Bulgogi is one of my favorite Korean dishes. It takes seconds to prepare and everyone that I have made if for enjoys it tremendously. Even my mother, who is a notoriously picky eater will chow down on what she affectionately calls Bull-Doggy!
My kids love it too which is always win. The beef is super tender, making it easy for them to eat and it’s not spicy like a lot of Korean dishes so they love it even more. I have learned a few things about Korean cooking lately, but the biggest thing, is that every family does it different. I recently made Gabli, another Korean BBQ beef dish, for a wonderful Korean lady. She was super excited that I took an interest in her culinary heritage and I’ve gone to her to answer questions I’ve had along the way. She made Bulgogi for me one night and her recipe was super simple, consisted mostly of soy, and had added carrots into her marinade. It’s something that I have seen before but have yet to do myself. She also doesn’t use ginger. She feels it changes the taste of the meat too much, whereas I LOVE the little bit of ginger that’s in my recipe.
My version of Bulgogi starts off with super thinly sliced rib eye. You can find this in a Korean market, pre-sliced and ready to go, or you can thinly slice it up yourself by using a super sharp knife and slightly freezing your rib eye to firm it up slightly. To make the marinade quickly, place the onion, ginger and garlic into a small food processor or blender and let it rip. The onion will give up a lot of water and you’ll end up with a liquid paste.
Once you have the paste, stir in the soy, mirin and scallions before rubbing it thoroughly into the sliced beef. Place the whole thing into a zip-top bag or airtight container and let sit overnight. When you’re ready to cook it, you’ll want to head a cast iron or stainless steel skillet over high heat. It should be screaming hot when you add in the beef. You wanted to caramelize quickly without over cooking it. You can use a non-stick skillet but you don’t get the same results. There is something with non-stick that just doesn’t allow for quickly browning meats.
If you don’t have a large enough pan, cook the beef in batches. It won’t take long before the Bulgogi is cooked through. Mere minutes are all you need so make sure you have everything else ready to go. It’s tasty served over rice with some kimchi or wrapped up in a lettuce cup with a bit of Ssamjang. I like to serve Bulgogi with a quick Asian cucumber salad and stir fried green beans.
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Using a cast iron pan, this thinly slice beef is quickly seared to perfection. Enjoy Bulgogi with rice, or wrap it up in some lettuce with a bit spicy Ssamjang.
- 1 1/2 lbs thinly sliced rib eye
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 1/4 c soy
- 2 tbs mirin
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 inch piece of ginger
- 4-6 scallions
- In a blender or food processor, combine the onion, garlic and ginger and puree till smooth.
- Add in the soy and mirin and mix thoroughly.
- Add the marinade to the thinly sliced beef, using your hands to make sure every piece gets covered in the marinade.
- Slice the scallions into 4 or 5 pieces that are 2 to 3 inches long and add that to your beef.
- Cover and let sit overnight in the fridge.
- Preheat a cast iron pan, griddle or grill over high heat until screaming hot.
- Add the beef to the pan making sure there is plenty of room so that it sears and not steams.
- Cooks the beef in batches if needed.
- Leave it undisturbed until it is nicely brown and crusty before giving it a stir to finish cooking.
- Serve over rice with some kimichi or in lettuce wraps with a bit of Ssamjang.
I usually serve a quick pickled cucumber salad and stir fried green beans in a garlic black bean sauce.
Don’t forget the Kimchi!