Wouldn’t you love to serve your friends and family this so very flavorful Korean Pork Barbecue? Learning to cook like a chef is all about sourcing the right ingredients and applying the right techniques to cook the dish. So, get ready to learn one of this chef’s secret ingredients.
One of the great joys in life is cooking for my friends. As a chef, there is no better feeling than seeing smiling faces around the table after dinner. And occasional OMG I’m stuffed with a loosening of the belt.
That’s when I feel the most successful. Not after winning an award or accolade, but after making someone happy with the food I’ve prepared. It’s a good life when you do what you love for a living.
As I said in the opening paragraph, sourcing ingredients is one of the differences between a home cook and a chef. It’s not rocket science, it’s just finding the right ingredients for the dish you’re making.
Table of Contents:
What ingredients do you need to make the marinade for the Korean pork?
One of the first things I learned as an apprentice was to gather my ingredients before I started cooking. In chef-speak, this is called the Mise en Place (everything in its place). It not only makes the process smoother and faster, but it also ensures you have everything you need to make the dish you’re preparing.
A few of the key ingredients you’ll need to make the marinade may be new to you. Your local grocer may surprise you and carry most of them. If not, there are Asian markets just about everywhere these days, and you will find everything you need there.
Are these new to you?
- Dark Soy Sauce (thicker and darker with a more full-bodied flavor)
- Gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) (savory sweet and spicy chili paste)
- Mirin (subtly sweet, slightly tangy rice wine)
- Sesame Oil (oil derived from sesame seeds and a great flavor enhancer)
How do I marinate the Pork Tenderloin?
I love to marinate meats to give them extra flavor, and it’s really as simple as mixing the ingredients together and placing them in a zippered plastic bag with the protein and place it in the fridge.
I use gallon zippered bags and could easily fit two pork tenderloins inside the bag. You could cut the tenderloins in half, just be aware they will cook a little faster.
After everything is in the bag and it’s well sealed, move the marinade around a bit, working it into the meat.
How long should I marinate the pork?
Technically 35-45 minutes would be enough. But 4 – 8 hours well give you a more flavorful pork tenderloin.
*That doesn’t mean that marinating even longer is better. Over-marinating can cause meats to break down and become mushy.
How do I make Korean Pork Barbecue Sauce?
Let’s gather our ingredients for the Korean Barbecue Sauce. You’ll also notice that I have sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds for the garnish.
Making the barbecue sauce is fairly simple once you get all the ingredients together. The important step after bringing the sauce to a light boil is to let it simmer to cook and get the depth of flavor into the sauce. I would recommend no less than 30 minutes on low heat. If the sauce gets too thick, thin it out with water or orange juice.
Did you know that Caterers, Bakers, and Chefs from coast to coast, depend on Karo® Syrup for their recipes? That, my friends, is why it comes in gallon jugs!
What Can you use instead of Gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)?
- Sriracha Chili Sauce
- Thai Chili Paste
- Sambal Oelek
None of these substitutes will have the exact flavor but they will work well in the recipe.
When your pork is done marinating and your Korean Barbecue sauce is ready, you can preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and get ready to have dinner on the table in 30 minutes.
Remove the tenderloins from the marinade and wipe them down with paper towels to remove excess marinade from the outside of the pork. It will look much darker from the marinade, giving the pork an almost smoked and dried look.
Next, liberally brush down the pork with the Korean barbecue sauce and place it into the preheated oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the pork from the oven, carefully turn it over and brush the other side with barbecue sauce. Return to oven for an additional 15 minutes.
I always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temp of the meats I cook. Years ago, it wasn’t safe to eat pork unless it has passed 165 degrees internally.
These days, pork is best served as you would beef, and 145 degrees is my preferred internal temp. This leaves the pork a little pink inside. My wife will not eat anything that isn’t well done, so as you can see by the thermometer the internal temp is 167 degrees.
The pork will still be tender and delicious, but if you don’t mind medium-rare to medium-well, cook your pork to an internal temp of 145-150 degrees.
Then it’s just a matter of plating up your pork, adding some sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds as a garnish, and serving it with your favorite side dishes.
Can you use this marinade and barbecue sauce on other meats?
Yes, you can! This recipe will work well with Chicken, Beef or Lamb.
If you love a good pork recipe make sure to check out these recipes.
I made this tonight and it was really amazing! My SO was going crazy when I was making the BBQ sauce while the meat marinaded. It rated even better than it smelled! This recipe is a keeper, especially since I already typically have all the ingredients in hand. I only had to buy the pork, so that made it super budget friendly for me (especially since the tenderloins were on sale!). Thanks for sharing the recipe, I’ll be making it a lot more!
Can you cook this in the bbq instead of the oven?
Chef Dennis Littley
Absolutely. You may want to cook it over indirect heat for most of the process.
This was amazing & soooo good. The BBQ sauce is to die for!
Because I’m diabetic, I used rice vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar AND subbed 1/4 cup monk fruit “sugar” for the Karo. Also used Swerve – Sweetener The Ultimate Brown Sugar Replacement instead of real brown sugar.
This is going on soooo many different meats & in so many dishes! Thank you for this!
Do you throw away the marinade or can you reuse it?
Chef Dennis Littley
For food safety, never reuse a leftover marinade or serve it as a sauce; it can contain harmful bacteria. It must be discarded.
I’ll thin it with some broth or water, and cook it down for a sauce to put over the meat and rice.
I’m so into this marinade for the pork! I LOVE the flavors in it, and I think it’s the best way to have a super flavorful, hands-off style dinner ready any night of the week.
What a great way to give lean pork some flavor! Looks great!
Wasn’t sure about making a recipe with corn syrup, but wow, good to know – I never knew Karo wasn’t actually made from high fructose corn syrup. Definitely going to try this one now – it looks so flavorful (I’m gluten-free though, so hopefully tamari will still taste good instead of the soy sauce). Thanks again for the extra info/tips on the Karo!
Pork is a favourite in our house and this Korean pork looks so flavourful. Also love how easy and quickly it comes together. Perfect for busy weeknights!
This recipe is just what I’m looking for! It looks so simple, yet beyond delicious. Your pictures are making my mouth water. The video demonstrates just how easy the pork recipe is, too. Thanks for a great recipe. Also, clarification on corn syrup not being high-fructose corn syrup as many people seem to misunderstand.
I have never made Korean pork, and this looks incredible! I will give this a try for sure.
I love every single thing about this recipe! The marinade is delicious and I’ve already use it on chicken also! The barbecue sauce is to die for! I’d give this 10 stars if I could!
Thanks for all the tips on marinating in the plastic bag! I keep gochujang on hand and love the bold flavor it brings.
You really make this recipe so very easy – not unfamiliar or intimidating at all! And I think you’re right – I’m pretty sure I can find all the ingredients at my local grocery store, without even having to go to a specialty market! Even better? You can prep it pretty much all in advance, so the actual cooking goes quickly, which is terrific when I’m entertaining!
This looks so good! I didn’t know that you could over marinade meat!
You had me at have dinner on the table in 30 minutes. This Korean pork barbecue is bursting with flavor and has great ingredients.