and scallion (although true Buddhist cooking rejects the use of pungent ingredients like garlic and scallion, as well as meat as a whole – use whatever you feel comes naturally to you).
Smash the garlic, dice the scallions (if you’re using them), slice a piece of ginger up and put it all in a bowl with ¾ cup soy sauce, ½ cup Korean malt syrup, 6 tablespoons sugar, 3 tablespoons sesame oil and 1.4 teaspoons black pepper. Flatten the chicken with a meat mallet and then marinade it in the bowl for 2 hours. When you cook the chicken, you can cook it slowly for 20-30 minutes on a low heat or on cook it on a high heat for 10 minutes. Make sure you use the marinading process to make some Kimchi potato salad or prepare some japchae.
Bulgogi is a style of dish most popularly made with beef, but it can be had with pork or tofu. You need 6 scallions, a thinly sliced onion, 4 crushed garlic cloves, a thinly sliced piece of ginger, half a cup of gochujang, ¼ cup toasted sesame seed oil, ¼ soy sauce, 3tbs Korean red pepper powder, sugar and sesame seeds and 2 tbs mirin. Dice everything up including your preferred amount of beef, place into a bowl and stir before marinating it for any amount of time over 1 hour. Put your BBQ on high, pull out the meat and then let all the marinade drip off. Then slap it on the grill, watch it cook and then turn it when it gets lightly charred.
While preparing and cooking, think about the dualities of life. Korean food is designed around the concept of eum yang, a concept describing how forces that might seem completely opposite or conflicting are actually interconnected and interdependent. Light and dark, high and low, water and fire are all eum yang concepts; think of how the flavors interact with the cooking process; for example, spiciness and the metal of a BBQ are traditionally said to contrast, affecting the lung and the colon.