Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Grilled Beef Skewers with Korean Barbecue Sauce

I love the big, bold taste of the Korean red pepper paste called “gochujang” This warm, spicy paste is a staple ingredient in Korean cooking and is commonly made from ground rice, soybean powder, hot pepper powder, red pepper powder, and malt. Whatever the ingredients, all I know is this stuff kicks up the flavor of whatever it touches—meat, seafood, even vegetable stir-fries.

You may find gochujang sauce in some markets with an ample international foods aisle, but you’ll probably need to visit a Korean—or general Asian—market to find the paste. It’s worth seeking out.

For this recipe, I used the gochujang as a base for a Korean-style barbecue sauce to slather on tender, juicy grilled beef and vegetable skewers. I think it finished the meat, bell pepper, and onion with a hearty pop of flavor.

Note: I grilled the skewers on foil-wrapped bricks to keep the meat and vegetables a bit elevated above the grill grate. This common Japanese method of grilling is especially handy when you're adding a sauce to the skewers—helps prevent sticking. Read more about that here.

Serves 4

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce, divided
  • 1 tsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling and grilling
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 lb beef sirloin steak (about 1-inch thick), cut into 12 equal pieces 
  • 1/4 cup gochujang
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
  • 8 1-inch wedges of onion
  • 8 1-inch pieces of mixed red and green bell pepper (or all of one color)
  • sea salt

Beef Chunks
  1. Combine 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and garlic in a large, sealable plastic bag. Add the beef chunks, seal, and turn several times to coat. Refrigerate at least 2 hours (may also be made a day ahead).

Beef in Marinade
  1. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, gochujang, ketchup, vinegar, sugar, and 1 teaspoon sesame seeds in a small saucepan. Bring to a light simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cook, covered, 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Place the onion and bell pepper pieces in a small bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and toss to coat.
Sauce Beginning to Cook

Korean Barbecue Sauce

Onion and Bell Pepper
  1. Light a grill for medium-high heat.
  2. Remove the beef from the marinade and thread 3 pieces onto each of 4 skewers, alternating with pieces of onion and bell pepper. (Soak skewers in water 30 minutes, if wooden.)
  3. Grill the skewers until lightly charred in spots and the beef is medium-rare, turning a few times, 8-9 minutes (or to desired degree of doneness). About 2 minutes before the skewers are done, baste the beef and vegetables with the sauce, turning to prevent the sauce from burning.
Skewers Ready to Grill

Skewers Beginning to Grill

Grilled Skewers

Barbecue Sauce Added
Plate the skewers and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve hot, passing leftover sauce at the table, if desired.

Grilled Beef Skewers with Korean Barbecue Sauce

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