Celebrate July 4 with a different type of grilled feast

On the birthday of our nation this year, we think it’s important to have an extra-special celebration and to really ponder what it means to live in a democratic America.

To usher in this holiday, we’ve chosen a different take on the traditional barbecue with this Korean-inspired menu. There are so many rich, diverse cultural traditions in America, and the many immigrants who have come to this country to enjoy freedom are what make this nation such a wonderful melting pot. We think for a Fourth of July cookout, it’s particularly apropos to try something different. The spicy, grilled meats of Korean cooking are in keeping with the kind of cuisine we’re accustomed to in south Louisiana, and the fresh, tangy condiments make good use of some of our finest seasonal produce.

These recipes are all easy to prepare in advance, and the flavors are interesting enough to keep family and friends coming back for seconds. We hope you’ll enjoy them, and that they’ll serve as a reminder the world really isn’t that big. After all, part of what has made America so great is finding a place at the dinner table for everyone.

• Kimchi Slaw
• Spicy Korean Pickled Cucumbers
• Bulgogi Beef
• Korean Barbecue Chicken
• Lemon-scented Thumbprint Cookies with Lemon Buttermilk Glaze

KIMCHI SLAW (pictured above)

Kimchi is a staple in Korean cuisine. It is a spicy and pungent mixture of cabbage and radishes that have been pickled and fermented. Traditionally, it is stored in large clay pots that are sealed and buried in the ground. It is served as a condiment with just about everything in Korean cooking. We took a lot of the hassle out of making kimchi and came up with a quick version that is more like a slaw. Our version can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Just like a true kimchi, this version is spicy and will add a nice kick to the rest of the meal.

Servings: 6

1 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon miso paste
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 cloves minced garlic
1 bag shredded cabbage
½ cup shredded radishes
½ cup shredded green apples
½ cup chopped green onions (tops and bottoms)

1. In a saucepot, add the vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt, sugar, miso paste, ginger and garlic and bring to a boil.
2. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the cabbage, radishes and green apples. Mix to combine.
3. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the vegetables. Mix well.
4. Transfer the slaw into a glass jar, such as a mayonnaise or Mason jar, with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate overnight, making sure to shake the jar occasionally to allow everything to marinate evenly.
5. Keep this kimchi slaw for up to one week in the refrigerator. Sprinkle the green onions on top when serving to add color.


Another condiment served alongside Korean cooking is spicy pickled cucumbers. With so many fresh cucumbers at local farmers markets and grocery stores this season, we knew this was the perfect recipe to include. Our version is spicy, crunchy and easy to throw together. We like to make it a day in advance and keep the pickles chilled until we are ready to serve. These cucumbers will last for several days in the fridge. They’re also great to keep on hand as a snack.

Servings: 6

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
2 large English or seedless cucumbers, sliced

1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, salt, oils and red pepper flakes until the sugar is dissolved.
2. Layer the red onions and sliced cucumbers into a mayonnaise or Mason jar. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and close the lid.
3. Place the jar in the refrigerator for one day. Turn the jar occasionally to make sure the cucumbers marinate evenly. The pickled cucumbers will last for up to one week in the refrigerator.


In Korean, bulgogi means “fried meat.” It is made up of thinly sliced beef or pork that is marinated then either stir-fried or grilled. It can be served with or without vegetables along with steamed rice, lettuce leaves and kimchi. In our recipe, we chose to use a sirloin beef steak and sliced it very thin, going against the grain. This helps to ensure that the meat will be tender. We marinated the meat overnight and then cooked it over a hot grill. It is delicious and very easy to make, and it is a crowd-pleaser, for sure.

Servings: 6

2 pounds sirloin steak
¼ cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
¼ cup finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon sesame oil

1. Wrap the steaks in freezer paper or plastic wrap. Place them into the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour. This will make it easier to cut the steaks thinly and evenly.
2. Remove the meat from the freezer and slice it across the grain into thin, even slices. Place the meat into a sealable plastic freezer bag and set it aside.
3. In a food processor or blender, combine the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
4. Pour the marinade over the beef and seal the bag. Allow the meat to marinate for several hours in the refrigerator.
5. Heat the grill to 400 degrees. Allow the meat to come to room temperature before grilling.
6. Grill the meat, turning often and cooking at least 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve immediately.


Another popular dish in Korean cuisine is spicy grilled chicken. This recipe is a wonderful blend of flavors that has just the right amount of heat, with a slight hint of sweetness from the honey. We used boneless, skinless chicken thighs to give this dish a bit more richness and flavor. Cutting the chicken into thin strips helps to cut back on the grilling time.

Servings: 6

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
13 cup sesame oil
¼ cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
13 cup chopped green onions, tops and bottoms
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
4 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon kosher salt

1. Wrap the chicken thighs in freezer paper or plastic wrap. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour. As with the beef, this will make it easier to slice the chicken thinly and evenly.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
3. Remove the chicken from the freezer, and place it into a sealable plastic freezer bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken, seal the bag and chill it in the refrigerator for several hours.
4. Heat the grill to 400 degrees. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature before grilling.
5. Grill the chicken 2 minutes per side. Serve immediately.

Serve these with the Bulgogi Beef and Korean Barbecue Chicken:

• Kimchi Slaw
• Spicy Korean Pickled Cucumbers
• Steamed short-grain rice
• Chopped green onions
• Toasted sesame seeds
• Fresh butter lettuce or green leaf lettuce to use for wraps

This article was originally published in the July 2017 issue of 225 Magazine.