This isn’t BBQ but I guess that’s what they’re calling it now. But really, it’s a stir fry. You can totally grill this and make it BBQ. For me personally, all that trouble isn’t worth it. This is how I grew up eating it so this is what I crave.
One major difference you’ll find with my recipes is I try really hard not to use sugar. I only use it as a last resort and when I do, I am very mindful of the amount that’s being used. This recipe for example only has 1 teaspoon of brown sugar added.
The only recipes that I don’t hold back with sugar are cakes and cookies, which is why you won’t see too much of that on my site. I’ll eat it for sure, but if I gotta make it, actually seeing cups of sugar being used is something I can’t get used to.
They do sell thinly sliced pork belly at Korean and Japanese markets for shabu shabu but they’re suuuuuper thin, like paper thin, also very expensive. I like to slice my own. Usually I’ll buy Kurobuta Pork but I can’t find it easily in slabs and since this is being marinated that extra quality is not missed.
Couple of things about mixing in the marinade. The meat is easier to mix with the marinade when it’s halfway frozen and firm. But it’s gonna be COLD. The faster and less painful way to do this is to place the pork belly slice by slice in a layer, pour on some marinade, and repeat until done. THEN mix it in. It’s not easier just dumping everything in a bowl and trying to separate the slices while also trying to mix in the marinade. Your hands will hate you. (FYI, I always wear gloves when handling spicy or stinky food. I buy the 3-packs at Costco)
The perfect bite.
Makes 4 servings. Takes 20 minutes active time + 2 hours marinating time.
- 2 lbs pork belly, skin removed
- 1/3 cup Gochujang
- 2 T. korean red pepper powder
- 3 T. soy sauce
- 3 T. mirin
- 1 t. light brown sugar
- 4 medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1/4 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 t. sesame oil
- 1 thin piece ginger
- 3 T. water
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (omit if you’re grilling)
- 1 medium cabbage cut into quarters
Prepare the meat:
Freeze pork belly until semi-firm (about 2 hours for me, my freezer was set to normal cold).
Meanwhile, make the marinade. Add the soy sauce, mirin, light brown sugar, garlic cloves, 1/4 onion, sesame oil, ginger, and water in a blender and blend till smooth. Set aside. (I blended it in a big cup with an immersion blender)
When the pork belly is ready, cut into pieces about 3″ long then slice into 1/4″ slices. For the end pieces that aren’t easy to slice, take your knife and rapidly and lightly tap the surface of the pork to flatten it or just cut into smaller pieces. If the uncut pork is getting too soft while you’re still slicing just store in the freezer and take it out when you’re ready.
Place the pork slice by slice in a layer in a big bowl. Pour on some marinade. Repeat until done and mix well. Cover and let it marinade in fridge at least 2 hours and up to 48 hours.
Cook the meat and prepare the cabbage:
Fill medium pot with water halfway and set over high heat and let it come to a boil. Once it’s boiling, place the quartered cabbage pieces into the water cut side down. Cook over high heat for 4 minutes then turn cabbage over so the other cut side is in the water. Continue to cook for another 4 minutes. The cabbage should be soft enough to bend but not falling apart. Remove cabbage from pot, give it quick rinse under cold running water and let it drain in a colander.
Meanwhile, heat up a large fry pan (I use a flat-bottom wok pan for stir-frys) and add 1 teaspoon oil. Add the sliced onions and layer the pork on top. Spread it out a bit if necessary so that it is covering the onion. Cover the pan and let it cook over high heat for 10 – 15 minutes or until it is cooked halfway. Uncover and stir. Continue to cook while stirring until most of the liquid is reduced.
Serve with rice and Ssamjang.
Totally optional: I had some extra perilla leaves so I cut those into long thin strips and used it as a garnish/topping. I also used it as wraps as you can see some in the background. We LOVE perilla leaves.