Korean Bulgogi

This family recipe is just one way Christine’s Farm to Fork feeds a South Carolina community

Photo: Melissa Corbin

The Old 96 District of South Carolina, spanning five counties along the state’s western side, has a storied history, including Revolutionary War battles and Civil War landmark moments, and has produced storied figures. From Edgefield alone have come the likes of the acclaimed enslaved potter David Drake and Strom Thurmond, the country’s oldest-serving senator, known for his staunch opposition to the civil rights movement. These days, visitors are just as likely to head to the area for its landscape, drawn by winding country roads, twelve-thousand-plus acres of peach orchards, and plentiful state parks with hiking and biking trails. And, if they’re in search of a good meal, by Christine’s Farm to Fork

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Located just around the corner from the Edgefield town square, Christine’s Farm to Fork and the Korean-Greek American at its helm, Christine Smith, have become integral parts of this rural community of fewer than 2,500 people. The restaurant’s menu reads much like an epicurean’s travelogue inspired it—chicken marsala, crab cakes, a gyro platter, shrimp and grits. 

photo: Melissa Corbin
Christine Smith at Christine’s Farm to Fork, with strawberries from her and Jake’s farm.

“That’s just as America goes,” Smith explains, “and is where we are at today with a melting pot of cuisines and family recipes.” And that’s how it goes for her, too. Smith grew up as an outgoing military kid who enjoyed a life of travel and the exposure to cultures that entailed. “I’ve always been a people person because I was forced to be that way,” she says. The menu reflects those jaunts, and her heritage—Greek from her father and Korean from her mother—and her marriage to a South Carolina native, Jake, who was also in the military. 

photo: Melissa Corbin
Smith with local peaches.

When the couple decided to set down roots, they bought Jake’s family farm and home of nearly 140 years in Johnston, just northeast of Edgefield. There, they focused on cultivating the land and raising produce to sell at local farmers markets. Their two sons, Jacob and Jared, had already moved to the region to attend college, and had learned the ins and outs of hospitality while working at Old McDonald Fish Camp, in North Augusta. So when the Smiths’ realtor showed them an Edgefield restaurant space, they all saw the possibilities. 

Launching the restaurant, though, became not just a family effort, but a community one. “Every place we turned, it was like, ‘Let me get you in touch with this person and that person,’” Smith recalls. “What was amazing about this journey is how many people stepped up.” Christine’s Farm to Fork opened in October of 2021, with Jacob and Jared as the chefs and Smith at the front of the house. All the while, she and Jake have continued to work the farm, supplying the kitchen with the freshest of harvests. 

photo: Melissa Corbin
Smith with strawberries on her and Jake’s farm.

Now, on any given night, the fine dining room crowds to capacity. But the restaurant and Smith have come to feed their neighbors beyond the food. Smith helps plan and execute the likes of block parties and charitable fundraisers as the chairperson of the board of the Edgefield County United Way. Samantha Guber, a professional counselor who works as an embedded therapist with local law enforcement and a fellow board member, was the very first customer of Christine’s Farm to Fork. She says that the community at the time was trying to weave a diverse network of support, and needed a leader. “Christine’s was the add-on that was needed to bring everything together,” says Guber, who, with her husband, has raised their family on a street where three of the six households, including hers, are biracial. “The comfort is why we chose Edgefield,” Guber explains, “and Christine is a part of that.” 

Comfort also comes by way of the family recipes Smith and her boys have worked into the lineup, including the Korean barbecue beef, inspired by the bulgogi her mother used to make. Here, Smith’s recipe has been adapted for the home cook.

photo: Melissa Corbin
The Korean barbecue beef dish, as served at Christine’s.


  • Christine’s Bulgogi

    • 2 ½ lb. shaved ribeye or any thinly sliced beef

    • 1 kiwi or Korean pear, pureed

    • ½ tsp. black pepper

    • 2 tbsp. soy sauce

    • 2 tsp. sesame oil

    • 2 tsp. crushed garlic

    • 1 tbsp. finely grated ginger

    • 1 tbsp. brown sugar

    • 1 tbsp. unseasoned rice wine vinegar

    • Pepper and salt, to taste

    • Scallions, carrots, cilantro, or onions, julienned, for garnish

    • Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish


  1. In a Ziploc bag, massage the meat with the pureed kiwi or Korean pear and let sit for approximately 30 minutes to tenderize, depending on the cut of beef. 

  2. Meanwhile, whisk together black pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, and vinegar. Let this mixture sit for up to an hour for the flavors to marry before adding to the tenderized beef. Marinade for no more than another 30 minutes. 

  3. Slowly brown the beef in a nonstick pan over medium heat, and then turn up the heat to high and continue to cook until slightly caramelized. Or, opt to grill the meat in an aluminum foil boat for a more smoky flavor.   

  4. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice or noodles, or in lettuce wraps. Garnish with vegetables of choice, along with perhaps a side of kimchi for extra flavor. (If you prefer a saucier dish, triple the batch of marinade, reserving ⅓ of the batch to finish.) Finish with toasted sesame seeds. 

  5. Tip: You may pre-marinate the beef and freeze flat in freezer Ziploc bags for later use.