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Apr 30, 2013 09:46 AM

Let's talk charcoal - Korean BBQ (2013 edition)

There's a lot of (very) old threads discussing Korean BBQ charcoal joints. I think this topic is worth updating.

Aside from the obvious answers, are there any new (or somewhat recent) and notable comers to the lump charcoal Korean BBQ scene?

Mr Taster

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  1. are we looking for pure charcoal? or the gas grill + charcoal?

    1 Reply
    1. re: blimpbinge

      The closer to pure charcoal the better. But as those options are virtually non-existent, gas+charcoal will have to do.

      Mr Taster

    2. I used to go to a Korean BBQ place in Atlanta back in the '90s that was all charcoal. Moved to DC in 2001 and have been to about a half dozen Korean BBQ places and they are all gas. It's just not the same.

        1. re: selfportrait93

          Sure, SBJ is the obvious answer... along with Park's & Tahoe Galbi. Just wondering about any new or recent & notable additions to the charcoal BBQ scene

          Mr Taster

          1. re: Mr Taster


            Gas/charcoal per reviews, this is the joint that CH recommended to me.

            Was not impressed with Tahoe when I was there last week, except they have PINEAPPLE!!!!

            1. re: ns1

              Tahoe can be hit-or-miss depending on what you order. I've never been disappointed with the house galbi a la carte. If you get the galbi as part of the "all you can eat" menu, you get third rate meat along with a bunch of flavorless thinly shaved frozen meat. If you're judicious with your ordering, you can actually come away paying about as much as you would for "all you can eat", but with greatly improved meal quality.

              Mr Taster

              1. re: Mr Taster

                The only reason I go to Tahoe is to go with friends who want to get smashed while eating kbbq; it's not convenient to order a la carte with 10 people you don't know.

                1. re: ns1

                  > it's not convenient to order a la carte with 10 people you don't know.

                  Really? It's Korean BBQ, not individual plates... I'd think that's exactly the kind of meal that would be easy to share with 10 people! In any case, it's not fair to judge Tahoe Galbi by only considering their weakest link. Every time I've gone, the a la carte galbi has been spectacular-- incredibly tender, well marbled, and juicy to the point where it just bursts in your mouth.

                  Mr Taster

        2. Does not exist in the new breeds. Almost everyone's down to just putting 2 lumps on top of gas fire.

          It requires more ventilation and flare ups are harder to control.

          2 Replies
          1. re: TonyC


            Also, there's almost no demand for charcoal these days.

            In fact, I've been told with the growing popularity of haute cuts (Kobe this, Wagyu that, etc.), people actually don't want charcoal as it fcuks with the meat.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Absolutely agree that for Kobe / Wagyu, cooking with the cleanest heat source is the way to go.

              I have a high end Weber gas grill and a ceramic Big Green Egg. The Weber maxes at about 650 degrees. The BGE maxes at about 1200 degrees with good quality lump.

              So far, guests that like a "grilled" steak are 100% in favor of the BGE with lump. Many have said that the high choice / low prime steak they had cooked on my BGE with lump was the best steak they have ever eaten.

              In the past 2 years, lump went from $7.99 for a 20 lb bag to $10.99 for a 20 lb bag so there is clearly a demand for it. The filler packed briquettes are a different story. Can't give them away.

          2. Since I'm on the Westside, I have been eyeing two places but have not been yet. Can anyone tell me about these places?

            Wharo's on Lincoln in MDR, has been there for years, at least since I've been frequenting the Costco in the same area, about 12 years.

            Newish Galbi King on the corner in a strip mall at Sawtelle & National.

            Are either of these places any good? TIA.

            EDIT: I see on Wharo's website they state they are Charcoal BBQ.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

              Galbi King was Tofu-Ya. I don't think the food has changed, just the name. See my review here:

              1. re: Servorg

                Thank you. So I guess no one has tried Wharo yet? May have to take one for the team.....