Have you ever wanted to make samgyupsal at home? Today, we’re going to share our samgyupsal recipe with you! It might seem intimidating to make Korean samgyupsal at home, but trust us, it’s so easy, fun, and delicious!
The weather’s getting colder and there’s only one thing on our minds: Korean BBQ! With our authentic samgyupsal recipe, you’ll be throwing the best Korean bbq parties at home that your family and friends will rave about!
We’ll show you what ingredients you need and what samgyupsal equipment you should have to bring that amazing taste of Korean BBQ into your home!
Watch how to make my Samgyupsal recipe at home!
This Samgyupsal Recipe Will Bring Korean BBQ To Your Home!
Korean BBQ is a wonderous thing! Sitting around an open flame with good food and good company is a formula for good times! For those of you who have never tried it before, it’s so much fun! Honestly, I would love to open a Korean BBQ place in my hometown, but knowing the folks from there, they’d be saying, “Why do I have to pay to grill the meat myself??”
Valid question, but you just can’t beat that experience of delicious marinated meats, grilled on an open fire right in front of you! Not only that, but you have all of those delicious Korean side dishes (check out our recipe on how to make them), too!
But today, we’re focusing on one type of Korean BBQ (yes, there are multiple types!): samgyupsal. This word translates to “three-layer meat” and refers to the main type of meat used for a samgyupsal Korean BBQ meal: pork belly.
Pork: The main meat of a Samgyupsal Recipe
Whereas other types of Korean BBQs include many kinds of meats, from beef, to pork, to marinated meats, this samgyupsal recipe focuses only on pork. Now as I mentioned earlier, the traditional meat is pork belly.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with meats, pork belly is the cut of meat that American bacon is typically made with. It is not smoked or cured; it is served plain and eaten with a simple dipping sauce made with sesame oil and salt, or with a Korean dipping sauce called ssamjang (wrapping sauce).
While pork belly is the traditional cut for a ssamgyupsal recipe, Mrs. Eats and I have been to a great ssamgyupsal restaurant in Busan, South Korea, where they also served pork shoulder. While the pork belly has a fatty unctuousness, the pork shoulder was leaner and was a lot easier to eat in large quantities. If you ask me, the pork shoulder was the more delicious cut!
What kinds of foods do you need to prepare for Samgyupsal at home?
There are quite a few things that you need to prepare in order to have an awesome samgyupsal feast at home. Let’s go through each type of food that you will need.
Of course we have to start with the main star of the show! As I mentioned earlier, samgyupsal is all about pork belly. It should be the skin-off variety, which is usually what you’ll find on the supermarket shelves. Feel free to pick up a fattier or leaner cut depending on whether you enjoy fatty meats. If you’d like an entirely leaner option, then pork shoulder makes for a great option as well.
If you’d like a little more variety, you can make some of my spicy marinated pork bulgogi and serve that as well! It has a sweet, savory, and spicy flavor that’s great for someone who may want something a little different than plain pork belly or shoulder!
These are the second main ingredient you’ll need for a good samgyupsal recipe. Some of these should be cooked on the grill prior to eating. These include some type of mushroom (we like to use Maitake mushrooms), thinly sliced garlic, thinly sliced onions, and thinly sliced chilies.
The other variety of vegetables are to be enjoyed raw. The main vegetable is leafy lettuce. You can use any variety you’d like, but we prefer a more neutral flavored, tender-leafed lettuce like red lettuce or bib lettuce.
Perilla leaves are another type of raw vegetable eaten with most samgyupsal recipes. This leaf has a tender texture, and a strong flavor that reminds me of mint crossed with just the slightest hint of licorice. It adds a great herbal flavor to your bite of grilled pork.
The afformentioned garlic, onions, and chilies can also be enjoyed. If you do eat the garlic and onions, be aware of the impending dragon’s breath you’ll have!
3. Side Dishes
This is the third component to having great samgyupsal at home. The most important is kimchi. You can use any variety of kimchi you’d like, and that spicy pickled flavor works well to cut through the richness of the pork belly.
I also made a super quick pickled onion recipe prior to preparing everything else. I boiled some soy sauce, sugar, vingar, and water, then poured it over some thinly-sliced onions. I then put it into the refrigerator and let it sit until it was time to eat. The onions had a mellow, savory, and sweet flavor that tasted great on its own, but made our samgypusal POP when it was added into our lettuce wrap!
Another tasty side to have is some seasoned Korean seaweed. If you’ve never had this before, it’s SO good! Thin layers of seaweed are coated with a bit of oil and salt and are just so addicting! They have a light crisp and go so well with some rice, or wrapped in a leaf with some pork! This is the brand that we always get (See it on Amazon).
We also really enjoy having our Korean side dishes on the table. These include stir-fried potatoes, seasoned bean sprouts and spinach, and a simple Korean-style salad. All of these dishes are great to eat on the side, but also taste great when wrapped up with that pork! You can check out the recipe for all of these side dishes right here!
Finally, we round things out with a bit of starch. Usually, plain white rice is served. You can also kick things up a notch by making some of my delicious Korean glass noodles. These are called Japchae in Korean and have a delicious sweet, savory, and nutty flavor. It’s REALLY easy to make in large quantities and makes for an excellent side dish!
Don't forget the dipping sauces!
You can’t totally enjoy samgyupsal without the correct dipping sauces! And thankfully they’re incredibly easy to make! The first dipping sauce is a sesame oil dipping sauce that is made by simply mixing salt, pepper, sesame oil, and sesame seeds together. It has a great nutty, salty flavor that brings your samgyupsal to life!
The other sauce is called ssamjang and is a fermented bean and chili paste dipping sauce. It has a unique flavor that’s slightly sweet, savory, and fermented. It goes so well at making that combination of vegetables and pork explode in your mouth with flavor!
Should I grill the samgyupsal in the kitchen or at the table?
To tabletop grill or not to tabletop grill. That is the question! There are pros and cons to both and I’ll be talking about each of them.
Cooking it all in the kitchen
You can easily cook the meat and make all of the side dishes in the kitchen and bring them out onto the dining table if you so choose. The benefit of this is that clean up is easy and your kitchen is purpose-built to deal with the smell of cooked foods. However, you miss out on that great experience of cooking everything in front of you!
Cooking it at the table
Grilling the samgyupsal right at the table is a great experience that cannot be matched by just cooking everything in the kitchen. There’s just something primal and magical about food, fire, and friends and family. Grilling at the table can really turn a typical dinner into an event. The downsides are dealing with the smell and mess. You also need a proper tabletop grill to be able to do it.
One way you can easily negate the cons is if you hold your samgyupsal party outside. The smell and oil splatter will no longer be a concern, plus, you amplify that primal and magical feeling by doing it all outdoors! If you have the means to do it, I think this option is a no-brainer!
What type of stove will I need to do tabletop grilling?
This question is quite a big one to address in this post, so I’ll have an in-depth guide on which tabletop grill you should go with, so stay tuned for that!
However, if you’d like to know which one I personally use, it’s this one (See it on Amazon). This is a heavy-duty tabletop stove that uses canisters of butane. It’s made by Iwatani, which is a quality and trusted brand in Japan.
The particular model I have is built like a tank and can output extremely high amounts of heat. I use this for samgyupsal at home, cooking with my wok, and any other application where I need high heat. In fact, you may have seen me using it in other recipes!
If you were to ask me, it’s the brand and model I’d go with because it is made with strong, durable materials, and puts out incredible amounts of heat. It even comes with a carrying case!
Trust me, if you’re going to invest in a portable stove for Korean BBQ, go the extra mile and get this model because it truly is as powerful as your home stove, but way more portable! You can check it out over here on Amazon!
Don't I need a grill plate?
Normally, I would say that if you were making a marinated meat dish for your Korean BBQ, like my aforementioned spicy pork bulgogi, you don’t want to use a grill pan. The reason is because the delicious, flavorful juices that come from cooking the meat will drain away. For these types of marinated meats, it’s best to use a normal frying pan or a cast iron skillet.
However, you will definitely need a grill plate if you are making samgyupsal at home. The reason for that is because there is so much fat that will render out of the pork belly that you need a good way to get the oil off the grill before it splatters like crazy and begins to burn and smoke up your house. A good grill pan should have a way for the fat to drain off of the pan, and ideally into a reservoir filled with water. This particular grill pan from Iwatani does just that (click here to learn more about it on Amazon).
The grill plate consists of two parts: a top grill plate section, and a round, donut-shaped reservoir that you fill with water.
As the pork cooks and renders fat, the grooves in the grill plate help it to drain into the small holes. The oil then drips into the water reservoir. Because the bottom part is filled with water, the temperature won’t get high enough to scorch the oil and juices, which means less smoke and oil splatter for you to deal with!
Speaking of oil splatter and smoke, how do I keep my house clean if I grill on the table?
I will say that you will not be able to 100% mitigate any clean up that you’ll have to do, nor will there not be any smell. However, you can greatly reduce both with a few simple items and tricks.
With the amount of oil splatter and general mess from enjoying an all-out samgyupsal at home, you’ll be glad that you lined your table with these! I picked up some cheap disposable tablecloths from the 100 yen store and they worked great.
At the end of our little party, it was such a relief to be able to just gather up the cloth and toss it away. No worrying about oil, sauce spills, or mess! You can probably find something similar at your local dollar store, or you can pick up a six-pack here from Amazon! These also work great if you lay them on your floor around your dining table, just to catch some stray splatter.
Disposable Aluminum Stove Guard
In Japan, you can pick up these cheap aluminum stove guards, also from the 100 yen shop. They’re normally used in the kitchen to protect the backsplash behind the stove from getting dirty. I found that they also work great for a samgyupsal party at home if you’re grilling for two!
I checked Amazon for something similar and while they did have disposable aluminum stove guards, they were selling for $10! Ridiculous! I say, put one together yourself with some aluminum foil wrapped around a large piece of cardboard, or just skip it altogether!
Closing doors, opening windows, and improving airflow
After grilling, the dining area of our apartment smelled delicious, but the other rooms of our place smelled fresh and clean because we made sure to keep all other doors closed. Simple tip, but you’d be surprised at how many people forget to do this!
Also, you will want to open any and all windows in the room that you will be grilling in. Unless you just happen to have a great vent sitting right above your dining table, you need to get that smoke out of there! Also, setting up a fan to blow the smoke away towards the nearest window will help a lot, too.
How to properly eat Ssamgyupsal
When you are served, you may be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of foods on the table. It can be a little confusing on where to start, but it’s quite easy (and delicious)!
Start by laying your raw pork across your grill WHOLE. You may have seen some people cut the pork before cooking, but it’s easier if you leave it as one whole piece and add it onto the grill. Cook it until it browns on all sides, then use the scissors to cut them into bite-sized pieces. Here, you can check for doneness and continue cooking if need be.
Now, grab a piece of lettuce and add some grilled pork to it.
You can then add any of the side dish ingredients in there you’d like. Add some kimchi for a little pickled spice, some of the salad greens, a sliver of raw garlic, or anything that looks good to you.
Finally, add some of that ssamjang, then wrap it up and pop it in your mouth.
If you’ve never eaten something like this, you will find it VERY addictive and hard to stop! Try out different combinations of ingredients until you find your favorite!
Ingredient Checklist for Samgyupsal Recipe
There is quite a bit you need to prepare for samgyupsal at home, but trust me, it’s SO worth it in the end!
- Ssamjang (See it on Amazon) – You can make your own, but the pre-made sauce is just as good!
- Perilla leaf
- Japanese Short-grain Rice (See it on Amazon) – Soft, fluffy, perfect. This is the one we personally eat at home.
- Rice Wine Vinegar (See it on Amazon) – This is by one of Japan’s most trusted brands.
- Soy Sauce (See it on Amazon) – This is the one I personally use at home.
Tools for Samgyupsal at Home
There is some equipment that you’ll need for great samgyupsal at home. Here are the items that I recommend you have to make sure everything goes smoothly!
- Portable Stove (See it on Amazon) – I’ve been using this exact stove for over 3 years with no problems at all. High heat output, built like a tank, and useful for so much more than just Samgyupsal!
- Disposable Tablecloths (See it on Amazon) – These tabecloths are good quality for the price, and when you’re done with them, you can just throw them away!
- Korean BBQ Grill Plate (See it on Amazon) – This grill pan is great! It’s designed to channel the fat away from the food and into a resevoir of water to reduce smoke and oil splatter.
- Butane Gas (See it on Amazon) – These butane gas cans are made by Iwatani and are the ones I personally use. Good quality, clean burning butane.
- Tongs (See it on Amazon) – High quality tongs are one of the best kitchen tools you can ever have! I have this exact pair and have been using them for almost half a decade! Great construction and quality, and have never let me down!
- Kitchen scissors (See it on Amazon) – A good pair of kitchen scissors to cut the meat on the grill and to use for other recipes!
Don't forget to make our delicious Korean side dishes!
And our Korean glass noodles add some delicious flavor and variety to your meal! They go perfectly with this samgyupsal recipe and they also make a great meal in itself!
Turn an ordinary dinner into a special event with this Samgyupsal recipe!
You will surely have a great time grilling delicious meats, eating amazing food, and doing it all with people you love! So get to it and create an amazing experience that the people you care about will never forget!
Make sure you check out some of my other delicious Korean recipes! I know you’ll absolutely love them!
- How To Make Super Crispy Korean Pancake: UPDATED RECIPE!
- Korean Glass Noodles (Japchae)
- Silken Tofu Soup (Soon Dubu Chigae)
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Samgyupsal Recipe - How to make EASY Samgyupsal at home!
- 1/4 thinly sliced onion
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
Sesame Oil Dipping Sauce
- sesame oil
- sesame seeds
- Combine all of the [Pickled Onion] sauce ingredients in a sauce pot and bring to a boil.
- Pour the pickle brine over the thinly sliced onions. Allow to cool and refrigerate for an hour or up to overnight.
Sesame Oil Dipping Sauce
- Combine all sauce ingredients together and serve.
- Wash and prepare all of the vegetable ingredients, plate them, and set on the table.
- Cook the pork over medium-high heat until all sides are browned. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut it into bite-sized pieces and continue cooking until well done.
- Wrap the pork in lettuce leaf, perilla leaf, and add your choice of vegetables. Eat and enjoy!