Don't Shoot the Food – Homefront Edition

No High Scores

Welcome to Don’t Shoot the Food, a semi-regular series where I combine my love of gaming with my love of cooking and eating.

With Homefront out this week, I thought I was going to do a tasty Korean barbecue recipe. Then my dumbass squad mate used the phrase to describe a KPA soldier that was burning to death. After that, the idea of Korean barbecue didn’t sound so good. Jerk. Luckily I still had something in my bag of tricks, although I’m not sure it sounds much better. On to the food!

So I have all of these cookbooks that I picked up just for one or two recipes. Hardly cost effective, but usually the one or two recipes are really, really good. The side benefit is that I have a metric ton of recipes ideas for when I have to come up off the wall ideas like something that ties together Korean food and American culture. Enter the Korean burger! It takes the American staple, the hamburger, and invades it with the salty-sweet notes of good Korean barbecue. I bet that if the KPA gave all of the citizens of occupied Montrose, Colorado a tasty Korean burger rather than making them subside on White Castle, the occupation would have gone a lot smoother. I’m just sayin’.

For our vegetarian friends, here’s a recipe for Korean Style Broiled Tofu. Stick it on a bun and no one will know the difference.

Korean Burgers from Barbecue Nation: 350 Hot-Off-The-Grill, Tried-And-True Recipes from America’s Backyard

Ingredients
1. 1 lb ground beef – When I make burgers, I usually go with the 80/20 mix (can’t remember if that’s ground chuck or ground sirloin or whatever) as most of the fat renders out of the burgers during cooking leaving a very moist burger with not a lot of fat. As always, do whatever makes you happiest.
2. 3/4 cup grated onion – Grating onions sucks. Sorry about that.
3. 1 Tbl + 1 tsp sugar
4. 3 Tbl soy sauce
5. 1/2 tsp coarsely ground pepper
6. 1 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
7. 1 Tbl + 2 tsp dry sherry
8. 2 cloves garlic, minced and divided – I buy big jars of the pre-minced stuff, but again, if you want to bust out your fancy garlic press, go crazy.
9. Burger buns
10. 2 scallions (white and green parts) thinly sliced

Cooking Steps
1. In a bowl mix together the meat, 1/2 cup onion, 1 tsp sugar, 1 Tbl soy sauce, pepper, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 Tbl sherry and 1 clove garlic. Work it all together well and then form into four equal patties. Put the patties on a plate and stick in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook, but at least 20 minutes. If your burgers always end up looking more like balls than patties, here’s a pro-tip. Take a spoon and make an indentation in the center of the patty with the back of the spoon. As the meat cooks, the center will swell up, making a patty you can be proud of. Don’t skimp on the fridge time for the patties as the heat from your hands when mixing will make it harder for the meat to hold together while cooking.

2. In another bowl mix together the remaining 1/4 cup of onion, 1 Tbl sugar, 2 Tbl soy sauce, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, 2 tsp sherry and 1 clove garlic.

3. Get your grill fired up and cook the patties to your desired degree of doneness, 4 – 5 minutes per side on medium to med-high heat.

4. Serve the patties on the buns with a healthy dollop of the soy sauce onion mixture.

What’s a burger without fries you say? Well, I don’t know about any Korean fries, but here’s a recipe for Gamja Jorim which are potato chunks in a delightful glaze of soy sauce and corn syrup. Oh hells yes.

Gamja Jorim


1. 2 medium potatoes
2. vegetable oil
3. 4 tablespoons soy sauce
4. 2 Tbl light corn syrup
5. 1/2 cup water

Cooking Steps

1. Wash, peel and cut the potatoes into 1/2 inch chunks. Do your best to make them all the same size.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over med-high heat and saute the potato chunks in the oil until slightly browned.

3. Add the soy sauce, corn syrup and water and bring to a simmer. Simmer the potatoes in the liquid until the liquid is completely evaporated, about ten minutes. Be sure to stir the potatoes frequently so that every piece is covered in the glaze. Keep an eye on the skillet so that the mixture doesn’t burn.

That’s it! Enjoy your Korean-American feast.

Still hungry? Check out the Don’t Shoot the Food Archive.

16 Responses to “Don't Shoot the Food – Homefront Edition”

  1. Bill Abner March 18, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    I have a pound of ground beef waiting to be cooked. No chance I grate onions though. Minced onion flakes, activate!

  2. atomicboomerang March 18, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    So it’s because the patties are warmish that my burgers end up crumbling on the grill? I’ll use the fridge tip.

    I’ll also have to try out your spoon indent pro-tip.

    We may be grilling burgers this weekend … if it doesn’t rain.

  3. BrandonCackowski-Schnell March 18, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    All I can say is that before putting my burgers in the fridge, mine used to crumble as well. The spoon trick works well too although I still have a hard time getting the patties uniformly thin.

  4. Michael Barnes March 18, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    In order for these to truly be Homefront burgers, you’ve got to have a TON of cheese and Hooter’s (TM) Hot Wing Sauce. After all, that’s what you’re fighting for in the game, to reclaim the nation’s shitty cheesecake/chicken wing chains.

  5. dranore March 18, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    While the tofu recipe is a little weak, I continue to appreciate the vegetarian inclusion!

    Though I have to say, while I’m not an expert on Korean food, I do eat at Korean places pretty regularly. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of distinctly Korean elements to the burger… though they might be quite good as is.

    What your burgers need are chili paste of some variety and some Korean pickles. Recipe books aside, a few good Korean pickles would be an excellent inclusion and ratchet up the authenticity level a few notches.

    I would probably go more crumbly and go and the lettuce wrapper route and focus on a burger / korean bbq hybrid.

  6. Michael Barnes March 18, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    Yeah…very weak indeed. I’ve been Veg for 20 years, that sounds terrible. And there’s Splenda in the fucking recipe, how disgusting!

    You could probably make this with a soy burger crumble and a binder to get it to stick…might be more of a sloppy joes sort of thing.

    Korean street tacos are damn good, BTW.

  7. BrandonCackowski-Schnell March 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    I’m flying blind on the vegetarian recipes here, so if you have a good online reference I can use when writing these things up, let me know and I’ll pull my vegetarian stuff from it. Once you start talking about binders and three ring notebooks and what have you, I’m out of my element.

  8. Michael Barnes March 18, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    Maybe next week when you run the Crysis Chymychangas I’ll chime in with something more…daring.

    The thing is, with some experience, there’s not a lot you can’t make vegetarian with some substitutions. Obviously something like a pot roast or whatever you’re SOL, but I can fake just about any meat object.

    Tonight’s menu at my place- Grilled steak tip sandwiches with heirloom tomatoes, arugula, bleu cheese. Completely vegetarian.

  9. dranore March 18, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    I second Michael’s point. It can be quite easy to fake many meats. Modern food science has yielded a lot of options to those that care to eat them. Some people aren’t interested in fake meat for somewhat obvious reasons, but there are still a lot of options, depending on what the dish is.

    Honestly, the first thing I would suggest is actually eating it. If you want to suggest a vegetarian recipe, knowing that it tastes pretty good is a wise way to ensure your suggestion is solid. That’s very obvious, but perhaps worth considering?

  10. Michael Barnes March 18, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    This is where a lot of vegetarian cooking goes wrong- it’s prepared or formulated by non-vegetarians so a lot of times you get something that just isn’t good. Because the chef or cook doesn’t eat it.

    Case in point. When I go to a restaraunt and I see the key words “Eggplant””Zucchini” “Portobello Mushroom” or “Pasta Primavera” I know that the veg option is garbage because it’s either half-assed and ill-considered or the chef doesn’t have a clue what vegetarians want to eat.

    There’s a new BBQ joint that opened near my house that has full vegan and vegetarian options. It’s a full-on, serious meat-eater BBQ joint. But the owner’s daughter is vegan, so they know what works and what doesn’t. So they have an awesome smoked tofu BBQ sandwich and it’s actually made extremely well. Their sides are very thoughtful and inspired, not just random junk to satisfy the one vegetarian that comes in with a table.

  11. BrandonCackowski-Schnell March 18, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    That’s a good suggestion, sure. I try and eat everything I suggest here, but the reality is that there’s only so many meals in the week. Plus, my family are all picky eaters, so trying out every vegetarian recipe before I offer it up is going to involve a lot of solo cooking, something I don’t necessarily have the time or the money for.

  12. dranore March 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    Yeah. I feel you. Many good restaurants do think through these things, sadly most do not. From my reading and experience, some of the best vegetarian meals are at places that don’t cater specifically to vegetarians.

  13. dranore March 18, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    I totally understand. It’s okay to make guesses sometimes for substitutes.

    That being said, if you know the fault-tolerances of your family you can work within those constraints. Smaller creative changes can also encourage less picky-ness over time. I myself have learned to enjoy almost all of the vegetables that I didn’t like growing up over the past couple years. In fact, I don’t think I can think of any I won’t eat now. :D Sometimes it just takes the right preparation!

    Again, I’m just happy to see the consideration. If you find yourself wanting to write one of these and you don’t feel like your going to be able to come up with something reliable, use your resources! Reaching out to Mr. Barnes seems like a good start!

  14. Michael Barnes March 18, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

    I’ll eat at a non-vegetarian restaraunt over a vegetarian restaraunt any day. The cooking in most veg-specific restaraunts tends to be very poor. It’s much smarter to work with a good menu at a place that has good cooking than it is to bother with most “health nut” type joints.

  15. dranore March 19, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    There are some really good places here in NYC that aren’t about “health”! But most places don’t have that luxury. Even major cities. I was in Miami recently, Vegetarian beware. Miami has no love for you.

  16. Labreya March 18, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    Friend of mine used to use a really good substitute in his vegieburgers.

    A mushroom. As big as you can get.

    He’d bbq or roast them and then just use it in place of the meat. Anything with a large cap worked.

    Have to say, a couple of fried portobellos with melted cheese and some salad bits in there was always awesome in the summer.

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image

You must be logged in to post a comment.