Spicy Pork


I’ve never routinely watched cooking shows, and never thought I would. Well, never say never! During the pandemic, I happily discovered a few entertaining shows that I enjoyed bingeing. One is Amy Schumer Learns to Cook, and another is Somebody Feed Phil. Both are fun and funny as well as educational. Then, I discovered The Chef Show on Netflix, and once more I was hooked. It’s hosted by Chef Roy Choi and Jon Favreau.

I’ve mentioned Roy Choi on my blog before when I made a spectacular sauce from his cookbook, L.A. Son, which is a great read. It tells the story of Chef’s rise to fame from a Korean-American kid in Los Angeles to highly regarded chef status. Along the way he attended the C.I.A. and lucked into an externship with none other than Eric Ripert!

What I didn’t know when I watched the movie Chef back in 2014, is that the main actor, Jon Favreau, who plays a disgruntled chef who starts his own food truck, actually trained for his role with Chef Roy Choi!

Chef Choi, well known for his famous food truck Kogi in Los Angeles, was a perfect fit for Favreau. Choi sent Favreau to a week of intensive French culinary schooling. His knife skills are super impressive.

The pair got along so well that well after the movie they decided to visit chefs and celebrities and cook with them, and called it The Chef Show. In one episode, Gwyneth Paltrow asks the two what the point of the show is, and they both start laughing, cause there really wasn’t, as it turns out. They just have fun cooking together, cooking with others, mentoring, and eating.

So far, I’ve watched the pair cook with Wolfgang Puck, David Chang, Wes Avila, the duo of Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken, some foodies and non-chefs as well. The chefs are my favorite cause you get to watch them at work, and they put both Jon and Roy to work as well. It’s all fascinating.

When Chef Roy cooks on the show, it’s like watching a magician. His sweet and spicy sauce that I made had about 800 ingredients in it, and many measurements like 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon. Seriously, that seemed crazy to me, that adding 2 or 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds would make a difference. But when you watch him, you get it. It looks random, but it’s madman precision.

In every episode, I’m scribbling like crazy to write down the recipes, pausing occasionally to write, sometimes pausing to google. Chile de valle? Couldn’t find it.

But then, I found the darn recipes online. And one that I really enjoyed is called BBQ spicy pork. It’s a menu item at Chef Choy’s Best Friend restaurant in Las Vegas at the Park MGM, which reopened in March of 2021 after closing during the pandemic.

To make the spicy pork, you first make a marinade called Galbi, the name of a Korean rib barbecue sauce, then you use some of it to make the spicy pork marinade.

BBQ Spicy Pork

Galbi Marinade:
2 cups soy sauce
1 cup maple syrup
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 medium onion, quartered
1 scallion
1/3 cup whole garlic cloves
1/2 kiwi, peeled
1/2 Asian pear

Purée these ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Spicy Pork Marinade:
1 cup Galbi marinade
1 cup gochujang
1/4 cup gochujaru
2 jalapenos
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup whole garlic cloves

Purée these ingredients until smooth.

1 1/2 pounds pork butt, sliced 1/2″ thick
1 1/2 pounds pork belly, sliced 1/2″ thick
1 large onion, sliced into thin wedges
1 cup spicy pork marinade
Cooked white rice
Sliced green onions
Sesame seeds

Place the meats in a large bowl and coat with the spicy pork marinade evenly and heavily. Allow to sit at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours in marinade.

Remove the pork from the marinade. Season lightly with salt. Grill on a flat griddle.

Add the onion slices and cup of marinade, and continue cooking until meat is nicely charred and cooked through, slightly chopping the meat as it cooks.

Serve over white rice.

Sprinkle generously with chopped green onions and sesame seeds.

And the remaining Galbi marinade? I poured it over abou5 2.5 pounds of cut up pork shoulder, marinated it for 24 hours, then cooked it in a slow cooker. Wow! What fabulous flavors.

57 thoughts on “Spicy Pork

  1. Wow ! Thank you for the story behind the movie ! Since grilling season is ahead, I have to get all the marinade ingredients and surprise my vaccinated friends with this great treat ! Thank you Mimi !

  2. Mimi, I started watching Somebody Feed Phil and now I have two other show tips thanks to you. I have never made anything from the Korean cannon but this recipe is tempting me to try.

  3. Lovin’ your Spicy Pork dish pics, recipe, presentation, and back-story, Mimi! (The the movie “Chef” too — a pawn shop find… didn’t know it was based on real-life… I bought it cuz it had to do with COOKING.) Such fun and tasty food! You never know when or where your next lesson in life or in your kitchen will be learned from, xo. Thanks for sharing your take on it!

  4. okay here i go again being a pedantic pain in the butt – a kiwi is a flightless bird! you really need to say kiwi fruit! anyways … loved jon F in that Chef movie.

    • In Australia I learned that one must say koala, not koala bear. And it makes me crazy when people say penne pasta, which is like saying pasta pasta! So, is kiwi a bird but also a fruit? I just copied the recipe as is, but you have me intrigued! Chef was a fun movie!

    • Okay, I googled. It’s kiwifruit- no space – but it’s shortened to kiwi in North America. Interesting! And thank you!

    • I actually couldn’t believe I found one at my local store! I don’t know how, but his recipes work. Well, I actually do know how. When you eat at Michelin-starred restaurants you understand the culinary magic that real chefs are capable of creating!

  5. So many interesting things going on in this post, Mimi! Jon Favreau hosting a cooking show? Now you’ve got my attention! (Like you, I rarely watch cooking shows…but this one sounds intriguing. Almost like Seinfeld in that it has no purpose, but it’s about cooking.) Kiwi fruit in a marinade? Interesting! I don’t think I’ve ever tried that. And using half pork butt and half pork belly? Also interesting! So many fun things going on here. Love it…this one is right up my alley!!

    • The two of them are so interesting. Very serious. Lots of laughing, but not because they’re a comic duo. It’s all about the cooking, and there’s some about making movies, that I don’t really understand or like, but fortunately that’s a small part of their dialog. Yes HALF of a kiwi. That’s how precise his recipes are, but so far, they’ve all been crazy wonderful.

  6. Amy and her husband were interviewed on Good Morning America and I have always wanted to watch her show – I’m sure it’s hilarious. I watch the Food Network Channel when I exercise on my elliptical or stationary bike. There’s always some good food on any time of the day. This is quite a post – I had to come back and finish reading it. The recipe sounds delicious especially the marinade – I will have to try that.

  7. Just the array of delicious ingredients in the marinade has gotten my attention here, Mimi! I adore all of these most flavorful flavors- strange to put it that way, but it’s true! A very interesting dish! And Im going to look for that show! sounds so entertaining and informative!

    • Not entertaining in a sweet way like Somebody Feed Phil. It’s almost like watching a couple of fraternity guys who are expert cooks!

  8. I am like that too, I watch a lot of cooking shows and ends up pausing them to get the ingredients. Luckily you found it online. This spicy pork recipe is a keeper! I will definitely try this soon

    • The show is really fascinating to me, and very fun. When they start talking about directing movies, I fast forward.

  9. I’m always s looking for new cooking shows, so thank you for the recommendations. This recipe does require a multitude of specialty ingredients. Is it super hot? Unfortunately, I am no longer able to eat hot foods so I usually have to temper hot recipes.

    • I love hot and spicy, although not to the burning point. To me this isn’t hot. Gochujaru doesn’t seem to be as hot as cayenne pepper flakes or other chile peppers, but you could of course start with a smaller amount. None of these cooking shows is super sophisticated, so that must be the style I enjoy!!!

  10. Love spicy stuff! This looks really intriguing — can’t quite imagine how it tastes. I’ll have to make it and find out! :-)

    • You will! And as a bonus you get to use the remaining Galbi marinade as well. The pork really isn’t as spicy as it seems. I love spicy, but I don’t like my mouth burning, This was perfect.

  11. Yum! I wish I had you to cook for me, Mimi! I love reading about all these spicy, delicious recipes with interesting ingredients. Would love to have some for dinner tonight!

  12. In my previous life I was a celebrity photographer. Not paparazzi so I actually got to spend time talking to my subjects. One assignment was Jon Favreau. Even in the mid 1990s he seemed to have an interest in food and cooking. I recall discussing it with him. I would attach a photo from that shoot if I could. I’m sure Jon would be relieved to know I can’t! I seem to recall we did some silly photos involving fish not pork (really!). GREG

  13. Love delicious Korean flavors! This delicious pork recipe has the perfect balance of flavors. The grilling adds another dimension of flavor. So, what time is dinner??? Have not seen these shows so now will have to get on that.

  14. I like the movie so much that I think I would really like the show. Like you, I don’t watch many cooking shows… The spicy pork sounds amazing. And it looks like it makes enough for a small army! Thanks for sharing the story and the recipe!

    • Yes, I had to freeze half of it. I ate some, but a big blog of meat, no matter how tasty, is not my kind of meal. But wow, such great flavors. As far as cooking shows, I fortunately discovered three and the timing was perfect for pandemic bingeing! Before that the only show I ever watched was Masterchef Junior, with the adorable little talented kiddos.

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