Digital kitchen scale, Measuring cups, Measuring spoons, Cutting board, Chef’s knife, Mandolin, 4 medium bowls, Whisk, Gallon-size zip-top bag, Small saucepan, Small fine-mesh sieve, Small liquid measuring cup, 5 small bowls, Pint-size glass canning jar with lid, Large fine-mesh sieve, Medium saucepan with tight-fitting lid, rice cooker or electric countertop multicooker (see Cook’s Note), 12-inch cast-iron skillet with lid, Wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, 12-inch nonstick skillet, Chopstick, Silicone spatula
The meat: In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, doenjang, two of the scallions, 1 tablespoon of the garlic, 1 tablespoon of the ginger, and the brown sugar. Transfer 1/2 cup of this mixture to a gallon-size zip-top bag and add the short ribs. Seal, removing as much air as possible, then massage the bag to thoroughly coat the meat. Transfer to the fridge for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight.
The mushrooms: Place the remaining soy sauce mixture in a small saucepan along with 1/2 cup of the water and the dried mushrooms. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender and hydrated, 20 to 25 minutes. Strain, pressing on the mushrooms to remove their liquid. Reserve both the mushrooms and their cooking liquid. Roughly chop or thinly slice the mushrooms, if desired, and set aside near the stovetop. Rinse out the saucepan.
The sauce: Combine the gochujang and 2 teaspoons of the rice vinegar with 2 tablespoons of the mushroom cooking liquid in a small bowl. Stir well and season with additional rice vinegar to taste. Set aside for serving.
The flavor base: In a small bowl, combine the remaining garlic, remaining ginger, and the 2 remaining scallions. Scoop 1 scant tablespoon of this mixture into the now-clean saucepan. Set the remainder aside as you’ll need it for the final assembly.
The pickles: To the saucepan, add 1/4 cup of the water, the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, the granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, place the cucumber slices in a pint-size glass canning jar. When the pickling liquid boils, immediately pour over the cucumbers. Cool to room temperature, cover tightly, and refrigerate.
The rice: Place a fine-mesh sieve in a medium bowl. Place the rice in the sieve, then fill the bowl with cold water. Swirl the rice around in the water using your fingers, then remove the sieve from the bowl to drain the rice. Dump the water and repeat until the water is mostly clear, 3 to 5 times. Drain the rice well and transfer to a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the remaining 2 cups of water and season with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Give the rice a single stir, reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and rest 10 minutes, still covered. Finally, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork to release excess steam and to help the outer starch to solidify. Transfer to a bowl or, if making ahead, cool completely and transfer to a zip-top bag for refrigeration.
The vegetables: Place a well-seasoned 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes. When the skillet just starts to smoke, add 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil, followed by the bean sprouts, 1/2 teaspoon of the flavor base, and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sprouts start to soften, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl and wipe out the skillet. Add another teaspoon of the sesame oil, followed by the spinach, 1 teaspoon flavor base, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a second small bowl, wipe out the skillet, and add another teaspoon of the sesame oil, followed by the rehydrated mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a third small bowl, then wipe out the skillet yet again.
Cook the meat: Place the skillet over medium-high heat, and when it just begins to smoke, add 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil. Add the beef as well as the marinade and cook, stirring often, until the meat is cooked through and the sauce reduces to a sticky glaze, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer meat to yet another bowl, remove the skillet from the heat, and wipe it out.
Assemble the bibimbap: Off the heat, coat the skillet (and its sides) with the remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil. Add the rice and press into an even layer. Position the meat over a quarter of the rice, then mound the vegetables, each in their own separate piles, leaving open space between them for the eggs and the center for sauce. Cover the skillet, place over medium heat, and cook until the bottom of the rice is browned and crisp, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat.
The eggs: While the rice is crisping, drizzle the neutral oil across a 12-inch nonstick skillet. Evenly space the eggs in the skillet. (I find transferring the eggs in a small bowl helps here.) Leave at room temperature for 10 minutes. Season the egg whites with a few pinches of salt, and place over medium heat. (If you’re using an electric cooktop, begin heating the burner before adding the skillet.) Cook, uncovered, for 4 minutes. If the whites start to balloon up, just poke with a wooden chopstick to deflate. While the eggs cook, lightly lube a platter with oil or nonstick cooking spray. When the 4 minutes are up, slide the eggs onto the platter and rest for 1 minute. Cut into 4 individual egg wedges.
Uncover the skillet with the bibimbap. Place a dollop of sauce in the middle of the skillet and place the eggs between the vegetables. Sprinkle with the additional scallions and drizzle with an additional tablespoon of sesame oil, if desired. After the diners all view the lovely order of the dish, I like to stir everything together in front of them just to remind them how mixed up and crazy the world is. Serve with the cucumber pickles and additional sauce on the side.
You can also use a rice cooker or electric countertop multicooker to prepare the rice, following the directions for your make and model.