Korean Pork BBQ – Marinade Perfected!
Yes, we’ve nailed it! The perfect marinade for Korean BBQ Pork.
It tastes on-par with any K-BBQ restaurant here in Seoul!
In Korea, Marinated Pork BBQ is known as Yangnyeom Dwaeji Galbi. (Yangnyeom means marinated, dwaeji means pork, and galbi means ribs.)
Yangyeom Dwaeji Galbi is one of the most-popular cuts for bbq in Korea.
Compared to other cuts, this is much cheaper - take a look at a restaurant menu below!
But don’t judge based on price – Yangnyeom Galbi is one of the best-tasting meats!
Now, some K-BBQ restaurants will also use Moksal (Pork Neck) instead of rib meat for their Yangnyeom Galbi.That’s because pork collar is easier – and cheaper – than prime cuts of ribs. You need to find ribs that have enough meat to butterfly open - like the image below.
This cut is hard to find at grocery markets - even here in Korea. You have to order it online from speciality butchers.
So for our homecooking recipe, we will use pork collar.
How do I ask for Pork Collar at Korean Markets?
At Korean markets, ask for “Moksal” or simply shown them this text >> 돼지 목살 구이용
If you're at a Western Supermarket, ask for cuts of Pork Collar (which is also known as Boston Shoulder or “Boston Butt”).
Now it shouldn't be cut too thin. The cuts should be around ~1.5 cm thick - roughly the length of your picky nail (reference image below).
What goes in the Korean Pork BBQ Marinade?
We’ll build our flavor in layers.
The first layer is a base of fresh aromatics like: Ginger, Garlic, Onions, Spring Onions and Korean Pear.
The second layer is saltiness & sweetness from: Soy Sauce, Coca Cola & Brown Sugar.
Note: Coca-Cola may seem odd as an ingredient. But it does a fantastic job in tenderizing! I learned it from my mom - as she uses it in her bbq marinades as well.
Cooking Tips for Korean Pork BBQ:
Make some grooves in the meat so the marinade can seep into the meat.
Let the meat marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 12 hours. Even better, give it 24 hours!
When cooking at home, use a K-BBQ Grill Pan or use any non-stick frying pan. Since we added water to the marinade, it will not burn easily.
Initially, cook the meat on a medium-high heat. Once the marinade in the pan begins to evaporate – reduce the heat to a medium-low.
Tip: Use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the pork cuts into smaller bite-sized pieces once its almost done cooking. This way, its easy for your guests to eat.
Finally, serve with a bowl of hot rice! As well as some Kimchi or some Jalapeños on the side. A perfect combination!
Life doesn’t get any better with food like this!
So neighbors, did you give it a shot? What did you think?
If you did, tag us on IG – we love flipping through your pictures in the morning. Makes us very happy!
-Daniel out 🕺
(P.s. If you’re cooking alone, don’t get bored. Consider listening to our latest podcast episode while you cook!)
- 1~1.5 kg Pork Collar (or Pork Ribs)
Layer 1 - "Aromatic Green Sauce"
- ½ an Onion
- ½ a Korean Pear (Or ½ an Apple, Or 1 Whole Western Pear)
- 2 pieces of Ginger (Should be ~half the size of your palm)
- 2 Forearm-Length Pieces of Spring Onion (Use Both the White & Green Portion)
- ¾ Cup Water
Layer 2 - "Salty & Sweet"
- ¾ Cup Soy Sauce
- ¾ Cup Brown Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic
- ½ Tablespoon Black Pepper
- ½ Tablespoon Chinese Hot Mustard (연겨자) (Or use 1 teaspoon! of Wasabi)
- 1 Tablespoon Water (Mix it with the Hot Mustard)
- 1 Can Coke (~350 ml) (Note: Use 1 American-sized Can of Coke)
Prep Pork Pieces
- Cut a piece of pork collar into ~1.5 thick pieces (or find thick cuts at the market)
- Then use a knife and gently score the meat - don't cut all the way through! Make grooves on both sides - so the marinade can seep in.
- Note: Feel free to trim-off any large chunks of fat along the sides of the meat (if any)
1st Layer - Blend Aromatics for Green Sauce
- Cut ½ an Onion into chunks. Then peel and cut ½ a Korean Pear into chunks as well. Wash and then cut a few pieces of ginger (total of about half the size of your palm) and cut them into thin slices (okay to leave the skin on). Then chop 2 forearm-length pieces of Spring Onions (Use 1 Green & 1 White portion). Place it all into a blender and blend finely.
- Pour-out this aromatic green sauce into a mixing bowl.
2nd Layer - Add Sweetness & Saltiness
- To this mixing bowl, add-in Soy Sauce (¾ Cup), Brown Sugar (¾ cup), Sesame Oil (2 Tablespoons), Minced Garlic (2 Tablespoons), Black Pepper (½ Tablespoon).
- In a separate small bowl, thoroughly mix Hot Mustard (½ Tablespoon) and Hot Water (1 Tablespoon). Give it a thorough mix - and add it to the marinade.
- Finally, we'll add-in Coke (1 can - 350 ml). Please check your can size - to make sure its ~350ml. We are using an American sized can (not the skinny Korean sized cans).
- Give the marinade a few stirs to incorporate the Coke - but don't over stir! We don't want to lose the carbonation in the coke.
Marinate meat for 24 hours.
- Place the pork pieces into the marinade. Cover bowl with saran wrap. Then place in refrigerator for 24 hours!
Enjoy Korean Pork BBQ
- Take out a non-stick frying pan. Place it on medium-high heat. Once its hot, add the marinated pork piece on.
- Cook the meat until you get a nice sear on one side - then flip it over and continue cooking on the other side.
- Once the marinade starts to evaporate away, reduce the heat to a medium-low.
- Then use a pair of kitchen scissors and cut into bite-sized pieces. Stir-fry the pieces around until there is no more pink in the meat and the sauce has reduced into a delicious glaze. Turn off heat.
- Serve with a bowl of rice, with a side of kimchi or jalapeños!
- Bon Appetit ya'll!
Marc I says
A new favorite. Thanks for all the great recipes.
How many green onions (or total ounces of green onions) do I use to replace 2 forearm’s length of Spring Onion (which is unavailable where I am).
Thanks for this recipe, it’s better than how the restaurants marinade in my opinion! Very balanced, not too sweet (surprisingly!). We’ve found our fool proof Korean bbq marinade recipe for life!
Made this marinade after craving Korean BBQ and having no restaurant options to satisfy my cravings (Toronto is once again in lockdown). I've got to say, this dish was perfect! I followed the recipe exactly as Daniel laid out in the video and it turned out marvelous. Sweet, tangy, and with just the right amount of aromatics. I'd say the hardest part was waiting for the pork to marinate overnight! I have plans to make this dish again for my family in the near future. I recommend anyone to try this out if you've got the ingredients, time, and/or cravings for some authentic Korean BBQ. Thanks for sharing the recipe!