Bulgogi (Korean Beef)

Is it just me or is Korean food trending, now? It’s hard to tell sometimes because when I crave sumpin’, I seem to see it everywhere! I’m blaming Momofuku. I keep hearing so much about the restaurants and books and owner/chef David Chang.


I do have one of his recipes on my site, Momofuku’s Bo Ssam. It’s insanely good. But I digress, and this isn’t even a David Chang recipe. It’s Bugolgi, and is probably the most recognized of Korean dishes here in the States. Well, Bulgolgi & Kimchi. Once you try Bulgolgi, you’ll want it again and again.

When I’m talking Bulgolgi, I’m talking about wafer thin slices of tender beef, marinated overnight. Then grilled (or in this case) cooked in a skillet until the edges caramelize. That marinade is going to deepen and darken and just sear itself into the meat. It’s marvelous and seems to be just the way we Americans *including me* like it!

Then you’re going to serve it with lots of little dishes (maybe some Kimchi) and Ssamjang (sauce) or maybe some Gochujang or Sriracha or any Chile Paste, like we did. You might even want to add one of these spicy sauces to the marinade, although that’s probably more a U.S. thing to do.


If you want to go simple, serve over rice. If you want to be like me, which is kind of a weird thing to say, now that I think about it, make it into wraps, and toss out lettuce leaves, thinly sliced cabbage or Asian Slaw, sprinkle the whole works with a little thinly sliced green onion like I did, and Toasted Sesame Seeds, like I didn’t – I forgot. Just plain forgot. *sighs*

There are a number of vegetables that can go into or onto Bulgolgi, including mushrooms and thinly sliced carrots. They’re often marinated and cooked with the Bulgolgi. And of course, for the wraps, themselves, a whole array of almost anything you’d like can be set out.

It seems that here in the U.S. you’re likely to find fewer veggies (and more sugar) in Bulgolgi than in Korea; at least that was my observation when reading translated google sites, not that I’m any authority…but if you’d like to stretch the meat, make it a more cost-effective and healthier meal, add more veggies. Ask your butcher to cut the beef or freeze it for 20 minutes to make it easier to slice, and buy that beef on a good sale!


Bulgogi, Korean Beef

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 1/2 pounds sirloin
  • 1 onion, cut in half; cut one of the halves into half moons, the other half in chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped ginger
  • 1/2 Asian pear, in chunks
  • 1/3 cup soy
  • 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 green onions, sliced for garnish
  • Lettuce, rice and accompaniments of your choice

Wrap the steak in plastic wrap and freeze for 20 minutes or so to firm up. Thinly slice across the grain into about ⅛-inch slices.

Place the beef and sliced onion in a gallon freezer bag or a large bowl and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the chunked onion, garlic, Asian pear and grated ginger and process until it’s broken down. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and sugar and pulse until combined. Pour over steak and onions and mix to combine. Add the sliced green onion and pepper and mix again. Refrigerate for 30 minutes up to overnight.

When ready to cook, preheat a cast-iron pan or large skillet over high heat, work in batches or use two skillets. Add the meat, onions and marinade to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until the meat is cooked through, two to three minutes.

Push the meat off to one side and tilt skillet so the juices flow over to the other. Nudge the skillet so the majority of the heat from the eye is over the side with most of the juices and the meat is just off the heat. Continue to cook until the juices begin to brown and caramelize. Push the cooked meat back into the now caramelized juices and continue to cook a minute or two until the meat is coated and seared with the juices, two to three more minutes.

Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.

Garnish with sliced green onion and sesame seeds and serve with desired accompaniments.

Note: if you wish to serve over rice, you might not want the beef/sauce caramelized as much as those juices are wonderful as they mingle with rice.

from the kitchen of http://www.frugalhausfrau.com

I’ll be sharing this recipe on Fiesta Friday #138 , Angie’s Link Party – and I’m hosting this week with the incomparable Johanna of French Gardener Dishes.

I hope you’ll join us there as well as on Throwback Thursday, a weekly endeavor that includes myself and a couple of great blogger/friends!

48 thoughts on “Bulgogi (Korean Beef)”

  1. HI Mollie– I’ve gotten bulgogi already marinated at Trader Joe’s. But I’ll bet yours is a lot better!! Love the tip about freezing the meat to slice. This really does look delicious– our kids love Korean food– saving the recipe for when they come down! thank Mollie! take care friend. xo

  2. Hey, that’s one my family’s top three faves. I don’t know what the other two are but this one is definitely up there 😄 Since they ask for it like once a week! Fortunately, there’s a Korean/Japanese store that sells the marinated meat so you can just pick up a container and throw it on the grill…well, minus the container of course 😄 Thanks for cohosting! 😘

    1. My pleasure, Angie! Aren’t you lucky to live so close! And to have it premarinated and sliced! I haven’t put it on the grill yet, coz I love how caramelized it gets in the pan, but do you use one of those perforated grill pans?

      1. It’s not that close, 30 mins ride but hey, beggars can’t be choosers, and yes I have one of those grill topper pans for vegetables that I use when grilling bulgogi. But I’ve been looking for a table top grill, just like the ones they use at Korean BBQ restaurants. But then, I’ll need to cut a hole in my table!!

  3. Totally drooling over this. The photo’s are calling my name… To bad it’s to late at night and I am to far from any stores to make this dish a reality tonight!

  4. I do think Korean food is trending Mollie. I have to give it a try. Had a similar beef made by a Korean friend and it was served wrapped in lettuce. So tender and flavorful. I will give this a try it looks too good.

        1. I know just what you mean, and don’t forget the tater tot casserole or pork chops covered in mushroom soup! But my Mom watched the Galloping Gourmet and you never knew when she’d make some wild departure from the norm!!

    1. I’m guessing you mean my Gibson, on my profile pic? Yes, he was my 97 pound American Field lab, a “Dudley” with a pink nose. He passed away in early June. My heart is still broken, although I have a new puppy, now, Chance.

    2. You might be interested to know that he was trained first as a therapy dog and we did a lot of visiting, but then later he was specifically trained (and his training documented) as a service dog for me…but he was a very special case, extremely bright, winning personality. I know it’s not the normal “career path” for a service animal.

  5. I’ve had Korean bulgogi a few times at one of those Mongolian wok type places where you select your meats, condiments and veggies and they cook it for you and when I tried to make it myself, my beef was too thick and ended up tough and chewy. The flavour was good though.

    I’ll have to give your marinade etc a try. Especially the part with the Asian pear. I still have issues with fruit in meat dishes. 🙂

    Is that sambal oelek on the finished dish?

        1. This is by the same company that makes Sriracha, my son happened to notice. It’s not quite as hot as Sriracha is. I’ve seen different ones all over, so it might be in your Asian section of the supermarket…

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