When hit with a craving for bul goki, many Washingtonians head to Annandale’s Honey Pig, a 24-hour restaurant that’s one of the area’s best Korean-barbecue joints. We found do-it-yourself bul goki that’s nearly as tasty in an unlikely place: the Capitol Hill Poultry counter in DC’s Eastern Market (225 Seventh St., SE; 202-544-4435). Owner Joanne Jung soaks beef in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, and other ingredients and packs it up for $5.99 a pound.
At home, put the meat in a medium-hot cast-iron pan with a little vegetable oil, and break it up with the edge of a spoon or—as Honey Pig’s servers do—with kitchen scissors. When the beef starts cooking, it sends up a column of smoke and the oil and marinade juices start to pop. Serve it over a bowl of rice with bites of kimchee—the spicy Korean staple of fermented cabbage—and it’s almost like being at Honey Pig. The only thing missing? Korean pop music and shots of the Korean liquor soju.
This article appears in the August 2010 issue of The Washingtonian.