grilled meat in the middle surrounded by many korean dishes

Difference Between Korean BBQ And Japanese BBQ Explained

Japanese and Korean BBQ are two different ways of cooking meat and also vegetables. However, these two have many similarities. Both Korean and Japanese BBQ is traditionally cooked with different fuels, like electricity, gas, and charcoal.

But how do they differ?

At first, we shall look at each type of BBQ independently before looking at the differences.

So, what is Korean barbeque?

Korean BBQ is becoming very popular in the country, and it has become a fascination for many people. Almost every major city in Korea has a BBQ restaurant, and interesting ingredients like gochujang and kimchi have found their way into the menus of these restaurants. Even though this cooking and eating style is not new in Korea, it’s becoming common in North America.

However, there is one question in the minds of many people. What is Korean BBQ? Well, this is a unique grilling experience, which focuses on cooking and eating. In a typical Korean BBQ restaurant, every person gathers around a grill, which is mostly placed in the middle of a table. Then, you will be served with plates of meat (raw), as well as other side dishes, like banchan, and then everyone can start to cook and eat their own food.

This is very interesting since you get the opportunity to bring your family and friends around the table, and have the chance to cook and eat as a group. In addition, everybody gets the opportunity to participate in the grilling process. This means that no one will miss out on the grilling fun.

Also read: the best tabletop Yakitori grills for a Japanese style grill

Here is the history of Korean BBQ

Korean BBQ has a fascinating history, and it has come a long way, from its primordial origins to the place where it is now recognized globally. So, how did the Korean BBQ get introduced to the word? Well, here is how it happened.

It is believed that Koreans came from the eastern barbarians of Maek, a group of nomadic people who moved from Central Asia to the east. The group finally reached Northeast Asia, which it today’s Korea. The most interesting thing about this group is that it came with a unique meat dish, which assisted them to beat the harsh elements they face during their migration.

The name of this dish was known as Maekjeok, and it consisted of meat cuttings that were already seasoned before being cooked. Their cooking technique was different from the techniques used in traditional Chinese meat dishes, where the meat is seasoned after cooking. This group pre-seasoned their food because of a simple reason—to save time when it comes to food preparation since they were always on the move. This style of eating seasoned meat before being grilled became popular across the Korean peninsula, and a lot of locals adopted it.

What’s the difference between Japanese BBQ and Korean BBQ?

When making a comparison between these two forms of BBQ, you need to compare several BBQ subcategories. First, it’s important to note that Korean BBQ has two main categories, known as galbi and bulgogi. Galbi consists of beef short ribs. Bulgogi, on the other hand, consists of beef tenderloin or sirloin. Before the grilling starts, the beef is sliced into thin slices and then marinated. Bulgogi is the most common type of Korean BBQ, and also popular in the western world.

Japanese barbecue, on the other hand, has its subcategories too. These include Teppanyaki and Yakiniku. It is believed that yakiniku originated from Korea since there is yakiniku done as bulgogi, which is designed to attract Japanese eaters. Teppanyaki basically means food grilled on an iron plate.

One notable thing about Korean is that it’s severed with a number or side dishes compared to Japanese BBQ. A lot of things, from dried squid to kimchi, and other interesting side dishes can accompany a Korean BBQ. The side dishes are known as banchan dishes. Japanese BBQ, on the other hand, consists of a selection of raw veggies, which are served together with the grilled meat.

A Korean BBQ relies on marinades for adding flavors, while Japanese BBQ relies on the sauce. The dipping sauces include mirin, garlic, and soy sauce, among other interesting ingredients.

Although beef is the most common meat used in these two BBQ styles, Korean BBQ also comprises or chicken and pork prominently. In the case of Japanese BBQ, beef is the most common ingredient, but chicken is also used in some cases. In Japan, grilled chicken is known as yakitori, and it’s served on skewers.

You should check out these Japanese cookbooks. I’ve reviewed 23 of them that cover every cooking style you can think of.

Can you replace Korean BBQ with Japanese BBQ or vice versa?

As highlighted earlier, Korean BBQ relies heavily on marinades, and it’s not a must to use high-quality meat. Therefore, it’s a bit hard to confuse Korean BBQ with Japanese BBQ. In addition, a Korean barbecue cannot satisfy someone who is looking for the beefy intensity and clean flavors found in the Japanese barbecue.

The main focus of a Japanese barbecue is the taste of the beef. It’s important to understand that the Japanese are very serious with their beef, and this can be reflected in the various types of Japanese barbecue. This means that the Japanese rarely use marinades, and also the traditional sides are not so exciting. Therefore, a Japanese BBQ is not the right choice for you if you are looking for a meal with different flavors.

However, you need to note that both the Japanese and Korean BBQ consist of grilled meat, as well as Asian flavors. If you have not familiarized yourself with any, just know that both can offer you a memorable and enjoyable experience.

When can you use Japanese BBQ or Korean BBQ?

Korean barbecue is ideal in situations when you want to enjoy numerous side dishes, as well as the mouthwatering flavor of seasoned meat. It is said that Korean BBQ is for adventurous people who want to arouse the excitement in their taste buds.

Japanese barbecue, on the contrary, is usually reserved for high-quality beef, which is cooked using top quality fuel. Even though this BBQ comprises dipping sauce, the beef is the main star of the mean. In addition, you need to understand that Japanese BBQ can be costly, especially when using binchotan charcoal and wagyu beef. But, Japanese BBQ is ideal for small groups instead of larger gatherings.

Different types of Korean BBQ

  • Samgyeopsal (pork belly) – Pork belly is the most common pork cut in Korean. Its Korean name, samgyeopsal, which means layers of fat is a slice of flavorful pork and fatty marbled pork cut. Its other common name is liempo, which is a full Lechon kawali cut, sliced to about ¼ inch thick pieces. These sliced strips make sure every piece cooks fast, and also the surface is heated with enough heat to burn the layers of fat. This leaves you with juicy and char-roasted meat, which makes people ask for more and more.
  • Galbi (boneless beef/short ribs) – This is common in any Korean restaurant, just like the pork belly. In Japanese, it’s known as karubi, and it can be used I yakiniku. However, the Korean marinade is the ingredient that makes this boneless beef or short ribs delicious and different. It is usually marinated in garlic and classic soy sauce. However, the marinade contains fruits that give the meet sweetness and flavor, and also assist in tenderizing it. When preparing this barbecue, you don’t have to worry if you don’t have any marinade, since you can get one at your local chain store.
  • Bulgogi (sirloin beef strips) – Well, if you are searching for the tenderest bulgogi, then you can look for beef from New Zealand, US, or Australia. The marinade for bulgogi is made with garlic, ginger, onion, sugar, and soy sauce. Sesame oil is used to add some more aroma and flavor to the beef. You can also get this marinade at your local chain store.
  • Dak Galbi (boneless chicken) – If you can switch your meats and use the bulgogi or galbi sauces to marinate your filleted or boneless chicken pieces. The best chicken parts to use should be either breast fillets (thinly sliced) or thighs (boneless). You should make sure that you marinate them in these sauces. Also, you can opt to keep your meat un-marinated, and allow your guests to dip their pieces in the sauce, which should be served on the side.
  • Deungsim (ribeye or sirloin steak) – You can also include steak cuts like ribeye or sirloin to your BBQ. The ribeye can be the best choice since it will give you the best result—a chunk of beef with the fat that you need for the perfect grilling.
  • Usamgyeop (beef belly slices) and chadolbaegi (beef brisket strips) – These two pieces of meat resemble slices of rolled-up bacon. The most interesting thing about these slices is that they are easy and require minimum effort to cook. But, the most important thing is how you get your cut from your butcher. Always make sure that the cuts are frozen, as this prevents the fat layers from melting.

You should never forget the sides when serving these meats. Every spread should be accompanied by saucers of doenjang—Korean fermented sauces (salty bean paste), as well as gochujang, a spicy chili paste, salt, and sesame oil. You can sprinkle or dip the sauces on your meat once it’s cooked. Also, if you can find konggarhu or soybean powder, it can be an amazing seasoning on your grilled meat. In addition to this, there are various vegetables like com, leeks, mushrooms, and asparagus that you can grill alongside your meat.

Also there the side dishes, which include lettuce leaves, kimchi, pickled cucumbers, slices of marinated garlic, and other interesting options that you can serve alongside the grilled meat.

Different types of Japanese BBQ

  • Teppanyaki – Just as its name suggests, Teppanyaki means teppan-style of cooking, which features vegetable and meat grilled on an iron plate. This is one of the common BBQ styles in Japan, and it has spread to other parts of the world. Teppanyaki chefs usually mesmerize their guests with their skills as they manipulate their ingredients on the grill with pizazz and flair. Teppanyaki is also referred to as hibachi in other parts of the world.
  • Yakitori and yakiton – These are two common types of Japanese BBQ. Yakitori is grilled meat, with different parts of the chicken, which are grilled using charcoal until they are tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. Yakiton, on the other hand, it the same style of cooking yakitori, buy the main ingredient is port. Both yakitori and yakiton aim at using every part of the entire animal. Therefore, you should never be surprised to see things like pork intestines or chicken hearts on the menu.
  • Yakiniku – This is a Japanese equal of BBQ, which consists of bite-sized beef and pork slices that are grilled over charcoal. It is said that this grilling style came from Korea, but it has it owns different types of dipping sauces and marinades.

Korean Grills

grilled skewers

But first, how do you choose the best Korean grill?

Here are some of the things that you should look out for

  • The heat source – some grills come with a built-in heat source, while others will need a portable stove as a source of heat. Some of the heat sources include gas or electricity.
  • Size – it is important to note that grills come in different sizes, from portable, table tops, to non-portable. Therefore, make sure that you choose a grill that suits all your needs, and that will not consume too much of your space.
  • Grease management system – grilling, especially Korean BBQ, tends to be messy, particularly when grilling pork belly. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the grill you choose has grease collection trays to reduce the mess.
  • Material – different grills are made of different materials. Some of these materials include Teflon, marble top, steel, and cast aluminum.

Chefman Electric Smokeless Indoor Grill

  • Less smoke and improved grilled flavor – the Chefman Electric Smokeless Indoor Grill is ideal for indoor grilling since it doesn’t produce a lot of smoke like conventional indoor grills. This means your grilling cannot be limited by weather, especially in those cold days where you cannot grill outdoors. However, you must make sure that the drip tray water levels are between the minimum and maximum water level to achieve the smokeless indoor grilling.
  • Temperature controls – the grill has adjustable temperature controls, which allows you to cook whatever you like to perfection. In addition to this, it has a large cooking surface, which also allows you to grill several items at the same time.
  • Easy to clean – since this grill comes with a non-stick surface, it means that you can clean the grill with much ease. In addition to this, it’s very easy to disassemble the grill, which even makes cleaning much easier. Furthermore, the removable grill top and drip tray are dishwasher safe.
  • Safety – the grill doesn’t produce harmful fumes and has cool-touch handles. In addition, it has an overheat auto shut-off protection, which offers extra safety. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about the grill overheating.

Elite Platinum EMG-980B Grill

  • Ideal for indoor use – the Elite Platinum EMG-980B Grill is an indoor electric grill. This means that you can use this grill safely indoors to entertain your family and guests. With this grill, you don’t to be worried about the rain ruining your BBQ.
  • Larger grilling – this grill comes with a 14 “ grilling surface, which means you can grill your steaks, vegetables, ribs, and other ingredients all at once. In addition to this, the grill has a non-stick surface, which means you don’t have to worry about your food sticking as you cook. The grill also comes with a removable 1400W thermostat with 5 temperature controls.
  • Faster and even heating – this gill has a circular heating element, which makes the grill to heat more evenly and faster, thus allowing you to cook your steaks to perfection. The fat in the meat will drip off the grill, and its cool touch handles and base will prevent you from suffering nasty burns.
  • Easy to clean – if you own a grill, then you know how hard and frustrating it can be to clean one. However, this electric grill has detachable parts, which makes cleaning easier. This will save you valuable time after enjoying your grilled food.

CookKing CKMT Master Grill Pan

  • The CookKing CKMT Master Grill Pan comes equipped with a nonstick titanium coating, which makes it one of the most durable cookware in the market. In addition to this, this is one of the best tools for low-fat diets. This grill will assist you in managing fat, cholesterol, calorie, and carb intake,
  • Creative innovation – this is an innovative grill that can grill different types of meats, veggies, and fish. The CookKing CKMT Master Grill Pan will give you fun and wonderful to enjoy your BBQ party.
  • Flexibility – you can use this grill both indoors and outdoors so long as you have a gas stove
  • Healthy cooking – the grill is equipped with a grease drain system

TeChef – Stovetop Korean BBQ Non-Stick Grill Pan

  • Nonstick surface – this is one of the world’s best grills and its coated 5 times with DuPont Teflon Print designs.
  • Amazing innovation – its unique design allows the oil to drain from your meat, which gives it an additional flavor.
  • Versatile – this grill is ideal for outdoor and indoor use, so long as you have a gas stove
  • Healthy cooking – with a grease draining system, this grill will drain excess fat from your meat, allowing you to eat healthier meat.

Japanese grills

Presto 07061 22-inch Electric Griddle With Removable Handles – perfect for Teppanyaki

  • The grill has a large cooking surface, which makes it ideal for preparing a family meal
  • It comes with detachable handles, which make cleaning and storage easier. You don’t need any tools to remove the handles, and its base can be stored in an 18-inch kitchen cabinet.
  • Another notable feature is its nonstick surface, which also makes cleaning easier. The textured, grilling surface gives the grill an improved nonstick performance.
  • In addition, the grill has heat control settings, which allows you to maintain the required grilling temperature.
  • Its aluminum base is designed to be warp-proof
  • The grill comes with a removable drip tray, which also makes cleaning easier

Mr. Flame Son of Hibachi Portable Vintage Cast Iron Charcoal Grill

  • This is designed with a blast furnace concept and a chimney effect that allows one to grill in less than 15 minutes. Besides, this concept ensures that you get consistent heating under your grill.
  • The Mr. Flame Son of Hibachi Portable Vintage Cast Iron Charcoal Grill has a cooking surface of 170 square inch, which allows one to cook a different variety of foods.
  • One exciting thing about this grill is that it can fold into a self-cleaning oven, as well as a self-extinguishing BBQ. In addition to that, the grill has the ability to save unused charcoal, which means you can use it in your next grilling occasion. This saves you valuable time and money.
  • The main material in this grill is carbon steel, with cooking grids of cast iron, and convenient handles that allow you carry they grill. These handles can also fold to become legs for the grill.

Bottom line

As we have seen, there is not much difference between Japanese BBQ and Korean BBQ. Mostly, it’s a matter of the ingredients that you use, as well as the additional spices found in Korean BBQ. However, these are two styles of barbecue that you can choose to try out in your home, whether with your family, or your guests.

In addition, the grills can be found easily in different online stores, and choosing the best one will allow you to have an unforgettable grilling experience. However, when choosing a grill, it is important to make sure that you choose a grill that will serve your needs, as well as one that will fit into the place you have intended to keep it.

Also read: these are the Japanese noodles varieties

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