Bulgogi (Korean Beef BBQ)
In this bulgogi dish, thinly sliced beef are grilled in a sweet and savory sauce that produces a delicious and caramelized char.
Bulgogi (불고기) is another Korean BBQ beef dish that is popular like galbi. Bulgogi, however, is easier to prepare than galbi. Since it uses very thin cuts of meat, it is quicker to marinate and cook. Bulgogi is named after the fact that it is traditionally grilled over an open flame. It quite literally means fire (bul, 불) meat (gogi, 고기) in Korean.
There are many styles and ways to prepare this dish. My recipe, here, is a simplified version that does not include vegetables or broth. However, I do like to top my bulgogi with some sliced, fresh perilla leaves and roasted sesame seeds before serving. I like to cook the meat until most of the marinade sauce evaporates and there is a nice, subtle char.
If you would like to add some other ingredients, I recommend cooking the meat with some sliced onions and enoki or shiitake mushrooms. Sliced carrots and green onions are also popular add ons. You could also add bits of bulgogi to japchae, a stir-fry noodle and vegetables dish, for added protein.
Bulgogi Marinade and Freezing
My bulgogi and galbi marinade are exactly the same. I find the marinade works well for both cuts of meats, and so sometimes conveniently prepare both at the same time. I usually freeze them in batches to cook for later meals.
You’ll find marinade recipes differing mostly in the ingredient(s) they use to tenderize the meat. The most commonly used meat tenderizers are Asian pears, pineapple, kiwi, and soda. Since Asian pears are not so easily accessible, I use Bosc pears in my marinade. I find that pineapple and kiwi tend to over-tenderize the meat. I’m also not a huge fan of using soda and instead like to use natural sweeteners (e.g., honey, coconut sugar) and tenderizers.
MISE EN PLACE
PAIRS WELL WITH:
If you make this Bulgogi I would love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment and/or recipe rating at the bottom of this page. And if you have a photo of your food, be sure to tag me on Instagram!
Bulgogi (Korean Beef BBQ)
- 1 lb beef top blade, thinly sliced
- perilla leaves, sliced (optional)
- toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- 85 g yellow onion, chopped (about ¼ of large onion)
- 200 g bosc pear, cubed (about 2 pears)
- ⅓ cup mirin
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- ⅓ cup coconut sugar
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp garlic, crushed
- 4 g ginger, julienned
- Blend the pear, onion, and soy sauce until it forms a purée, and transfer the mixture to a medium size bowl.
- Stir in the mirin, sugar, honey, toasted sesame oil, black pepper, ginger, and garlic.
- Place the meat in a gallon-sized, freezer storage bag.
- Using a ladle, carefully scoop the marinade into the bag.
- Seal the bag, squish the bag around to make sure the marinade is evenly distributed and coating the meat.
- (You can place the bag in the freezer at this point if you would like to save the meat to cook for a later meal. Just let the frozen galbi thaw in the fridge overnight before cooking.)
- Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or preferably overnight.
- Heat a skillet on medium-high heat with a thin layer of cooking oil.
- Place some of the bulgogi onto the skillet and avoid overcrowding.
- Let it cook for about 4 min or until the meat is cooked to your desired doneness.
- If there is too much bulgogi sauce at this point, carefully pour out the sauce and let the meat continue to cook on the skillet and form a nice char. Alternatively, you could keep the sauce and add sliced carrots, onions, and shiitake mushrooms to cook in the sauce with the bulgogi. However, you will not get the caramelized char with the extra sauce.
- Transfer the cooked bulgogi onto a plate, (optional) top with sliced perilla leaves and toasted sesame seeds, and serve immediately.