Korean Beef Bulgogi is something my mom made for dinner frequently while I was growing up. It was one of my favorite Korean recipes my mom would make for my family. My mom’s Korean Beef Bulgogi recipe is something I still look forward to when my family is able to get together. Since my parents live in Chicago, and I live in LA, I eventually had to learn to make it myself. The recipe I use is the same recipe my mom has always used and it’s my favorite – it’s simple, quick and really delicious.
What is bulgogi?
Bulgogi is a popular Korean BBQ dish (literally translating to “fire meat”) made of thinly sliced marinated beef ribeye or sirloin. The beef is marinated in a blend of soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, sugar, and black pepper. It’s marinated for a few hours which flavors and tenderizes the meat.
Can bulgogi be Frozen?
Yes, our Korean Beef Bulgogi recipe can be marinated and frozen (uncooked) ahead of time for up to 2 months.
Grilling vs Pan/Skillet Frying
Bulgogi can be both cooked on a grill or in a pan/skillet. If using a pan or skillet natural juices will release and gather in the pan, which is often enjoyed with the cooked beef. If using a grill, there will be a distinct ‘char-grilled’ flavor. The flavors will be slightly different depending on how the beef is cooked, but equally delicious nonetheless.
I usually buy steak and thinly slice it myself, although you can find thinly pre-sliced beef at local Asian markets. If you do decide to slice it yourself make sure not to skip out on the first step of partially freezing the beef first. Partially freezing the beef makes it way easier to slice very thin and even pieces. The addition of the Asian pear (or apple) isn’t 100% necessary. I like incorporating it because it adds a really nice and subtle sweetness to the beef. It also helps to tenderize the beef, giving it a nice texture once its cooked.
If you love Korean food as much as we do, you might want to try our Spicy Marinated Pork Belly Hand Rolls. Enjoy!
Korean Beef Bulgogi Recipe
- 1½ pounds boneless ribeye
- ½ yellow onion thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 green onion sliced into 2 inch pieces
- 6 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp mirin (rice wine)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- ¼ tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 small Asian pear peeled cored and chopped (or 1 sweet apple such as gala)
- ½ yellow onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 green onion thinly sliced
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- 3 cups steamed rice
- Place beef in the freezer and partially freeze, about 20 minutes. Remove from freezer and using a sharp knife, thinly slice. Place beef, thinly sliced onion and green onion into a mixing bowl and toss together.
- Place all marinade ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour marinade over beef and onion mixture and mix together until all beef is well and evenly coated. Cover beef and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once skillet is hot add half vegetable oil and swirl to coat.
- Add half beef and onion mixture and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring beef as needed until cooked through, remove from heat. Add remaining oil to skillet followed by remaining beef and onion and repeat until beef has just cooked through and sliced onions just begin to soften. Remove from heat.
- Top beef with remaining green onion and sesame seeds and serve with rice.