Sunday, September 22, 2013

Chuseok!: Gui-ing L.A.-Style Bulgalbi

Meat Hunx can't resist slightly catchy but for the most part nonsensical titles. So let's inject a little clarity here. And what better place to start than terminology.

Deinition 1 - Chuseok: Korean Thanksgiving Day! Tell an American about Chuseok, and, bewildered, they'll ask what Koreans are giving thanks for as if it's unthinkable that there are plants you can harvest and eat in other parts of the world. Usually, the holiday is 3 days long; but due to some fortuitous scheduling, it's 5 days this year. In addition to eating and hanging with the fam, Koreans get up to all sorts of wild things, preferably under a full moon. Activities include, ancestral grave visits, Ganggangsullae (an insanely badass circle dance), sandpit wrestling, and rice liquor drinking. 

Lunar gazing? Circle dances? Life and death? It's time to break out the motherfucking BIG GREEN EGG!! Gather round and behold the the treasures from it's roaring hot taste barrier-breaking halo!

Definition 2 - Gui: Now, don't get all up arms that this entry's title might seem like a slightly insensitive mispronunciation of the word 'grilling'. Quite the opposite in fact- gui translates to grill. 

Definition 3 - LA-Style: There are two cut styles for Korean beef short ribs. The first is the more traditional Wang Galbi (means King Ribs). It entails cutting the ribs into 2 to 5 inch segments, and filleting in layers away from the bone. The second, slightly more slick-sounding cut is L.A. Style, and entails cutting the meat in thin slices across the bone. This style allows the marinade to penetrate the meat faster. I asked two legitimately rad Korean pals what to cook for Chuseok, they both said Galbi, and they're both West Coast destroyers. So L.A. Style it is. 

Definition 4 - Bulgalbi: Adding bul to galbi indicates there's some grilling going on; slightly redundant above as I've already mentioned we're gui-ing. But all these new terms are making Meat Hunx feel authoritative. 

Ok, so here's how it's done…

Go to an Asian grocery store and ask for short ribs. I like New York Mart in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. There, a conscientious butcher will ask you how thin you want your beef cut by doing that Kids in the Hall 'I Crush' thing with their fingers. Go with thin for marinade penetration as well as grill time. In addition to five pounds of beef short rib, you'll need the following:

- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup mirin (rice wine)
- 1 small onion, peeled and finely grated
- 1 small Asian pear, peeled and finely grated (I went with a Xinjian fragrant pear)
- 4 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced

Rub the brown sugar over all the meat, and let it sit for 10 mins or until they hit room temp. While your Galbi dudes are taking a time-out, whisk the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Split the meat into two gallon-sized ziplock bags and pour half the marinade into each. Mix it up a bit, and drop those future taste bombs in the fridge for four hours. 

I suggest spending this intermediary time drinking rice wine and listing to traditional Korean music. But it's your world, bro. 

At the four hour mark, crank the egg to 300 - 400 degrees. I served my Bulgalbi with grilled baby bok choi and Ja Mushrooms seasoned in salt, pepper and fennel seed powder, plus some olive oil and lemon. Get these on first, as they'll take longer.

Then drop those bulgalbi on the grill directly above the coals, 4 minutes per side. And bam, it's over, you've won. 

기지도 못하면서 뛰려고 한다,
Meat Hunx

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