Step 2: Make a shopping list
Traditional Korean BBQ calls for kalbi ribs and bulgogi (thinly marinated slices of beef or pork), but if you don’t happen to have an endless supply of bulgogi at your fingertips (or local butcher shop), short ribs and chicken will work just fine. Remember, there's still honor in going against tradition, so long as it's delicious.
Ask your butcher for boneless chicken thighs and ¼ inch cross-cut beef short rib. You’ll also want to grab some gochujang (fermented Korean chili paste) along with short grain rice, white vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, fish sauce, ginger, sesame oil and seeds, and a bunch of scallions.
The veggies you’ll need will be for your banchan, so pick whatever you like. During our cookout, we used spinach, cucumbers, pineapple, and kimchi.
For a kickass special spice blend, combine some cayenne, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, sugar, and salt together in a bowl. While there’s no exact science to it, you can use Alton Brown’s 8 + 3 + 1 + 1 rub recipe if you’re looking for a little more structure. Han uses Korean chili powder (gochugaru) in his blend, but any old chili powder will still taste great. Once the sugar/spice blend hits the grill, it caramelizes the outer layer of the meat, producing that crisp exterior skin we all know and love.