Marinade this: Bulgogi Recipe – Korean Barbequed Beef

bulgogi1 Marinade this: Bulgogi Recipe   Korean Barbequed Beef
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!

5.0 from 22 reviews
Bulgogi Recipe - Korean Barbecue Beef 불고기
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
An easy recipe for Korean Barbecue Beef.
  • 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
  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 Marinade this: Bulgogi Recipe   Korean Barbequed Beef

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

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  1. Greg says

    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.

  2. Jennifer says

    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 :)

  3. tufr says

    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.

  4. NikonGuy says

    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.

  5. erica says

    Thank you for this recipe. I am trying it tonight and hope it’s as good as or close to my mother in laws bulgogi! I moved out of state last year and miss her Korean cooking tremendously! I have tried numerous Korean restaurants and none can touch her food and was about ready to give up till coming across this yummy looking recipe!

  6. Heather says

    Man, oh man, this is delicious. I made this two weeks ago and it has been requested numerous times since. I’ve got it sitting in my fridge right now soaking up the great marinade. The only thing I did different was add a little mirin, and double up on the garlic and onion. Served with kimchi and rice, and even my nephew who i is the pickiest eater I have ever seen in my life gobbles it up

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