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Double The Deliciousness! A Complete Guide To Eating Yakiniku In Japan

Yakiniku is very popular all over the world because anyone and everyone can enjoy grilling meat while having a good time as a group! Here is a list of tips and tricks to make your yakiniku experience even more delicious and enjoyable.

1. What is Japanese-style yakiniku?

First, what are the special characteristics of Japanese-style yakiniku? Here are some examples to show you the difference between our neighbor, Korean-style barbecue.

Enjoy "This And That" In Any Restaurant!

In Korea, typical yakiniku restaurants only specialize in 1-3 cuts of meat. In Japan, however, diners can enjoy a wide variety of types and cuts of beef, pork, horumon, and seafood. You can also have a small order of any type, allowing you to taste and enjoy many different types of meat in one sitting.

What Are The Other Special Characteristics?

Furthermore, while pork is more popular in Korea, beef is more mainstream in Japan. In Japanese-style yakiniku, diners usually grill the meat themselves, and then dip the grilled meat in sauce, or for salt-grilled meats, sprinkle some lemon juice over the meat before eating.
Also, while this may not be exclusive to Japan, meticulous service is to be expected, such as storage spaces for bags or coats inside the seats so that your items do not smell like smoke, frequent changing of grill nets, and even a stick of gum to clear your breath after eating.

2. Tips You Should Know Before Grilling Your Meat

The main difference between yakiniku and steak is that the meat is cut thinly for yakiniku, therefore requiring some skill to grill the meat properly. Here are some pointers to make your yakiniku experience an even more delicious one!

Heat Up The Grill Net

The basic thing to do is to start grilling your meat after the grill net has been heated up. The meat tends to clump together if the cooking temperature is not high enough, and most of the delicious juices of the meat escape when you try to pull them apart.

Pay Attention To The Order That You Grill Your Meat

Basically, it is better to start with the lightly marinated items first. As an example, salted tongue, horumon, skirt meat, then short ribs is a good order. This is because grilling the marinated meats first will not only 'contaminate' the grill net, it is also better to start from the light-tasting to the richer, thicker items in order to fully taste the wonders of yakiniku.

Don't Grill Your Meat All At Once

Try grilling 1 slice of meat for every person at the table. Placing too much meat on the grill at one time also causes the grill net to lose some heat, affecting the quality of your yakiniku. Always grill with high heat for a short time.

3. Special Characteristics Of Different Cuts And How To Grill Them

Here are the grilling methods for the representative cuts of meat in the next section, in order for you to be able to grill them as deliciously as possible!

Tongue

The special characteristics of beef tongue is its crisp texture and refreshing aftertaste. In Japanese yakiniku restaurants, thinly sliced beef tongue is very popular. Grill one side until it is nice and crisp, and then quickly flip it over when the raw side starts to curl. The other side should be a little rare for it to turn out juicy.

Sirloin

Sirloin is lean meat and has less fat content, therefore making it easy to dry out and turn hard. Take caution not to over-grill sirloin. Firstly, grill one side until the meat juices start flowing out, then flip it over. Flip again when the color of the meat starts turning brown, and lightly grill to complete the grilling process.

Short Ribs

Short ribs have a lot of marbling, so make sure you do not burn the meat. Grill one side and flip when the meat juices start pooling on the ungrilled surface, and it is ready to eat once the meat turns fully brown.

Skirt

Skirt meat is cut out from the thin back-side of the diaphragm. The soft and juicy skirt meat is highly satisfying. It is best to grill the surface until it looks almost a little burnt, then grill on low heat to allow the meat to fully cook through.

Horumon

"Horumon" is an umbrella term for offal. A wide variety of offal, such as the intestines, heart, and liver, are edible. If the horumon is fresh, you will hardly notice any smell, and each part has a different flavor and texture. "Marucho" (small intestines) is a type of horumon that is really popular for its fat that is thick and melts in your mouth. Stir the horumon continuously on medium heat and allow it to slowly cook until the surface of the skin starts to contract, and enjoy!

There are also many restaurants that have a good variety of drinks in stock that go well together with yakiniku. Some places even offer all-you-can-drink courses! However, some yakiniku restaurants only serve beer and makgeolli, so check with the staff on the available drinks before entering the restaurant.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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