Samgyeopsal (삼겹살): A Delicious Korean Cusine

Samgyeopsal (삼겹살) is a beloved Korean dish that has taken the culinary world by storm in recent years. Known for its mouthwatering flavor, this Korean BBQ specialty consists of thick, fatty slices of pork belly grilled to perfection. But Samgyeopsal is more than just a delicious meal – it has a rich history, various types, numerous health benefits, and endless culinary possibilities. In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll explore the origins of Samgyeopsal, its different varieties, nutritional aspects, and storage tips, and provide you with some tantalizing recipes and creative ways to enjoy this Korean delight.

History of Samgyeopsal (삼겹살)


Samgyeopsal, whose name translates to “three-layer meat” in Korean, is believed to have originated during the Korean War era in the 1950s. This was a time of scarcity, and people needed a cost-effective protein source. Pork belly, being relatively inexpensive and abundant, became a popular choice. The idea of grilling pork belly on a tabletop grill quickly caught on, as it provided a communal and interactive dining experience.


Over the years, Samgyeopsal has evolved from being a simple, thrifty dish to a luxurious treat. It has become a symbol of Korean cuisine, often served on special occasions and family gatherings. The preparation and presentation of Samgyeopsal have also become more refined, with various marinades, condiments, and accompaniments being introduced to enhance its flavor.


Various Types of Samgyeopsal (삼겹살)

1. Fresh Samgyeopsal

Fresh Samgyeopsal consists of plain, unmarinated slices of pork belly. It’s known for its pure, natural pork flavor and is often chosen by purists who want to savor the meat’s essence.

2. Marinated Samgyeopsal

Marinated Samgyeopsal is soaked in a flavorful mixture that typically includes ingredients like soy sauce, garlic, sugar, and sesame oil. This imparts a delightful blend of sweet, savory, and umami notes to the meat.

3. Thick-Cut vs. Thin-Cut

You can find Samgyeopsal in various thicknesses, with thin cuts cooking quickly and thick cuts offering a more substantial, indulgent experience. The choice between the two often comes down to personal preference.

4. Spicy Samgyeopsal

For those who enjoy a kick of heat, spicy Samgyeopsal is marinated in a fiery sauce that can include gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) and gochujang (Korean red pepper paste). This variety adds an extra layer of complexity to the dish.

5. Smoked Samgyeopsal

Smoked Samgyeopsal is an innovative take on the classic dish, infusing the meat with a smoky flavor that elevates its taste profile. It’s a must-try for barbecue enthusiasts.

See Also: Italian Meat Dishes

Benefits of Samgyeopsal (삼겹살)

Rich Source of Protein

Samgyeopsal is a protein powerhouse, making it an excellent choice for those looking to meet their daily protein needs. Protein is essential for muscle growth, repair, and overall health.

Healthy Fats

While pork belly contains fat, it’s worth noting that not all fats are created equal. Samgyeopsal contains monounsaturated fats, which are considered heart-healthy and can help improve cholesterol levels.

Vitamins and Minerals

Pork belly also provides essential vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, phosphorus, and selenium. These nutrients play a crucial role in various bodily functions, including energy production and immune support.


The combination of protein and healthy fats in Samgyeopsal can help you feel full and satisfied, reducing the likelihood of overeating.

Must Read: Italian Seafood Dishes

How to Store Samgyeopsal (삼겹살)

Proper storage is essential to maintain the freshness and quality of Samgyeopsal:

1. Refrigeration

Store fresh Samgyeopsal in the refrigerator at or below 40°F (4°C). It’s best to use it within 2-3 days to ensure optimal taste and texture.

2. Freezing

To extend its shelf life, you can freeze Samgyeopsal. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, place it in an airtight container, and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

3. Marinated Samgyeopsal

Marinated Samgyeopsal should be refrigerated and consumed within the recommended time frame stated on the packaging.

See Also: Kimchi (김치): Korean Cuisine

Recipes of Samgyeopsal

1. Classic Grilled Samgyeopsal


  • Fresh Samgyeopsal
  • Salt
  • Black pepper


  1. Preheat a tabletop grill or BBQ.
  2. Season the Samgyeopsal slices with a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of black pepper.
  3. Grill the pork belly slices until they’re crispy and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  4. Serve with dipping sauces, lettuce leaves, and various Korean condiments.

2. Spicy Marinated Samgyeopsal


  • Marinated Samgyeopsal (spicy variety)
  • Sesame oil
  • Sliced green onions
  • Sesame seeds


  1. Grill the spicy marinated Samgyeopsal slices as per the classic grilled Samgyeopsal recipe.
  2. Drizzle with a touch of sesame oil, and sprinkle sliced green onions, and sesame seeds on top.
  3. Serve with rice and kimchi for a complete meal.

What to Do with Samgyeopsal (삼겹살)

Samgyeopsal is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various dishes:

1. Samgyeopsal Stir-Fry

Thinly slice Samgyeopsal and stir-fry it with vegetables and your favorite sauce for a quick and satisfying meal.

2. Samgyeopsal Tacos

Wrap grilled Samgyeopsal in tortillas with fresh salsa, lettuce, and sour cream for a fusion twist.

3. Kimchi Samgyeopsal Fried Rice

Add chopped Samgyeopsal to your fried rice for a savory and indulgent twist on this classic Korean dish.

Must Read: Spicy stir-fried pork and kimchi

How to Make Samgyeopsal (삼겹살)

Making Samgyeopsal at home is easy:

  1. Select Your Cut: Choose your preferred thickness of pork belly.
  2. Season: Season the pork belly slices with salt and pepper or marinate them in your favorite sauce for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Grill: Preheat your grill or stovetop grill pan. Grill the pork belly slices until they’re crispy and cooked to your liking.
  4. Serve: Serve hot with a variety of dipping sauces, lettuce leaves, and other Korean side dishes.

Nutrition in Samgyeopsal (삼겹살)

Samgyeopsal is a nutrient-rich food, offering:

  • Protein
  • Healthy fats
  • Vitamins (B vitamins)
  • Minerals (phosphorus, selenium)

However, it’s important to consume it in moderation due to its calorie and fat content.

See Also: Dishes that can be made using Leftover Food


  1. Is Samgyeopsal the same as bacon? No, they are not the same. Samgyeopsal is unsmoked and thicker than bacon. It also has a different flavor profile.
  2. Can I grill Samgyeopsal indoors? Yes, you can use a stovetop grill pan or an electric tabletop grill for indoor grilling.
  3. What are some common side dishes to serve with Samgyeopsal? Common side dishes include kimchi, ssamjang (spicy dipping sauce), sliced garlic, and fresh lettuce leaves.


Samgyeopsal (삼겹살) is more than just a delicious Korean BBQ dish – it’s a cultural icon, a culinary adventure, and a celebration of flavors. Whether you prefer it grilled plain or marinated, in tacos or fried rice, Samgyeopsal offers endless possibilities for creating mouthwatering meals at home. So why not embark on your own Samgyeopsal journey and savor this delectable slice of Korean cuisine?

Recommended: 10 Great Korean Dishes

Leave a Comment