Bulgogi Chicken

charcoal grilled bulgogi marinated chicken with sliced scallions, kim chi, sesame seeds and lettuce

The Spruce / Pete Scherer 

  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Marinade Time: 60 mins
  • Servings: 4 to 6 servings
  • Yields: 2 pounds

This chicken bulgogi is easy enough to prepare for a weeknight meal, but it feels like a special treat, a perfect recipe for a timeless dish—quick, simple, and yet sublime.

Bulgogi is most often made with thinly sliced beef, but it’s just as fantastic with chicken. There are a few adjustments that come along with the change in protein. Rather than slice thinly, the chicken should be cut into strips that maximize surface area without sacrificing grillability. Remember, chicken isn’t quite as sturdy as beef, so don’t slice your meat too thin unless you plan to cook on the stove instead of a grill. 

Use a grill if you can—bulgogi means “fire meat” after all—and don’t be afraid of a little char. The smoky sizzle of a charcoal fire can't be beat. Fire meat has been around for a long time for a reason: it’s delicious.

Serve with lettuce, perilla, sticky rice, kimchi and ssamjang—the Korean sauce made with fermented soybean paste, gochujang, mirin and sesame—and any other pickles, sauces, herbs and whatnot that sound good to you. It’s incredibly fun and tasty to play the fusion game with this dish. Try a dash of salsa or a shot of curry and a few basil leaves. The meat can also be made ahead of time, so that all you have to do is make fresh rice, reheat the meat and assemble the condiments. It’s almost like sending yourself takeout Korean barbecue from the past.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 red onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (grated or finely chopped)
  • 1 (15-gram) piece fresh ginger (grated)
  • 1/4 cup scallion (whites only, finely chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • Garnish: Green onion tops (sliced on a bias)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Slice the chicken thighs into strips that are 1 to 2 inches wide and several inches long. For smaller thighs, just slice them in half lengthwise.

  3. Combine the other ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

  4. Add the chicken strips to the marinade and stir to coat them thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

  5. Set up a grill for searing.

  6. Grill the marinated chicken strips for two to three minutes per side, depending on their thickness.

  7. When fully cooked, remove to a platter and top with the sliced green onion tops.

  8. Serve immediately with desired accompaniments.

Tip

  • Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to a week or freeze for up to a month.

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