[Thank you to our readers for recommending Aboutjins BBQ for our list- this article was updated 03.19.18]
Believe it or not, you can find authentic American BBQ right in Seoul.
In recent years, a number of American BBQ joints have opened across the city, a handful of them owned by expats who grew upin the motherland. Many of the restaurants listed in this article are what anybody would consider to be authentic American barbecue, while some of these spots are American barbecue with a Korean twist.
Whether you’re looking for a taste of back home or are down to try out a Korean rendition of the classic comfort food, here is a list of 5 American BBQ spots you should definitely try in Seoul this year (in no particular order).
Run by Alabama nativeLinus Kim, this Itaewon-based joint serves the finest Southern-style barbecue in Korea. Try the brisket sandwich, which comes with a side of skinny fries and coleslaw. The meat is juicy but very tender and falls off the bone. If you’re really hungry, order the Twos platter, which is a mound of pulled pork and brisket with 6 buns and 3 sides of your choice.
The “Fried Goodies” are to die for here; we also recommend getting the Bacon Jalapeno Mac Balls (5,000 KRW). You’ll find that the warm gooey cheese inside this delicacy melts in your mouth. Linus offers a diverse selection of cocktails and draft beers, such as the Arnold Palmer (12,000 KRW) and Vunderbar Pilsner (9,000 KRW). The restaurant includes a bar and outdoor seating area and all of its staff members speak fluent English. If you happen to visit, you’ll hear classic rock music playing in the background, a nod to Linus’ Alabama roots. Expect to spend at least W30,000 for a meal for two. Linus BBQ was voted Best American Restaurant in the 10 Magazine Best of Seoul 2018 competition.
The first thing you’ll notice when you walk into Manimal is the smell of the smoked meat in the restaurant. The smoker at Manimal is fed every day with oak wood, which creates the perfect char on their meat. Manimal is also one of the few restaurants in Seoul that serves BBQ chicken. The mix of lemon marinade and BBQ sauce gives the chicken a unique but flavorful taste. If you’re looking for something sweet, try the pulled pork (200 grams). The tangy sauce on the pork adds a little kick to the sweet flavor.
Their best side menu is the “Chipotle Lime Potato Salad” (3,900 KRW), which includes pickled mustard seeds, chipotle lime sauce, onions, and a hard-boiled egg. It’s an explosion of limey delight that goes perfectly with the meat. Manimal offers drinks as well. We recommend the “I Shot the Sheriff” (10,000 KRW), which is similar to the Arnold Palmer.
Manimal’s vibe is akin to a traditional Texas smokehouse. Inside, you’ll find wood paneling and a simple dark interior. While it’s not small, the restaurant isn’t spacious either, so expect a line during peak dinner hours.
According to some, Rusty’s Smokehouse offers the best Tennessee barbecue in Asia. The menu includes Southern classics such as pork sliders, chicken wings, fries, sweet mashed potatoes, and chili con carne — all of which are homemade.
Chef Garrett Edwards uses a 2-ton smoker to ensure that the meat is perfectly smoked and mouth-watering. If you’re on a budget, order the pulled pork for just 5,500 KRW. It has a delightful combination of brine and savory rub. Every set menu at Rusty’s comes with your choice of 2 side dishes and 4 slider rolls.Rusty’s is the perfect place to watch big sporting events. The restaurant has a classic American bar and grill vibe, which means you’ll find energetic crowds cheering on their favorite teams every game-day. Delivery is available via the Shuttle app.
If you’re looking for a classy wine bar that offers American cuisine, Redsmoke is the place for you. Located on the 4th floor of a modest building, Redsmoke is still a relatively unknown spot amongst the expat community. The vibe here is laid-back and friendly; customers can even request their own songs while they enjoy their delicious barbecue.
The pork belly is extremely moist and tender. The sides here include classic American favorites like mac and cheese (4,000 KRW) and coleslaw (2,000 KRW). Redsmoke even offers sides of fruit, which pair well with the wine and meat. To drink, we recommend one of the house wines or malt whiskeys. With its unique interior and cozy atmosphere, Redsmoke is the perfect place for a date or chill night out with close friends. The staff at Redsmoke are very friendly and speak English.
Austin is another smokehouse that focuses on serving Texas-inspired barbecue. Those who are used to barbecue from back home, however, may find that the dishes here suit a more Korean taste palette. The menu features sides like kimchi and the restaurant’s interior aren’t reminiscent of what you would typically expect from a barbecue joint. However, the food here is excellent: the meat is tender and the sides are fantastic. If you’re down to try out a Korean rendition of traditional American barbecue, visit Austin and see if you like a Korean spin on your favorite comfort food.
For a party of two, we recommend the two-person platter (32,900 KRW), which comes with pulled pork, brisket, and spare ribs. This dish also features two sides of your choice at no extra charge. Each platter of meat comes with two sauces (dark and sweet) that add extra flavor to your meal. If you’re a fan of sweet flavors, try the chili beans (3,000 KRW) or chicken wings (9,900 KRW). The place is spacious and the wood-paneled tables and large interior make for a comfortable atmosphere perfect if you’re with a large group of people.
Aboutjins BBQ is a hole-in-the-wall Southern-style American BBQ Kitchen located in the Jongno area of Seoul. The menu offers mouth-watering barbeque platters which include brisket, pulled pork, coleslaw, green salad, brisket sandwiches, bacon mac & cheese and plenty more. Aboutjins even offers platters for one, if you’re not the sharing type, at 15,900KRW for the pulled pork platter and 18,900KRW for the brisket platter.
Single Meat Platter – Brisket (18,900 KRW)
BBQ Sample Platter (36,900 KRW)
Thanks for checking out the 5 best American BBQ spots in Seoul for 2018. If there’s a spot you feel we missed, feel free to leave a comment or drop an email!