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Khorkhog Is the Real Mongolian Barbecue

Still, Sukhbaatar said, there was a well-loved Mongolian food that better fit the term “Mongolian barbecue”—a slow-cooked lamb or mutton dish known as khorkhog, which Mongolians eat at every birthday, every wedding, every big family gathering. Even here in the Bay Area, almost any time more than 10 or 20 Mongolian Americans get together—say, in a park or in someone’s backyard—they’ll build a fire to prepare a big pot of khorkhog: a sealed vessel, usually a pressure cooker, filled to the brim with the meat from a whole sheep or lamb, potatoes, carrots, onions and blazing hot rocks.

This, Sukhbaatar told me, was the real Mongolian barbecue.

After I learned about khorkhog, I became mildly obsessed with the dish. But it wasn’t easy to track down. There are only a handful of Mongolian restaurants in the Bay Area to begin with, and only the most ambitious of these even list khorkhog on the menu because the process of cooking it…

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