This summer we may have slightly over-committed ourselves. I had a sudden burst of organizational energy coupled with some vacation FOMO in the spring, and I advance-booked a number of mini getaways. I’m not complaining, but suddenly it seems a good percentage of our summer weekends are already planned. I’m glad we’re staying busy, but it kinda makes time go faster, don’t you find?
We went camping with our one-and-a-half-year-old for the first time this weekend. I was going to ask you to wish us luck. But we needed something something stronger than luck.
(Maybe someone could send me one of those child leashes that we all judged heavily before we became parents of toddlers who run straight for traffic/water/wild animals.)
When heading to a cabin or a campground, I like to plan and prep all the meals in advance to keep the effort really minimal when I get there.
I have a strong preference toward dinners with few ingredients that I can cook over campfire coals topped with a grill grate. Today, I’m sharing just that – a simple Bulgogi BBQ pork chop recipe, in partnership with Sempio (you might remember them from my gochujang-sauced Sticky-Spicy Korean Chicken Wings).
Sempio makes traditional, authentic Korean sauces and condiments, such as soy sauce, soybean paste, red pepper paste, and BBQ sauces. They’re a household name in Korea. I buy their products at Superstore, T&T and H-Mart in Vancouver, but you can find them online, too.
Bulgogi, if you’re not familiar with it, is a savoury-sweet Korean sauce. If you like teriyaki, you’ll love it. It’s got soy sauce, pear, pineapple and kiwi purees, and lots of black pepper.
I can hardly call the pork part a recipe, because it’s mostly just a matter of marinating the chops in jarred Bulgogi. I do reduce the marinade to a glossy sauce on the stove, and thicken it up with some cornstarch. But I thought I’d include the yummy noodle salad, too, lest you feel misled by the promise of a recipe (that is more than “open jar and pour”).
The salad is a delicious, fresh, crunchy accompaniment that I make on repeat all summer long with whatever vegetables I have on hand. Cold vermicelli noodles, an easy sesame vinaigrette, and some cashews or peanuts for crunch. A few handfuls of fresh herbs would be a welcome addition.
I’ve since used the leftover marinade on some pressed firm tofu and baked it – it was really good that way, too!
Bulgogi BBQ Pork Chops & Cold Sesame Noodle Salad
- 4 bone-in pork chops about 3/4" thick
- 1 cup Sempio Bulgogi Marinade
- toasted sesame seeds optional
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- ¼ cup cold water
- 2 cup snap peas
- 6 oz vermicelli noodles
- 1 cup chopped radishes or 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt + salt for boiling water
- ¼ cup chopped cashews or peanuts
- 1 lime quartered
- toasted sesame seeds optional
- Arrange pork chops in a shallow baking dish and pour Bulgogi marinade over top, turning chops to coat. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to 24 hours in the fridge (in which case, bring to room temperature prior to grilling).
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and cold water.
- Prepare a gas grill for indirect grilling (by lighting only half of the burners) and preheating for 10 minutes, or preheat a grill pan for 5 minutes over medium-high heat.
- Arrange chops on unlit side of the grill, letting excess marinade drip back into the baking dish, and immediately close the lid. Transfer marinade to a medium saucepan.
- Cook chops for about 8 minutes, then flip, close the lid again, and cook a few minutes more. Transfer chops to the direct heat side of the grill until lightly charred and cooked to 160ºF. Move to a plate and tent with foil to rest for 5 minutes.
- While chops are cooking, whisk corn starch into water until no lumps remain, then whisk into the reserved marinade. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook until thick and glossy, about 10 minutes.
To make salad:
- Cook peas in boiling water for two minutes, until crisp-tender, then immediately transfer to ice bath, keeping water at a boil. Cook vermicelli in the same pot for about 4 minutes (or according to package directions) until tender. Transfer to same ice bath.
- When cooled, strain peas and vermicelli and transfer to a salad bowl along with radishes. Whisk together sesame oil, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Pour over salad and toss well to combine. Sprinkle with cashews and sesame seeds, if desired, and serve with lime wedges to squeeze over.