6 Foods to Serve at a Korean-Style BBQ Party

Korean BBQ has become a global culinary phenomenon, celebrated for its unique flavors, interactive dining experience, and the sense of community it fosters. Hosting a Korean BBQ party is not just about the food; it’s about bringing people together, sharing stories, and enjoying a meal in a relaxed and engaging atmosphere. The sizzling sound of meat on the grill, the array of colorful side dishes, and the aromatic marinades create an unforgettable dining experience. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or new to Korean cuisine, this guide will help you plan a perfect Korean BBQ party, complete with a variety of delicious dishes that will impress your guests and make your gathering a hit.

Korean Style BBQ Party

1. Marinated Beef Bulgogi

Bulgogi, which translates to “fire meat,” is one of the most popular Korean BBQ dishes. This marinated beef dish is known for its sweet and savory flavor, tender texture, and versatility. The key to a great bulgogi is in the marinade, which typically includes soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and grated pear or apple for sweetness and tenderizing.

To prepare bulgogi, thinly slice beef sirloin or ribeye and marinate it for at least an hour, though overnight is preferable for deeper flavor. When ready to cook, simply grill the marinated beef over medium-high heat until it’s caramelized and slightly charred. Serve it with a side of steamed rice, fresh lettuce leaves for wrapping, and an assortment of banchan (side dishes) for a complete meal.

2. Korean BBQ Short Ribs

Korean BBQ short ribs, or “Galbi,” are a staple at any Korean BBQ party. 

This Korean BBQ short ribs recipe requires you to pulse two cloves of garlic and one scallion until they’re finely minced. Next, add a peeled and cored pear, and blend until smooth. Combine this mixture with half a cup of soy sauce, two tablespoons of toasted sesame oil, one tablespoon of honey, and one teaspoon of rice wine. Pour the marinade over two pounds of Korean cut short ribs, ensuring they are well-coated. Place the ribs in a resealable bag or a covered dish, and refrigerate for four hours, turning occasionally to marinate evenly.

When ready to cook, preheat your grill to medium heat. Clean the grates with a grill brush and oil them lightly. Grill the ribs for about four minutes on each side, or until they are well-browned. Let the ribs rest for a few minutes before serving. The result is juicy, flavorful ribs that are sure to be a hit at your BBQ party.

3. Grilled Chicken Skewers (Dak Gochujang)

For those who prefer poultry, grilled chicken skewers marinated in gochujang are an excellent choice. These skewers are easy to prepare and cook, making them a great addition to your BBQ spread. The marinade, featuring gochujang, soy sauce, garlic, and sesame oil, gives the chicken a spicy and savory flavor that’s hard to beat.

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and marinate for at least 30 minutes. Thread the marinated chicken onto skewers and grill over medium heat, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and slightly charred. These skewers are delicious on their own or served with a side of rice and vegetables.

4. Seafood Delights: Grilled Shrimp and Squid

Adding seafood to your Korean BBQ menu can elevate the dining experience and cater to different tastes. Grilled shrimp and squid are popular choices, offering a light and flavorful contrast to the rich meats.

For the shrimp, a simple marinade of soy sauce, garlic, and a touch of honey works wonders. Marinate the shrimp for about 15 minutes before grilling over medium heat until pink and slightly charred.

For the squid, clean and score the bodies to help them cook evenly and absorb the marinade. A mixture of soy sauce, garlic, and a bit of gochujang adds a nice kick. Grill the squid quickly over high heat until tender and lightly charred. Serve the shrimp and squid with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a sprinkle of sesame seeds for added flavor.

5. Vegetarian Options: Grilled Mushrooms and Vegetables

While Korean BBQ is often associated with meat, it’s important to include vegetarian options to cater to all guests. Grilled mushrooms and vegetables are not only delicious but also provide a healthy and colorful addition to your BBQ spread.

Portobello mushrooms, king oyster mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant are excellent choices. Marinate the vegetables in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and a touch of rice vinegar for at least 30 minutes. This enhances their flavors and ensures they grill beautifully.

Grill the vegetables over medium-high heat until they are tender and have nice grill marks. Serve them with a variety of dipping sauces, such as sesame oil with salt and pepper or a spicy gochujang sauce. These grilled vegetables are sure to be a hit, adding variety and freshness to your BBQ party.

6. Traditional Korean Side Dishes (Banchan)

No Korean BBQ is complete without a selection of banchan, the small side dishes that accompany the main courses. These dishes not only complement the grilled meats and vegetables but also provide a balanced and flavorful meal.

Kimchi, the iconic fermented cabbage, is a must-have. Its tangy and spicy flavor pairs perfectly with grilled meats. Other popular banchan include pickled radish (danmuji), seasoned spinach (sigeumchi namul), and soy-braised potatoes (gamja jorim).

To prepare these side dishes, you can find many recipes online, or purchase pre-made banchan from Korean grocery stores. Arrange them in small bowls around the table to encourage your guests to sample and enjoy the variety of flavors. These side dishes will add authenticity and depth to your Korean BBQ party.


Hosting a Korean BBQ party is an enjoyable way to bring people together over delicious food and create lasting memories. With a variety of meats, seafood, vegetables, side dishes, and desserts, you can cater to all tastes and preferences, ensuring everyone has a great time. The interactive nature of grilling at the table, combined with the rich and diverse flavors of Korean cuisine, makes for an unforgettable dining experience. Encourage your guests to get involved in the cooking process, try different combinations, and savor the unique flavors that Korean BBQ has to offer. By following this guide, you’ll be well on your way to hosting a successful and enjoyable Korean BBQ party that your guests will remember fondly.

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