Samgyeopsal Gui (Korean Grilled Pork Belly) 삼겹살

Difficulty Easy

It’s easier than you think to make Samgyeopsal Gui or Korean Grilled Pork Belly at home! A popular Korean BBQ restaurant meal that’s simple and fast. Cook thin-cut strips of pork belly on a tableside grill. Enjoy with lettuce wraps, green onion salad, and sesame dipping sauce. An easy meal with minimal effort. Good for weeknight dinner. Fancy enough for dinner with friends!

What is Samgyeopsal?

Samgyeopsal, also called Samgyeopsal Gui, is Korean pork belly BBQ. At Korean restaurants, it’s cooked on a grill pan in the center of the table and enjoyed sizzling hot. The BEST way to enjoy Korean barbecue!

In Korean, Samgyeopsal means “three-layered meat.” Generally, it refers to the layers of meat and fat found in pork belly — which is the same cut as bacon. Korean cuisine treasures its fatty unctuousness and richness.

Amazingly, Samgyeopsal is easy to make at home. More of a method than an exact recipe, you only need a few components for a complete meal: thin-cut pork belly, lettuce leaves, green onion, and a good sauce or two. You can also serve rice and kimchi on the side.

To be clear, the pork belly is the star of the show. But the other components enhance and complement the porky flavor and cut through its richness. Everything is layered onto a lettuce leaf and eaten as a little vegetable bundle.

In our home, Samgyeopsal is a quick and easy meal. The only cooking required is grilling the meat at the dinner table. If you don’t have one, cook it in a cast iron skillet and serve immediately while it’s still hot. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • Thin-Cut Pork Belly. Look for thin-cut pork belly at the Korean grocery market. There are several thicknesses — ranging from paper thin to 1/4-inch thick. Look for meaty strips, as too much fat will make it rubbery and chewy. Also, make sure there is no skin.
  • Lettuce Wraps. Also called Ssam, a mixture of lettuce leaves and perilla leaves (kkaennip) are essential! They serve as the vegetable wrap for the meat. Soft lettuces are preferred: red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, or bibb lettuce. Perilla leaf, or Kkaennip, is a Korean herb that tastes minty and fresh.
  • Green onion. Cuts through the richness of the pork belly. Can be served plain or with a quick dressing made from fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, and sesame oil.
  • Sauce. Samgyeopsal is not seasoned. Instead, it’s common to season it with flavorful dipping sauces. At a minimum, I recommend the sesame oil dipping sauce. If you can, add a second sauce, preferably ssamjang.
    • Sesame oil + salt + pepper. A salty and savory dipping sauce. Dip the plain pork belly slices for seasoning. Serve in individual small bowls, one for each person, so they can dip as much as they like.
    • Ssamjang. A classic Korean sauce made with Doenjang or soybean paste. Although you could easily serve Gochujang Sauce or Yangnyeom Jang as well (sometimes I serve all three), Ssamjang tastes especially good with Korean BBQ pork belly.
  • Garlic and Jalapeno. Optional. It’s customary to add slices of raw garlic and jalapeno slices. It can be cooked on the grill pan or eaten raw, layered on top of the lettuce wrap.

How to make Korean Grilled Pork Belly

  1. Shred green onion. Wash and trim the green onion. Cut into 4-inch sections, then slice as finely as possible. Add to a medium bowl filled with cold water and soak for 5 minutes. The cold water will make it crisp and remove some of the raw onion flavor and smell. Drain well and pat dry with paper towel. Serve plain or make Green Onion Salad (Pa Muchim).
    • Plain. Transfer to a small bowl and serve as is.
    • Green Onion Salad (Pa Muchim). Add a quick dressing: fish sauce, gochukaru, sugar, and sesame oil. Mix well. *Add the dressing right before serving or else the salad will wilt.
  2. Wash Lettuce + Perilla Leaves. In a large bowl, wash the lettuce and perilla. Add enough cold water so the cut ends of the lettuce are submerged in water. Soak for 5-10 minutes so the leaves crisp up. Drain well and set aside. *For limp lettuce, soak longer.
  3. Make Ssamjang. While the green onion and lettuce leaves soak in cold water, make the ssamjang. In a small bowl, add doenjang, gochujang, sesame oil, sesame seeds, maesil cheong (can be swapped with maple syrup), green onion, and garlic. Set aside.
  4. Make sesame oil sauce. In small individual bowls, add 1/4 tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add a little sesame oil (about 1/2 Tbsp), just enough to cover. *Make sure there is one bowl for each person.
  5. Score pork belly. Score pork belly with a sharp knife. Set aside on a plate to be grilled at the table.
  6. Grill pork belly. In the center of the table, set a grill pan over a butane gas burner. Heat the grill to medium-high heat. When the grill pan is hot, add pork belly and cook until golden brown. Snip with scissors into bite-sized pieces as it cooks. Transfer to a platter or enjoy straight off the pan, piping hot.
  7. Enjoy! Eat the pork belly with lettuce and perilla, green onion, ssamjang, and sesame oil sauce. Rice and kimchi make nice accompaniments. Enjoy!

PRO Tips

  • Score pork belly. For tender meat that browns well, score with a sharp knife on both sides. Optional but recommended.
  • Cook until golden brown. For best flavor, grill the meat until nicely charred and golden brown on both sides. The fat will crisp up delightfully.
  • Add more veggies. It’s common to add more veggies when making Korean BBQ meal at home. Popular additions are thickly sliced King Oyster Mushrooms, which are meaty and delicious. Also, thickly sliced sweet onion or zucchini wedges. Grill until nicely charred.
  • Do not add oil! The pork belly will render out a lot of fat. Unless the grill pan is unseasoned, there’s no need to add oil at the beginning of the cooking process.
all the elements for samgyeopsal or korean grilled pork belly meal

Essential Tools

  • Korean Grill Pan. To enjoy tableside, use a Korean Grill Pan. It’s a special pan used for table-side cooking. For Samgyeopsal Gui, use a grill pan with a drainage hole for the fat. Pork Belly produces a lot of rendered fat. A drain hole allows the fat to drain away while it cooks. Make sure to add a small bowl under the hole so the fat can be collected as it drips down. When it gets full, discard or compost.
    • If the grill pan doesn’t drain oil, remove the fat as it’s rendered out so it doesn’t splatter too much. I recommend pouring into a small bowl. Or, use a wad of paper towels and tongs to sop up the fat. Be careful, as it can catch fire.
  • Portable Gas Burner. A camping or portable gas burner makes cooking Korean Grilled Pork Belly at the tableside fun and interactive. Look for ones with notched grates (vs smooth) so the grill pan won’t slip off. You’ll also need butane gas cans.
  • Kitchen Tongs. To flip the pork belly.
  • Scissors. Heavy duty kitchen scissors make cutting the pork belly easier. There’s no need for a knife — instead, snip the large strips directly on the grill as it cooks.
  • Small plates. For the sesame dipping sauce and ssamjang. It’s nice for everyone to have their own individual sauce.

Serve with

Classic dishes served with Samgyeopsal: rice, kimchi, and Doenjang Jjigae.

Or, add these popular Korean side dishes: Korean Potato Salad (Gamja Salad), Sesame Broccoli, Romaine Salad, Cucumber Salad, and Gyeran Jjim.

FAQ

How do I store leftovers?

Leftover pork belly can be transferred to an airtight container. Store in the fridge for 4-5 days. Store all the other components in separate containers.

Can I make this without a Korean grill pan?

Yes, definitely! If you don’t have one, cook on a cast iron skillet instead. Make sure to arrange all the other components on the table before cooking, as it will cook very fast and it’s best served sizzling hot.

How do I make a lettuce wrap?

Add a piece of lettuce into your hand. Add a perilla leaf on top. Add 1-2 slices of pork belly, making sure to dip into the sesame sauce first. Add green onion. Add raw garlic and jalapeno slices, if using. Wrap everything into a bundle and take a big bite!

More pork belly recipes

ingredients for korean grilled pork belly

Samgyeopsal Gui (Korean Grilled Pork Belly) 삼겹살

Lis Lam
It's easier than you think to make Samgyeopsal Gui or Korean Grilled Pork Belly at home! A popular Korean meal that's also simple and fast. Cook thin-cut strips of pork belly on a tableside grill. Enjoy with lettuce wraps, green onion salad, and ssamjang. An easy meal with minimal effort. Good for weeknight dinner. Fancy enough for dinner with friends!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Korean
Servings 4
Calories 1326 kcal

Equipment

  • Korean Grill Pan
  • Portable Butane Gas Burner + gas cans
  • tongs
  • Scissors

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs thin-cut pork belly
  • 1 head lettuce *red leaf, green leaf, Bibb, or butter lettuce
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced *optional
  • 1 Jalapeno, sliced *optional

Ssamjamg

  • 1/4 cup Doenjang
  • 2 Tbsp Sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp Maesil Cheong (green plum syrup) *can be subbed with Maple Syrup
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 green onion
  • 1/2 Tbsp vinegar

Sesame Oil dipping sauce (per 1 serving)

  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • black pepper *freshly ground, to taste
  • 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil

Green Onion Salad

  • 1 bunch green onion
  • 1 Tbsp Gochukaru
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tsp sesame oil

Instructions
 

  • Shred green onion. Wash and trim the green onion. Cut into 4-inch sections, then slice as finely as possible. Add to a medium bowl filled with cold water and soak for 5 minutes. The cold water will make it crisp and remove some of the raw onion flavor and smell. Drain well and pat dry with paper towel. Serve plain or make Green Onion Salad (Pa Muchim).
  • Plain. Transfer to a small bowl and serve as is.
  • Green Onion Salad (Pa Muchim). Add a quick dressing: fish sauce, gochukaru, sugar, and sesame oil. *Add the dressing right before serving or else the salad will wilt.
  • Wash Lettuce + Perilla Leaves. In a large bowl, wash the lettuce and perilla. Add enough cold water so the cut ends of the lettuce are submerged in water. Soak for 5-10 minutes so the leaves crisp up. Drain well and set aside. *For limp lettuce, soak longer.
  • Make Ssamjang. While the green onion and lettuce leaves soak in cold water, make the ssamjang. In a small bowl, add doenjang, gochujang, sesame oil, sesame seeds, maesil cheong (can be swapped with maple syrup), green onion, and garlic. Set aside.
  • Make sesame oil sauce. In small individual bowls, add 1/4 tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add a little sesame oil (about 1/2 Tbsp), just enough to cover. *Make sure there is one bowl for each person.
  • Score pork belly. Score pork belly with a sharp knife. Set aside on a plate to be grilled at the table.
  • Grill pork belly. In the center of the table, set a grill pan over a butane gas burner. Heat the grill to medium-high heat. When the grill pan is hot, add pork belly and cook until golden brown. Snip with scissors into bite-sized pieces as it cooks. Transfer to a platter or enjoy straight off the pan, piping hot.
  • Enjoy! Eat the pork belly with lettuce and perilla, green onion, ssamjang, and sesame oil sauce. The garlic and jalapeno slices can be enjoyed raw, layered into the wrap. Or, feel free to cook it on the grill for a few minutes for less intense flavor. Rice and kimchi make nice accompaniments. Enjoy!

Notes

PRO Tips:
  • Cook until golden brown. For best flavor, grill the meat until nicely charred and golden brown on both sides. The fat will crisp up delightfully.
  • Add more veggies. It’s common to add more veggies when making Korean BBQ meal at home. Popular additions are thickly sliced King Oyster Mushrooms, which are meaty and delicious. Also, thickly sliced sweet onion or zucchini wedges. Grill until nicely charred.
  • Do not add oil! The pork belly will render out a lot of fat. Unless the grill pan is unseasoned, there’s no need to add oil at the beginning of the cooking process.

Nutrition

Calories: 1326kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 25gFat: 130gSaturated Fat: 45gPolyunsaturated Fat: 17gMonounsaturated Fat: 60gCholesterol: 163mgSodium: 1004mgPotassium: 692mgFiber: 3gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1383IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Grilled, Lettuce Wraps, Pork Belly, Samgyeopsal, Ssamjang
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30 minutes, All Recipes, Dinner with Friends, Korean, Main, Pork, Weeknight Meals

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