McPherson’s BBQ Pub graces Korea's slow-cooked scene

by Robert Kienzle
Groove Korea (

As an American from the south, a highlight of visiting home used to be Southern barbecue. I’d have my family buy it for dinner so it’d be there waiting for me next to a bottle of Blanton’s bourbon. Now I just request bourbon because Southern barbecue has secured a presence in Korea’s dining scene. Alabama native and famous expat foodie Joe McPherson* has just added yet another terrific option: McPherson’s BBQ Pub.

McPherson’s doesn’t feel like a pub at all. Sure, it’s got beer on tap, bottles of bourbon and rum and cocktails with mini airplane bottles sticking out the top of soda cans, but it’s got the setting of a home in the deep south complete with fancy patterned wallpaper, framed pictures and mounted news clippings reminiscent of countryside restaurants.

Round one is Alabama anju (also known as appetizers). McPherson’s specializes in three different dips: roasted pimento cheese, classic French onion and warm spinach artichoke. Each one is 4,900 won or try all three for 7,900 won served with tortilla chips and wavy salted potato chips. The roasted pimento dip held the flavor of backyard cookouts. All the dips were grand, but the pimento stood out as the most undeniably Southern.

For round two, there’s the bbq: pork or chicken. But why not both? For 30,900 won, McPherson’s serves up a large Taste of Alabama platter with 200 grams of pork, a whole chicken, three choices of sides, bread and jalapeños.

There’s a smaller “regular” platter as well as a larger  “OMFG” size. The largest size is enough for two hungry Southerners, three hungry Yankees or four hungry non-Americans.

For the price, McPherson’s has the largest servings out of all the top Seoul Southern barbecue spots.

McPherson’s pork rivals the competition. It’s got its own taste from whatever McPherson does to his meat for hours and hours. Whatever it is, it works.

Sometimes barbecue dries out when wrapped, taken home, left in the fridge overnight and microwaved the next morning, but not the pork at McPherson’s. It’s difficult for barbecue places in the USA to differentiate their tastes without using sauce. McPherson’s has it down.

The chicken, however, is the highlight of the menu. It’s brined for hours before it’s smoked, and then fried. Smoked chicken is amazing when done right. That McPherson’s is coated in homemade batter and then deep fried adds that much more flavor and texture. It is very likely the best tasting chicken in the city.

McPherson’s adds variety to the experience with three different barbecue sauces. The white Alabama sauce was the standout, but the meat at McPherson’s can stand alone.  As for the crucial side dishes, McPherson’s offers fries, mac and cheese, potato salad and coleslaw plus other specialty sides to choose from including the Brunswick Stew. The stew is full of bbq meat, potatoes, tomatoes, and veggies. Sandwiches are also available for those rolling solo.

Save yourself a flight to Birmingham or Tuscaloosa. Hop on subway line 5 to Omokgyo Station and hit up McPherson’s BBQ Pub to taste the best of Alabama.

*Joe McPherson served as Groove’s Food & Drink Editor in 2015.

Address: 228-4 Mokdongdong-ro, Yangcheon-gu, Seoul

Phone: 02-6406-6690 (BBQ0)


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