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Grill Like a Pro: Understanding the Different Cuts of Meat at Korean BBQ

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

Korean BBQ is an absolute must-try for anyone visiting or living in Korea. If you're a meat lover, get ready for an unforgettable experience! With a wide variety of cuts available, choosing what to order can seem overwhelming. In this post, we'll guide you through the most popular cuts of meat you'll encounter at Korean BBQ restaurants, ensuring that you have a delightful and stress-free dining experience.

What is Moksal (목살)?

First up, we have Moksal, also known as pork neck meat. This tender and flavorsome cut is an absolute delight when grilled to perfection. It strikes a perfect balance with just the right amount of fat, ensuring a juicy and succulent bite. Typically, Moksal is thinly sliced and served with a savory soy sauce marinade, enhancing its already delightful taste.

Cooking tips: Turn every 2-3 minutes to ensure even cooking. Slice against the grain to enhance the tenderness. Best served with: King oyster mushrooms, onions, and fresh greens for wrapping.

What is Samgyeopsal (삼겹살)?

Next is Samgyeopsal, the undisputed star of Korean BBQ! Sliced from pork belly, this cut is famous for its crispy texture and mouthwatering flavor. You'll often find it accompanied by fresh lettuce leaves, allowing you to wrap the grilled meat and indulge in a delightful burst of flavors. And let's not forget the variety of delectable dipping sauces that elevate the taste to another level of deliciousness.

Cooking tips: Grill until it turns crispy and golden brown, usually taking about 4-5 minutes per side. Cook thoroughly and turn it regularly for an even char. Cut against the grain to ensure each bite has a bit of fat on the end. Best served with: Fresh lettuce or perilla leaves; wrap with pickled onions and ssamjang (red pepper paste).

What is Ggeopdaegi (껍데기)?

If you're looking for that extra crunch in your Korean BBQ spread, Ggeopdaegi is your go-to choice. This crispy skin, left over after the pork belly is sliced, adds a satisfying texture to every bite. Ggeopdaegi is usually served with smooth and nutty injeolmi (인절미) or soy bean powder (콩가루) for a perfect blend of complimentary flavors. It's important to remember that this cut of meat usually takes the longest to cook, so you can either grill it alongside other cuts of meat or fry it separately for a delectable after-meal drinking snack. This crispy addition will take your BBQ experience to new heights.

Cooking tips: Best served with: Injeolmi (인절미), soy bean powder (콩가루), or sesame oil (참기름) with salt.

What is Ogyeopsal (오겹살)?

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Similar to Samgyeopsal, Ogyeopsal boasts an extra layer of meat and fat, ensuring an incredibly rich and flavorsome bite. With three layers of succulent pork belly goodness, this cut is often served with garlic and onions. It's then baked to achieve a delightful layer of crispiness on top. The combination of flavors and textures will leave you wanting more.

Cooking tips: Grill Ogyeopsal until it's cooked through and develops a crispy outer layer. It usually takes about 5-6 minutes per side.You even can bake or airfry it afterwards to ensure a crispy outer layer. Best served with: Raw garlic or onions to enhance the flavor. Enjoy without lettuce or vegetables to really savor the flavor.

What is Daepaesamgyeopsal (대패삼겹살)?

For a quicker grilling option while you wait for other orders, Daepaesamgyeopsal is the perfect choice. This fattier and thinner cut of pork belly arrives at your table as thinly rolled semi-frozen coils. It cooks easily and rapidly, making it an ideal first choice to get your taste buds excited. The flavors and tenderness of this cut will leave a lasting impression.

Cooking tips: Watch closely while cooking; it usually only takes a minute or so to cook through evenly. Best served with: Sesame oil (참기름) with salt or ssamjang (red pepper paste).

What is Hangjeongsal (항정살)?

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Hangjeongsal, the increasingly popular pork jowl, is a leaner cut of meat that doesn't compromise on tenderness or flavor. Grilled to crispy perfection on the outside, it offers a delightful texture and taste. However, be mindful while grilling, as the soy sauce-based marinade, often containing sugar, can burn easily. Keep an eye on it to achieve the best results.

Cooking tips: Grill for around 4-5 minutes--if it is marinated, be cautious not to let the marinade burn due to the sugar content. Best served with: Pair with a variety of banchan (Korean side dishes) for a balanced and satisfying meal.

These are the six popular cuts of meat that you'll commonly find at Korean BBQ restaurants. Each cut boasts its own unique flavors and textures, inviting you to embark on a culinary adventure. Don't miss the opportunity to try them all! And to complete your ultimate Korean BBQ experience, be sure to pair your meal with a refreshing cold beer or soju. Enjoy a feast that will leave your taste buds and stomach satisfied!

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