Marinade this: Bulgogi Recipe – Korean Barbequed Beef

by Alice Currah on July 27, 2009. Updated January 5, 2012

bulgogi1
There are three dishes in Korean cuisine most people are familiar with. The first one is kimchee, fermented spicy cabbage.  Either you love kimchee or you don’t, there are no shades of gray.  The 2nd and 3rd most popular are Korean barbecued beef dishes, bulgogi and Kalbi / Galbi. The primary difference between bulgogi and kalbi are the cuts of beef used as well as the cooking method.  Traditionally short-ribs are used for preparing Kalbi and is cooked on a charcoal grill or broiled in the oven.  Bulgogi on the other hand is thinly (card stock thin) sliced, against the grain rib-eye steak prepared on a hibachi grill, broiled in the oven, or pan-fried.  Both dishes use a similar or same type of marinade.

Bulgogi can be served as a main dish over a bowl of hot steamy white rice or as a component in other Korean dishes such as japchae, lettuce wraps, banchan (an assortment of Korean side dishes), bibimbap, and kimbap to name a few.  However you decide to eat it, bulgogi will soon become a favorite in your home too! I have also included a gluten-free variation as well.  Enjoy!

Bulgogi Recipe – Korean Barbecue Beef 불고기
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
An easy recipe for Korean Barbecue Beef.
Ingredients
  • 1-1.5 lbs. of thinly sliced rib-eye steak purchased from a Korean market. Or you can slice your own rib-eye or sirloin steak across the grain in paper thin slices. Partially freezing the beef helps with cutting clean slices.
  • ⅓ cup of soy sauce or for a Gluten-Free variation, use San-J Organic Tamari Wheat Free Soy Sauce found in the health food section of your local grocery store.
  • 3 Tbl white sugar
  • 1 Tbl sesame oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ of a medium yellow onion, halved and sliced into medium moon shaped slivers
  • 2 green onions including the white parts, finely sliced into small pieces
  • 2 Tbl toasted sesame seeds
  • ¼ tsp of red pepper flakes
  • 2 pinches of black pepper
  • optional ¼ tsp. of ginger, finely minced
Instructions
  1. Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl except beef and onions. When most of the sugar has dissolved, add beef and onion slices to the bowl and massage the marinade with your hands into each slice of beef. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. To pan fry, place a few slices of beef in single layers and completely flat on a hot oiled frying pan and fry each side until cooked. Some people prefer to cook the bulgogi until some of the edges have turned dark brown and crispy. Serve with a bowl of hot rice. Enjoy!

Side note: Many bulgogi recipes call for shredded apples or Korean apple-pears.  Because the meat is sliced very thinly, I’ve found the addition of fruit to sweeten and tenderize un-necessary especially when using rib-eye steak purchased from either a Korean or Asian grocery store specifically cut for bulgogi. To learn more about bulgogi, Wikipedia has an excellent article here.

bulgogimassage

*If you would prefer a Kalbi recipe, I have one here.

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{ 97 comments… read them below or add one }

Wanda Kelley May 25, 2012 at 6:50 am

You can also use chicken my favorite.

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TONYA May 31, 2012 at 8:36 pm

THIS DISH IS TO DIE FOR…..I FINALLY MADE IT ON MY OWN AND IT CAME OUT SUPER GOOD NO MORE GOING TO THE RESTURANT TO ORDER I’M MAKING MY OWN TY SO MUCH!!!

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raymart July 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Wonderful wonderful recipe. Did it the first time and it came out delicious. Altered it a little the second time to make for a BBQ party and it came out great!

Thanks!

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Amy Rose July 15, 2012 at 6:23 am

Thank you so much for the recipe. My son wanted this for his birthday dinner and I had never cooked it before. This is a fantastic dish. Definateley a house favorite now. Wow!!

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Di July 22, 2012 at 6:39 pm

This is really good, I was stationed in Korea for a year, this is the closest I have come to the “real” stuff.

:O) WONDERFUL! :O)

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bhavani/ameanderingmango July 25, 2012 at 3:52 am

Looks absolutely yum – I’m cooking this for friends tonight, can’t wait (it’s marinating now!). Thanks for sharing a great recipe!

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cheer August 16, 2012 at 8:57 am

I serve this dishe for dinner..and the reaction was great my brother told me that i should take up culinary course instead of nursing..thank you for the wonderful dish

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Victoria March 14, 2013 at 3:05 pm

How did you cook yours ? I cant wait to try it! i heard a celeb say it was his fave dish that his mom made for him. I think it was Michael Strahan. My e-mail is vly1957@hotmail.com . Thank you!

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Alice Currah March 14, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Hi, just in a pan or you can barbeque it on the grill.

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Danny V August 20, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Absolutely delicious!

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Danny V August 20, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Although I should add that I added Crimoni Mushrooms.

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Sook September 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm

I love bulgogi! I’m saving your recipe to try later! I am Korean and love to cook Korean food! I am so glad that there are other bloggers who like and blog about Korean food too!

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Florida September 23, 2012 at 5:53 pm

OMO…this was delicious!! I only had to make one substitution since I didn’t have red pepper flakes. I substituted 1/2 the sesame oil with chili oil. Also, I added some shredded carrot. I cannot wait to make this again. I always have the ingredients on hand and this is so quick and easy! Thank you very much for posting the recipe!!!

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Dei October 6, 2012 at 3:10 pm

I personally love bulgogi, and was lucky to stumble upon your site. I’ve made bulgogi using this recipe several times and its always a hit! thank you for sharing this.

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Ocie Delk October 16, 2012 at 8:30 pm

I wish I could kiss the lady at Ft. Campbell Ky. For making this for me when I walked in and didn’t have any idea what I wanted to eat. Bulgogi is by far my favorite food I could eat everyday.

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Mitchell Ryan October 20, 2012 at 8:01 am

thank you for this recipe i have recently done it for a exam in school and it came out amazing you are a life saver thank you very much its a lovely dish and i will be cooking it a lot more now .

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Mitchell Ryan October 20, 2012 at 8:03 am

thank you for this recipe i have recently done it for a exam in school and it came out amazing you are a life saver thank you very much its a lovely dish and i will be cooking it a lot more now.

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sarah January 3, 2013 at 3:36 am

i dont know if i have commented before but i just wanted to share this little story of mine.
my first year away at college, i asked my mom for her bulgogi recipe. “oh you know, you just add a little of this and a little of that…,” she wasn’t much help. so i scoured the internet and finally settled on this one. it tasted just like my mom’s bulgogi (hers is always the best, you know). now, three years later, i am coming back to this recipe bc i know it is the best one. i am going to make it for my boyfriend for dinner tomorrow. my treat. hopefully i will get a marriage proposal soon!! ;)

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sarah January 3, 2013 at 3:36 am

this is definitely a 5 star recipe!

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Karen February 10, 2013 at 7:21 pm

YES!! This is “authentic” Bulgogi!! So happy to find this recipe of the meal that, during my college days, a friend’s mom would bring to us…so yummy and perfect just as written THANK YOU!

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Dyna Eldaief March 5, 2013 at 1:16 am

This looks great. I had it years ago in a restaurant and would love to be able to make an authentic version.

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Phatlady March 28, 2013 at 2:01 pm

My Korean ajima taught me to add sliced mushrooms and matchstick carrots. Wonderful!

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korean drama online April 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm

I was recommended this blog through my cousin. I am no
longer positive whether or not this post is written
via him as no one else recognise such certain approximately my difficulty.
You are wonderful! Thanks!

Reply

Ty Samuels June 2, 2013 at 2:53 am

I havent had this for about 7 years now i have gotten to the point now to see how i can make it for my self because ive been craving it for that long. This was the only reason why i would stay at my korean friends house, sad to say but his mum made the most awesomest bulgogi ever!!!

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Emily May August 8, 2013 at 11:59 am

So delicious! This is the closest I’ve found to my favourite flavours at the Korean restaurants in LA. Takes quite a bit of effort to get the steak paper thin but it’s so worth it! Using rib eye is a must!

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Jessica September 10, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Amazing recipe, tastes super authentic.

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Holly October 8, 2013 at 11:15 am

This recipe was so good….I did replace the sugar with pear juice, I highly recommend trying this recipe!

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Suhyoung October 31, 2013 at 4:04 am

thanks for recipe, I finally know how to cook this. it was delicious omfg. I’d recommend this recipe to anyone!

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Greg November 6, 2013 at 3:11 pm

You are awesome. I’ve been having trouble finding a good plate of bulgogi since I left Korea. Now I don’t have to search restaurants anymore. I can make it myself.

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Donn Colee December 17, 2013 at 11:04 pm

this is so close to the recipe that i fell in love with in korea that it hurts. this is seriously good stuff!!!

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Jennifer February 12, 2014 at 4:15 pm

This is my go-to recipe! Quick, easy, simple ingredients and SO delicious. As a college student I usually don’t have much time but I make this at least every other week! Thank you :)

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tufr March 12, 2014 at 7:08 pm

This is a very good dish, I found a short cut however, there is a korean bbq simmer sauce that greatly reduces the cooking time.

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Emer Cruz pinoy March 22, 2014 at 12:09 am

its a very delicious dish i like it thanks

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Joleen May 23, 2014 at 12:16 am
NikonGuy July 13, 2014 at 5:49 pm

This is a wonderful dish a ex-girlfriend that happened to be full Korean told me about this dish.. Loved cooking this for her at least twice a month. I added to the recipe a little with Serrano peppers 3 diced up.. Also added the inexpensive half cashews also diced up (About half cup). If it marinates for a full 24 hours sometimes 2 days if you can wait, the meat is Sooooo tender, it is an experience to be savored. Traditionally this dish should be served with a side of rice and Kim-chi. Some people are intimidated by the Kim-chi but it is good if made properly. Not too spicy, but then I do enjoy a little spice or HOT with my dinner.

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