Bulgogi (Korean BBQ Beef)Jump to Recipe
Nothing screams Korean cuisine like Bulgogi or Korean BBQ Beef. Delicious juicy and tender slices of beef marinated in a mildly sweet and savoury sauce. Grilled or barbequed, it doesn’t matter. It will soon be a summertime favourite on the dinner table.
What is Bulgogi?
Bulgogi, pronounced “bul-gow-gee”, for those who don’t already know, is Korean BBQ beef. It gets its name from how it is prepared. “Bul” means fire in Korean, and “gogi” is a general term for meat. Thin slices of meat are marinated and then traditionally grilled over an open flame. Nowadays, it’s more common to grill on a stovetop grill though.
Other types of meat like chicken or pork can be used but those are called ‘dak bulgogi’ and ‘dweji bulgogi’ respectively. Bulgogi generally refers to the beef version.
Like any other Asian cuisine recipe, there are regional variations. The most popular and commonly served version in Korean restaurants here is Seoul-style.
What Does It Taste Like?
The main ingredients for the marinade include soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar and garlic. You can adjust the proportions of each ingredient depending on your taste. For a less sweet sauce, add less brown sugar. Just make sure you don’t substitute it for honey or it will cause your beef to burn easier.
The secret to authentic and delicious bulgogi is using some Korean/Asian pear in the marinade! The enzymes in the pear help break down the meat as it marinates and adds to the sweetness of the sauce. The end result is extra tender beef. You can substitute with kiwi, pineapple or Fiji apples as well.
Bulgogi (Korean BBQ Beef) Recipe
- 3 stalks green onion
- 4-inch piece of carrot
- 2 chilli peppers, (optional)
- 1 ½ lb beef chuck or rib eye
- 1 tbsp seasme oil
- ½ tbsp toasted white sesame seeds, (for garnish)
- 4 tbsp Korean soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 8 cloves garlic
- ½ Asian pear
- freshly ground black pepper
- Start by peeling and mincing the garlic for the marinade.
- Rinse off the Asian pear and grate half of it into a large bowl. After, add and mix all the ingredients for the marinade together in the bowl.
- Slice the meat thinly before adding it to the marinade. If you’re having a hard time slicing it to be thin enough, try freezing it for about 2 hours (depending on the size and thickness) before starting the recipe.
- Prep the vegetables. Slice the onions and chop the green onions. If you are using chilli peppers, chop them up as well.
- Using a peeler, peel some carrot. Or you can slice them thinly with a knife.
- Add all the vegetables, chilli peppers and sliced beef to the marinade and mix together. Make sure everything is evenly coated and the slices of beef are not sticking together. Marinade for at least 30 minutes. For the best results, marinate overnight.
- After 30 minutes have passed, heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
- Grill the marinated meat in a single layer until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- When the meat is finished cooking, transfer to a serving plate and garnish with sesame seeds. Bulgogi is best served hot and with a side of rice. Enjoy!