Saturday, June 09, 2007

Koryo Wooden Charcoal Barbecue

Yesterday I lunched at Oakland's Koryo Wooden Charcoal Barbecue, hoping to find those buns that Bon Vivant has on her blog. Alas, no buns. (The cheapest appetiser was about nine bucks--and I think it was fried shrimp).

I arrived around 2:30, after running work errands. It was a Friday and I trolled Telegraph Avenue trying to figure out what the best Korean place would be for a late lunch. Koryo is hidden in the corner of a little Korean strip mall, and has some parking, for the very lucky. I was lucky.

They take plastic, so in I went. The waitress seemed surprised when I asked if they were still open. How was I to know? It was pretty late for lunch and the place was empty except for staff. She seated me at a table for six, facing a large, dirty aquarium. I noticed later that the aquarium had water, rocks, etc., but no fish. But there was a large can of fish food next to it. Hmmmmm.

I had lots to read with me, so didn't fret when the waitress ignored me to do her prep work at other tables. I ordered Bulgogi for $5.95 and a diet soda. The soda came quickly, as did some water.
Eventually, out she came with a large tray. She plopped down about nine little bowls of stuff, a small metal bowl of rice, a larger metal bowl of what looked to be hot pond water, and a sizzling metal and wood tray of beef. No individual plate. Here's your spoon, here's your chopsticks. Goodbye.

She left me to contend with the array of food in front of me. I recognized the rice, cucumber, and kim chee. There were two kinds of cold sprouts: one with large beans and one that was fatter and grey. As I'm pregnant and can't remember the warnings about sprouts, I ate them sparingly. There was some chunked vegetable in a kimchee type arrangement, and another crunchy green type of vegetable also fermented. I liked the pickled, shredded something. Daikon? The pond water tasted like pond water and I wondered if the aquarium served a purpose. There was a cold potato, fried (tempura'd?), and plunked in honey that was interesting.
The one thing I really, really hated looked like fat string beans but tasted like it had been scraped off the inside of said aquarium. After reading other reviews, I wonder if this was some sort of reconstituted fish product? Ieewwwww. (I'm not an adventurous eater. Really, I'm not.)
The beef itself was good and plentiful, though a bit bland. I would have liked more kimchee to go with it, but was reluctant to ask. There were no sauces on the table.

As I was finishing up a party of three came in. They were college students, and appeared to be Asian. The waitress was no ruder or more polite to them than she was to me. With a tip and tax, I paid $10.65 for my very filling lunch.

I'd like to go back to experience the bibimbap and the grilling. And as I passed the kitchen staff sitting together for their own lunch, an older man joyfully yelled through a mouthful of rice, "THANK YOU!"

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

For the Food Network, Memorial Day signifies the beginning of grilling/bbq season. I blissed out on barbeque shows last weekend, making myself crave barbeque with a vengence. It's rare that I rue the day we left San Francisco, but last weekend I did--because we used to be so close to Memphis Minnie's. Memphis Minnie's does 'que the way I like it: dry rubs with flavorful sauces on the table for *you* to add.

I skipped out to the store and found a lovely cheap shoulder blade pork roast for only $4.50 (which is unheard of in the Bay Area). I cooked it slowly and lovingly and it gave us great pulled pork sandwiches for days afterwards.

Oven-Roasted Pulled Pork Sandwiches
1 pork shoulder blade roast (4-5 pounds)
4T ground cumin
1/4C packed brown sugar
4 T paprika (I used sweet)
1/4 C chili powder
2T red pepper flakes
liberal amount of salt and fresh pepper
2T vegetable oil
1 C Apple juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Trim excess fat off roast. Mix all the dry ingrediants in a bowl, adjusting for taste and amount (if you have a large roast you'll need more rub). Rub meat with seasonings. At this point, you can let the roast sit up to a day--wrapped and refrigerated--but I'm impatient and last minute, so I get going with the cooking.

Heat a large, heavy, ovenproof pot at medium. Add the oil. Once heated, brown the meat on all sides. When sufficiently browned, cover pot with aluminum foil and an oven-proof lid. Cook in oven at 325 for about 3 hours (until pork is at 170-175 degrees and tender tender tender). Halfway through the cooking process baste meat with apple juice.

Remove from oven and pot, and let juices settle. Skim the fat from pan juices and set those juices aside. When the meat is cool enough to handle, shred with two forks:

Mix in with the pan juices (watch out--don't add too much liquid!).

At this point you can add in your favorite barbeque sauce. Some people will only make their own. I like Emeril's Sweet N Easy Molasses BBQ sauce.

The result:

Juiceboy and I both like our Pulled Pork Sandwiches to be topped with a vinegary, crispy coleslaw. The Bug likes just the meat, of course. And I only use those terrible, fluffy sandwich buns for this sloppy sandwich. No Kaiser Rolls to get in the way of my chomping down!

Typical American Serving Suggestions: Boston Baked Beans (we like Bush's Honey Beans); corn on the cob, garden salad.