Monday, February 18, 2008

Korean Barbecue (Chicken)

Korean barbecue has come a long way to become popular in the American mainstream food market. Most people seem to fall in love with Korean barbecue after trying it for the first time. So what is then Korean barbecue?  Does it have to be this fancy schmancy setting with the grill on top of your dinner table?  Guess you’re out of luck if you want to cook the darn thing at home.  I think it’s more of the marinade.  As you see above, this is not your typical Korean barbecue.

Drumsticks are rarely used in Korean barbecue. Usually, it’s beef or pork and they are the most popular choices of the meat. But I’m a man and I love chicken.  So what do I do?  Improvise…

1. Sauce
In a container, pour soy sauce (1/4 ratio), teriyaki sauce (2/4), fish sauce (1/4). In case you’re wondering what fish sauce is, look at this picture below. Nowadays, you can easily purchase this from any big American supermarket.

2. Condiments
Once you have the basic mixture of the sauce from #1, you can add minced garlic (1-2 spoon), a touch of sesame oil, sugar (you can also replace with sweetners if you’re health conscious. I use Splender), and some finely ground red chili powder.  The best kind to use is Korean sun dried chili powder. You can buy this at a Korean supermarket if you want.

The final sauce will look like this below.

3. Add chicken
I buy big packets of drumsticks and before I freeze them, I separate them and put around six to seven pieces in a smaller zip lock before freezing the rest I will not eat right away. (I live alone so this is perfect for me, but if you have a bigger family, you can use bigger zip lock and put more chicken in or even use the whole package from the market. Just make sure you eat up the marinated chickens within three days at most once refrigerated, or it will go bad.

You might want to make some cut marks on the chicken just so that the sauce will seep in better to the inside of the meaty area of your drumsticks.

When you are ready, just dunk them in!

Make sure the sauce gets into every piece in your container.

4. Allow 3-5 hours to marinate the chicken inside a refrigerator. 5. Bake or grill the chicken!
I don’t have a grill in my apartment so I just use the oven. For oven users, it is really helpful if you create an open box shape with aluminum foil like below so that you don’t have to clean the grease on your pan afterwards. Call me a lazy bastard for not wanting to do the dishes but all you gotta do is just throw away the foil. :)

Put the chicken on the pan and bake it for 20 minutes at 350 degree F. At this point, inside of the drumsticks should be fully cooked but the outside of the chicken will still be somewhat moist and not crispy and caramelized as you would want them to be. Take the pan out of the oven and flip the chickens over (they might be stuck on the bottom), and broil them for additional 10 minutes. This will give you a somewhat crispy texture on the outside.

After 20 minutes: At this point, inside of the meaty drum area should be fully cooked.

After additional 10 minutes of broiling: Now this is what I'm talking about!

Clean up?

6. Eat!
I usually sprinkle some sesame seeds on top to make it look better. Also it tastes better with them but it is totally upto you. Enjoy!

What not to do:
1. Leaving the chicken meat in the sauce for more than two days. It will make the meat really salty unless you add water to the mix. I would only put in the amount of meat you plan to eat in next 1-2 days. However, the sauce is reusable. Once the meat is gone, you can defrost more meat, make some cut marks like #3, and add them in.

2. If you leave the meat in the sauce refrigerated for more than a week, meat will go bad.
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