Korean Beef Bulgogi [Video]

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet
Updated:
Published:
5 from 5 reviews

Asian food recipes Beef Recipes

Cook time Cook time: 15 minutes

Beef Bulgogi is smoky, juicy, slightly sweet, and melt-in-your-mouth tender. Eat this delicious Korean dish on its own, with hot rice, or wrapped in fresh lettuce with kimchi! 

Want to try more flavors from around the world? Try the complex flavors of my Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala, feast on Mexican Stuffed Peppers, and switch your usual dinners with my Keto Italian Chicken Skewers!

Korean Beef Bulgogi

Beef Bulgogi also goes by the name “Korean BBQ beef” which has taken the culinary world by storm in recent years. It seems like everyone I know (including me!) loves Korean BBQ. It’s so fun to gather around the grill, cook your meat, try different sides, and sample authentic Korean cuisine!

Naturally, it wasn’t long before I tried my hand at Beef Bulgogi. To my surprise, this recipe was so easy to put together. Unless you frequently cook Asian-inspired ingredients, you might need to hunt down unique ingredients like rice vinegar, sesame oil, and Asian pear.

I promise you it’s worth it— this dish is so tasty, you’ll be making it over and over!

What is beef bulgogi?

The name of this recipe directly translates to “fire meat,” which refers to the way it’s traditionally cooked over a fire. While it can be made from chicken or pork, bulgogi is generally made of tender beef.

This traditional Korean dish has been around for thousands of years and remains one of the most requested dishes in Korean BBQ joints.

How to make Korean Beef Bulgogi

  • Prepare the meat. Partially freeze the meat. When ready, slice thinly across the grain.
  • Marinate. Combine all the ingredients in a gallon Ziplock bag, then add the beef slices. Set aside for at least two hours.
  • Cook. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan. Add one layer of meat. Let cook and char 2-3 minutes per side, then flip once. Repeat with the rest.
  • Serve. Garnish with green onions, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve the bulgogi immediately.

What cut of beef do I use?

Use the most tender, marbled cuts you can find, such as flank steak, tenderloin, and top sirloin. If you’d like to splurge, you can use ribeye. The more tender, the better— we’ll just be pan-frying or grilling them for a couple of minutes, so the quality of the meat is key to the whole dish.

How to cut Bulgogi Beef?

Pre-cut bulgogi beef is available in some shops, but I highly suggest you learn how to DIY. Doing so gives you greater control over the quality and amount of fat and gristle in your meat. It’s quite easy:

  • Wrap the meat in plastic wrap.
  • Partially freeze up to 30 minutes.
  • Unwrap. Check if your knife goes easily through the meat. If it does, it’s ready. If not, freeze it for an additional 30 minutes or more.
  • Slice across the grain. Aim for ¼ thick slices.

What does it taste like?

Beef bulgogi is unbelievably tender. The soy sauce makes it savory, with some mild sweetness from the pear and sugar, plus the perfect level of acidity from the rice vinegar. Adding another layer of traditional Asian flavors are ginger, sesame oil, garlic, and hot chili flakes. 

Finally, the juicy steak is charred to bring out that smoky flavor. It’s hard to describe how good it is, so you have to try it out to yourself!

What to serve with:

Recreate the Korean BBQ experience in your kitchen! I serve this with hot, steamed white rice. If you have an Asian or Korean store near you, grab some banchan (aka Korean side dishes) like different types of kimchi, pickled radish, candied sweet potatoes, and seasoned soybean sprouts.

Not into carbs? Wrap the bulgogi in some crisp lettuce leaves with kimchi, ssamjang, and if you can find them, perilla leaves. 

How to store it:

Just put the leftovers in a Ziplock bag or a freezer-safe container. Both cooked and marinated versions can last a few days refrigerated. Freeze it them if you’re planning to keep for longer.

Recipe tips:

  • For best charring, use a cast-iron grill pan.
  • Cook in batches to maintain the high heat of the oil. 
  • Marinate overnight or longer for maximum flavor.

Save Recipe
5 from 5 reviews

Korean Beef Bulgogi

Beef Bulgogi is smoky, juicy, slightly sweet, and melt-in-your-mouth tender. Eat this delicious Korean dish on its own, with hot rice, or wrapped in fresh lettuce with kimchi! 

Author: Catalina Castravet Serves: 4 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Total time: 3 hrs

Ingredients

Marinade:

Instructions

Chill the Steak:

Marinate:

Cook:

Nutrition information

Calories: 503 Carbohydrates: 14 Protein: 50 Fat: 27 Saturated Fat: 12 Cholesterol: 136 Sodium: 657 Potassium: 854 Fiber: 1 Sugar: 11 Vitamin A: 78 Vitamin C: 2 Calcium: 62 Iron: 4
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Comments

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Sherry

The beef looks so tender, juicy and delicious! I am sure my husband will love this dish, as will I.

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Ruth I

I love eating Korean foods!. Aside from their exceptional taste I love how they make their flavourful dishes turns out amazingly delicious. I've ate beef bulgogi before at a Korean restaurant. This is a must try. Thanks for this I'll now learn how to cook this at home.

Reply

Ruth I

I've never tried lentil stew before. I'm glad that this is also good for women. Will definitely try this one.

Reply

Toni

That looks really good! Will quickly become a new favorite!

Reply

Celebrate Woman Today

The flavor is in the sauce! I love Korean side dishes, as they are full of probiotics.

Reply

Natalie

This looks so delicious. Perfectly flavored and yummy. Love the marinade. I bet my family will love this. Thanks!

Reply

Katzmom

What can be a substitute for Asian pear? I’ve never seen them

Reply

A regular pear if you can't find the Asian version.

Reply

Meg

I never leave comments but this marinade was so mother freaking good I had to give you Some praise. A YT video told me that if I couldn’t find an Asian pear, to use an apple so that’s what I did, and I added green onion. Amazing.

Reply

so happy that you liked it

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Kelly

This was so good!! My store didn’t have a flank steak so I had to get a skirt steak and it was a little rough to bite into. I will definitely be trying this with the flank or even ribeye would be amazing!!!!

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Mark

Coyote or fox great for this.

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Arely

YAS I was going to ask the same I’m definitely try this next time

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[email protected]

I was in the Army and was looking forward to going to Korea but didn’t go. Love this type of cuisine and looking forward to trying your recipe for bulgogi.

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Wendy Huston

Made this tonight with rice noodles. Best thing ever! Great taste and it’s filling! We plan on this at least once a week!

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Liz

We loved it! Will definitely make again!

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Ellen M

A fuji apple can be used as a substitute also.

Reply

yes

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