Korean Beef Bulgogi

Korean Beef Bulgogi

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  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: Marinade for 1 lb. (1 serving)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
485 Calories
14g Fat
83g Carbs
10g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: Marinade for 1 lb. (1 serving)
Amount per serving
Calories 485
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2865mg 125%
Total Carbohydrate 83g 30%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Protein 10g
Calcium 161mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is the basic recipe used to make Korean grilled or broiled beef, known as bulgogi. If you don't know what bulgogi is, you're in for a real treat.

This most popular of Korean dishes includes thinly sliced meat that has a smoky-sweet flavor when broiled or cooked on the grill. Bulgogi is even delicious stir-fried, and the tender beef can be used in anything from Korean “sushi” rolls (kimbap) to stir-fried noodles (japchae, chapchae). Bulgogi is usually accompanied with lettuce wraps and spicy red pepper paste (kochujang) for wrapping and spicing up the meat.

The sweet-and-salty marinade is an essential component of this traditional dish that helps to tenderize the meat and give it lots of flavors.

This marinade makes enough for 1 pound of meat, but it stores well in the refrigerator, so triple it and try it on anything from chicken drumsticks to sliced steak.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons garlic (chopped, about 2 cloves)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed juice from an Asian pear
  • 1 tablespoon Japanese rice wine (mirin or dry white wine)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 green onions (finely chopped, including white part)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound beef (thinly sliced)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, soy sauce, sugar, honey, pear juice, rice wine, sesame oil, green onions, and pepper until sugar and honey are dissolved.

  3. Mix the marinade into meat with your hands or with chopsticks, making sure all the meat is covered.

  4. Refrigerate the beef for at least 3 hours or overnight.

  5. Once the meat has been refrigerated for the appropriate amount of time, grill it, broil it, or stir-fry the beef until it is well-done and caramelized on the outside.

  6. When you're done, serve the beef with rice, lettuce leaves, and side dishes.

Tips

  • For the beef, top sirloin or tenderloin work best, but almost any steak cut will do. The best quality meat will obviously taste the best, so don't skimp on cost, unless you truly cannot afford quality beef.
  • If you can, ask the butcher at the meat counter to slice it for you into very thin strips. Korean and/or Asian grocery stores will often have meat for Bulgogi pre-sliced for sale. So, try to find an Asian supermarket in your area where the butchers will be accustomed to slicing the meat very thinly for patrons.
  • If the beef is not pre-sliced when you buy it, a trick to making it easier to cut at home is to freeze the beef for 15 minutes before you slice it.
  • When marinading the beef, for tougher cuts, the more hours, the better. So, double the amount of time the beef will stay in the fridge if you have a batch of tough meat. You can also freeze the uncooked marinated beef in small amounts for later use.
  • Any marinade leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for later use as long as no raw meat has sat in it. If that is the case, discard the marinade. 
  • When doubling or tripling this recipe, it is a good idea to drizzle enough of the marinade over the meat in a container rather than immersing the meat in the container of marinade thereby contaminating it.

Recipe Variation

  • If you're not into beef, you can also use the marinade quite successfully for pork or chicken instead.

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