Kenwood Vineyards Spicy Korean Grilled Pork

UPDATE:  I received the ok from Kenwood to share the recipe.  I've added it to the bottom of this post!

Our Kenwood wine club shipment arrived this week.  Not only do they send us a couple bottles of really good wine they send really good recipes.  Years ago they sent one for a bolognese sauce that calls for an entire bottle of Merlot!  That sauce is now a staple in our home. It's the only meat sauce we eat.

With this shipment came a recipe for Spicy Korean Grilled pork that sounded like something Dave and I would enjoy.  We like spicy.  We like pork.  It seemed a good fit.

The basics are pork shoulder is cut thin, pounded thinner then marinated and grilled.  The marinade for the pork includes something called "Chinese Fermented Black Beans."  The only fermented Asian thing I'd ever heard of was kimchi and quite honestly that sounds gross to me.  But I always make a recipe to the recipe the first time I make it so I went out in search of Chinese Fermented Black Beans.  

Of course I consulted Google first so that I would have an idea for what I was looking once I hit the store.  Apparently these can be found canned, in jars, dried in bags and in pastes.  I figured I could find some incarnation of them!  My local upscale grocery store didn't have them so I tried the local Asian grocery store.  They had a chili paste made with them but the recipe calls for chili paste so I didn't want that.  While I was trying to decide if I should just use that, the very friendly clerk found me some "plain old" fermented black beans in a jar.  We were set!

In addition to the fermented beans, the marinade includes a full head of garlic, two tablespoons of fresh ginger, Korean Chili Paste (I couldn't find that but I could find Thai Chili Paste so I used that), rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and sesame oil.  I had to guess on the amount of sesame oil because the recipe didn't state how much to add, oops!

The directions said to soak the beans in water for 15 minutes.  I debated this step.  I guessed that was for the dried variety of beans to rehydrate them.  Mine were pretty hydrated (actually in some sort of oil) so I thought I didn't need this step.  Then I tasted them.  They were very salty.  I soaked them in hopes of removing some of that salty flavor.

All of the marinade ingredients are thrown in a food processor until they are smooth.  I love the smell of Asian ingredients, the ginger, sesame and garlic!

I trimmed up the pork shoulder and sliced it into quarter inch thick slices.  Then placed it between pieces of plastic wrap and used my antique meat tenderizer to pound it to an eighth of an inch thick.  

I placed on layer of the meat in a glass baking dish and covered it with the marinade, then added another layer of pork, more marinade and repeated until I was out of both.  This went into the refrigerator.  I marinated it about six hours but it can remain in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

What to serve on the side?  Slaw!  While at the grocery store I looked at the bagged "cole slaw mix" in the produce department.  It just looked sad!  So I bought a couple heads of cabbage and some carrots and made my own.  Isn't that pretty?  I added a little sriracha sauce to the dressing to give it a little kick!

I put the pork on a very hot grill that I had rubbed with oil.  The recipe said to brush the meat with oil but I thought it would be easier to brush the grill so that's what I did!

The meat cooked quickly and I'll be honest, I was worried it would be tough.  Turns out no worry was necessary.

I served the pork over brown rice with the slaw, and of course the recommended Kenwood Zinfandel that came with our shipment.  Kenwood Zin was the wine that got Dave and I hooked on red wine.  We "didn't like" red wine until we had this.  We were at a dinner where it was served and we didn't want to upset anyone by not at least tasting it.  We both took a taste and looked at each other in amazement.  We liked red wine!

The pork was delicious.  It was fork tender and had great Asian flavor.  You can taste the ginger and there's just enough heat from the chili sauce.  And of course the nuttiness from the sesame oil.  There was even a smoky flavor that I find hard to believe came from our gas grill.  Maybe it was the beans?  This recipe goes in the keeper pile!


1 cup Chinese fermented black beans (I found them in my local Asian grocery store)
1 head garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup Korean Chili Paste (I could only find Thai, I used that)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sesame oil
3 pounds trimmed boneless pork shoulder roast, cut crosswise into twelve 1/4 inch thick slices
Vegetable oil for brushing

Place fermented black beans in a bowl and cover with water.  Let stand for 15 minutes, drain and coarsely chop the beans.

In a food processor, combine the black beans, garlic and ginger.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Add the chili paste, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar.  Blend well.

Using a meat mallet, pound the pork slices to 1/8 inch thickness.  In a large shallow dish lay one fourth of the pork slices and cover with one fourth of the black bean marinade.  Repeat with the remaining pork, you should have three layers.  Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan.  Remove pork from the marinade leaving just a thin coating on the meat.  Brush the pork with oil and grill over medium heat until nicely charred and cooked through, about 6 minutes.

Serves 6.

Enjoy with a glass of Kenwood Vineyards 2010 Jack London Zinfandel!

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