Dak Kalbi (Korean BBQ Chicken)

I have been meaning to do this dish for a while but didn’t want to deal with cutting up chicken thighs for 20 minutes. But wanting to add something more “meaty” to the blog, I decided to get my hands dirty and cut up some chicken thighs. In order to get that single cut of “steak” piece from the thigh, it actually takes some precision and some knife handling skills (luckily, no major cuts or bruises). And after all that peeling, deboning, cutting, and lastly marinating ,it was all worth it. I got the savory sweet flavors that bulgogi marinades are known for but made even better with the tender and juicy thighs that were soaked overnight. The key, though, to perfecting this dish is to cook them on medium heat rather than high; otherwise, they will char quickly (because of the sweet marinade) without the insides being cooked properly (which is never good with chicken). We served them with Boston bibb lettuce and some dipping sauces. Now I can’t wait until the weather warms up, the perfect time for outdoor grilling and hanging out with the family.
Servings: 4 people
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Marinade time: 12~24 hours

 Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs chicken thighs, deboned & cut into single flat pieces
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 apple or pear
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds (garnish)
  • scallion fine strips (garnish)
  • 1 bunch Boston bibb lettuce
Directions:
  1. Peel off thigh skins by hand (if you’re strong enough) or with paring knife. Trim off excess fat. Cut into one single “steak” piece working around the bone. Save smaller pieces for cooking as well. Rinse thighs under cold water while removing outer film and slime. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Pulse the marinade ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  3. Coat the chicken pieces with the marinade. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator or a minimum of 6~12 hours. With a skewer or toothpick, piercing the thighs for extra marinade absorption is optional.
  4. Preheat a skillet or non stick pan over medium heat. Add the chicken thighs and cook for about 15~ 20 minutes or until cooked through. To ensure fully cooked thighs, use a meat thermometer and check for a reading of 165-170°F.
  5. Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with scallion strips. Enjoy!

*If there is extra marinade sauce, adding near the end of cooking will give the thighs extra flavor. Do not add until the very end otherwise it will burn/char the thighs because of the sugar in the marinade.

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