BBQ Korean chicken is on the menu today. Not in the form of spicy fried Korean chicken but my version of a classic roast chicken using Korean flavours. It's a super simple dish to cook. Spatchcocking the chicken helps speed up the cooking process, and the rub/glaze is just simply killer - no other way I can describe it. Sides with this one are simple sauteed/steamed Asian greens with a little soy sauce but more on that later!
What is Spatchcock?
Now this one is gonna give you a giggle! The term originated way back in the 18th century in the fantastic country that is Ireland. Not that I am biased. Back in the day, the direct translation was to "dispatch of the cock." Sounds bizarre, but truthfully it just meant to kill the chicken. Nowadays, the term refers to the flattening of said chicken to bbq, grill, or broil as they say in America. The beauty of this is it helps speed up the cooking time whilst allowing you to get that bone-in chicken flavour.
How to Spatchcock a Chicken
It is quite a simple job to do at home, but any good butcher can help you with it. If you need to do it yourself, all you need it sharp kitchen scissors, a chopping board, and a little elbow grease. Basically, place the chicken breast-side down on the chopping board, and you can see the spine of the chicken. Using your shears/scissors, cut down either side of the spine all the way through until you remove it.
Then turn the chicken over so the breast is facing up and place your hands on the back end of the chicken and press down until the bone cracks and your chicken is flattened. Check out the pics if you aren't too sure what I'm waffling on about!!
What is Gochujang?
Gochujang is a paste that's fundamental in cooking Korean food. It's a sticky, semi-thick paste that contains chili peppers, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. The fermented soybean adds some miso umami feel to the paste. I can literally add this paste to EVERYTHING. It's probably not something you will find on every supermarket shelf but hit an Asian store, and you will find it in a flash. Picture a spoon of this stuff mixed in with some noodles, added to some broth, with some fried eggs and bacon, fried rice, or in this BBQ Korean chicken recipe. Once you have some, you will be hooked!
Substitutions for Gochujang
There is no direct replacement for gochujang paste, traditionally it would be fermented for years in earthenware pots, so a "quick fix" can be hard to come by. The next best substitute I would use/make would be crushed chili flakes, a touch of miso, soy sauce, and a little sugar to balance it out. Not exactly the same as the real thing but as close as you can get in a pinch. Luckily the shelf life is pretty good once sealed, so my advice is to grab a couple packs for the pantry BUT get this - gochujang paste will last up to 2 years in the fridge once opened. If that isn't an excuse to buy some, then what is!!
Inglewood Farms Chicken
So lately, I have been working with these amazing chooks from Inglewood Farms. As you can see from this BBQ Korean chicken dish, the chickens are simply mouthwatering! Organically raised, these free-range chooks are well taken care of, and once you taste them, the difference is immediately apparent. They roam free, eating on grass, enjoying the Australian sun, and air like nature intended. I could sit here and wax lyrically about the farm and the chicken. Much like my old man has been doing when I have served him these chickens up, but the best advice I can give is to click through HERE to their website and see for yourself. Better yet if you are an Aussie native grab one and cook up my BBQ Korean chicken recipe 😉
BBQ'ing the Korean Chicken
Since moving to Australia when it comes to cooking, my BBQ is the first thing I think of. The flavour that BBQ'ing imparts into meat is second to none, BUT best of all is you don't need to scrub it down after every cook #lazy. Truthfully though, it's all about the flavour you get. You simply can't beat it. There are generally 2 ways of cooking on the BBQ. Low n Slow or Hot n Fast. Not sure what technique you like the best, but for me, you can't beat some good old low n slow cooking. With that being said, sometimes you haven't got all day, so you need to have a quickie - cooking that is!!
With this recipe, I like to have a little bit of both. What's the phrase? Eat your cake, and have it? What I tend to do is cook the chicken at a slightly lower temperature of say 160c and then crank it up a little at the end for a good hard sear. For this recipe, I'm gonna give you the instructions based upon cooking it at 180c so that you can perfect it that way on the BBQ or in the oven, but once you have mastered it, I would strongly suggest going it at a slightly lower temp.
BBQ Korean Chicken Ingredients
Chicken - get a whole one, spatchcock it or ask your butcher to do it for you and get marinating. alternatively, you can use thighs, drumsticks and/or legs
Gochujang Paste - a Korean chili paste. An essential ingredient in Korean food.
Lemongrass - a stalky plant that is VERY popular in Asian cooking. It gives a zesty lemon flavour to many dishes. Trim the top and base of the lemongrass - you want about the bottom 4 inches (once you have removed the root). Tear off any hard outer layers and give it a good bash with a rolling pin or frying pan. Slice it thin or mash using a pestle & mortar.
Ginger - another root vegetable that is incredibly popular in Asian cuisine. It has tons of benefits like help in nausea, indigestion, and cold/flu. Great in stir-fries, soups, sauces, marinades, and curries. Pro tip - use a spoon to great the ginger so that you maximise the yield. Grating is the quickest and easiest way to prepare it for cooking. Try it pickled like with my Teriyaki Salmon Toast, and you will be addicted.
Garlic - see you later, vampires!!! I certainly have no trouble in that department as I can't get enough of the stuff. Essential in every and all cuisine, I don't think I could live without it. Bash it with the back of your knife to help speed up the peeling process. Then either grate it or chop it and add some salt and mash it with your knife to make a paste.
Lime Juice - adds some essential acidity and freshness to the dish. Try cutting it in half, sprinkle of salt, and grilling it next time to get another level of lime flavor.
Soy - made from fermented soybeans; it's another classic Asian ingredient. Salty in taste, so hold back on adding too much salt to what you cook when using it.
Palm Sugar - a beauty of a unrefined sugar. Made from the flower buds of the coconut tree. It's not as sweet as white sugar, so if using white sugar in this recipe, use a little less!
Coriander - it's a love-hate relationship for many with this described as "dishwater" herb. My wife and I love it and use it as much as we can in cooking!!
What am I drinking with BBQ Korean Chicken?
Good question and there are many different options that work great with this type of food. Working with the guys from Wine Direct here in Australia we picked out a cracker of a pinot grigio from Zonte's Footsteps - 'Shades of Gris'. I picked this wine as I wanted something simple but that has a little bit of umph behind it. Their 'shades of gris' wine offers a little more bite than your typical pinot grigio making it stand up to food that bit better in my opinion. Bright acidity with melons and pears are the flavours I get. Shades of Gris is a cracking wine to sip on its own. As it opens up it only gets better and with food well, perfection!
This recipe is all about having a little fun and enjoying life. Well, I can certainly attest to opening this guy up whilst the chicken cooks and enjoying a glass during the eating process too made my day that little bit sweeter!
Alternative Chicken Recipes
If this BBQ Korean Chicken recipe has got your juices flowing to cook chicken, then check out these alternative recipes that might excite you just the same!
Simple Chicken & Mushroom Pie by Yours Truly
Chicken Massaman Curry by George Clegg of 'The Homecooks Kitchen'
Gochujang Chicken Salad by Amy Chung of 'The Devils Wears Salad'
Miso Fried Chicken by Yours Truly
Slow Cooker Sticky Chicken Wings by Adrianne Jamieson of 'Sweet Caramel Sunday'
Peri-Peri Chicken by Yours Truly
Greek Style Chicken & Salsa by Alexandra Cook of 'It's Not Complicated Recipes'
I hope you are feeling inspired to whip up some epic chicken dishes and as always Happy Cooking & Happy Eating Friends!!
- Inglewood organic whole chicken butterflied
- 4 tbsp gochujang paste
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp palm sugar
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 thumbsized piece ginger grated
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp lemongrass finely chopped
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 handful coriander finely chopped
- 2 bunches Asian greens
- sesame seeds
- chili flakes
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp ginger grated
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Mix all the sauce/marinade ingredients together in a bowl (except chicken) until combined.
- Mix 2 tbsp of sauce/marinade into the chicken, cover and leave in fridge for 1 hour or overnight where possible. Reserving remainder of sauce/marinade for later
- When ready to cook, separate the reserved sauce/marinade into 2 bowls *see tips*
- Heat oven/bbq (I used my bbq) to 180c and cook chicken for approx. 1 hour or until juices run clear and temperature at thigh reaches 75c. Half way through cooking brush with 1 of the reserved marinade bowls.
- Once cooked, remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 – 10 minutes before serving. Once ready to serve brush with remainder of sauce/marinade for that beautiful sticky glaze finish.
- Chop vegetables in ½ lengthways.
- Add oil to a large frying pan and place vegetables in the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes and add the garlic, ginger & soy. Turn vegetables, place a lid on frying pan and allow to cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
- Cut chicken in ½ or ¼’s and place on plate, place cooked vegetables next to chicken and sprinkle with sesame seeds and chili flakes, spoon a little of the cooking liquid over vegetables
- chef knives
- chopping board
- mixing bowl
- whisk or fork
- basting brush
- large frying pan w/ lid
- the reason for separating the sauce/marinade is you don’t want to baste your cooked chicken with the same sauce/brush you used to baste the raw chicken in.
- if you are unsure on how to butterfly your chicken then you can ask your local butcher. I find removing the breast bone speeds up the above cooking time by 5 – 10 minutes
- gochujang paste is a Korean chili paste. If you can’t find any then try make your own using chili flakes, soy sauce and a little sugar OR some Thai chili paste instead.