Korean beef BBQ

Bulgogi 불고기

Hi everybody!
I’m eventually posting a video for bulgogi today. I posted a simple bulgogi recipe a few years ago but it was without a video.

Delicious bulgogi depends on three things: a good cut of beef, a delicious marinade, and the method you use to cook it. So I am very pleased to release the best bulgogi recipe that I’ve ever made: it has all 3 of these elements.

First, a good cut of beef always makes for delicious bulgogi. I mentioned using steak in the video: sirloin, tenderloin, or skirt steak. But you still can make good bulgogi without these choice cuts. Whatever you use, it’s very important to choose marbled beef: leaner cuts like brisket will turn out too tough. Cut the beef thinly against the grain to make it easier to chew, and marinate overnight. The marinade will tenderize the beef and it’ll turn out delicious over a charcoal BBQ.

Secondly, the marinade: the marinade in this recipe is the best that I’ve yet developed. But as I’m constantly experimenting with marinades, I may still develop a better one! I’ll let you know if I do. Feel free to modify the ratios here to your taste, or develop your own marinade. If you do, let me know how it turns out. Also, if you can’t find a Korean pear, use ripe bosc pear: 1 small bosc pear for 1 pound of beef is good.

Thirdly, when we talk about the best cooking methods, grilling over charcoal will always be the best. This is because the marinade, juices and fats drip off the meat onto the coals, burn up there, and then come back to the beef in a wonderful smoke that covers the meat with flavor. You can’t beat charcoal for bulgogi.

I was invited to my friend’s BBQ party in the Catskills in upstate New York a while ago. About 20 people got together and everybody brought something to grill. I prepared bulgogi beef, spicy pork, and bulgogi mushrooms for vegetarians. I was very excited to shoot the video because it would be a wonderful chance for you to see how you can enjoy Korean BBQ in the best conditions.

Everybody loved my bulgogi! Surprisingly my marinated bulgogi mushrooms got a lot of compliments. I was absolutely thrilled to see their happy faces when they tasted it. I can imagine all of your happy faces when you share this with your friends and family.

Also, the recipe for the spicy pork BBQ in this video will be posted soon!



  • 1 pound of beef tenderloin, sliced thinly into pieces ½ inch x 2 inches and ⅛ inch thick

Marinade (for 1 pound of beef):

  • ½ cup of crushed pear
  • ¼ cup onion purée
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 chopped green onion
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs brown sugar (or 1 tbs of brown sugar and 1½ tbs rice syrup)
  • a pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 tbs toasted sesame oil
  • several thin slices of carrot


  1. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add the sliced beef and mix well.
  3. You can grill, pan-fry, or BBQ right after marinating, but it’s best to keep it in the fridge and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight for a tougher cut of beef. Serve with ssamjang.

for Vegetarians:
Use the same marinade above and replace beef with mushrooms. You’ll need 10-12 large dried shiitake mushrooms. Add a few white mushrooms if you like them.

  1. Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in warm water for several hours until they’re soft.
  2. Squeeze out any excess water and slice each mushroom thinly.
  3. Slice some white mushrooms, carrot, and onion.
  4. Mix all of it together in the marinade.
  5. Grill, pan-fry, or BBQ.


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  1. Lsudeene My profile page joined 7/15
    Posted July 22nd, 2015 at 1:56 pm | # |

    Hey Maangchi, I can’t seem to find or get Jinganjang, but do you think kecap manis would work too?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted July 22nd, 2015 at 8:41 pm | # |

      I think kecap manis is sweeter than jinganjang. If you use it, maybe you have to reduce the amount of sugar or honey in the marinade.

  2. munchjenn My profile page joined 7/15
    Posted July 19th, 2015 at 9:22 pm | # |

    I want to make this recipe so badly and I see that you have great reviews. My one concern is I don’t have the resource to cook on a grill or buy another pan at the moment (I’m a student). So, would it be okay to cook in a pan on the stove? I understand the goal is that the beef doesn’t retain the liquid in the pan.. so I don’t know what to do.

    • munchjenn My profile page joined 7/15
      Posted July 19th, 2015 at 9:24 pm | # |

      Never mind, I searched through your responses to other fans. Thank you so much :)

  3. HungryMike My profile page joined 6/15
    Posted June 14th, 2015 at 8:49 pm | # |

    So, it looks like you drain the marinade and remove carrots and onions before cooking?

  4. benedictlim My profile page joined 6/15
    Posted June 3rd, 2015 at 12:37 am | # |

    May I know if I can substitute the beef with chicken. Can I use electric grill or grill pan on the stove to grill the meat?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted June 4th, 2015 at 8:15 pm | # |

      Yes, you can make chicken bulgogi. “Can I use electric grill or grill pan on the stove to grill the meat?” Yes, you can. Enjoy the recipe!

      • carms My profile page joined 6/15
        Posted June 11th, 2015 at 4:51 pm | # |


        Ive made this recipe so many times and got praised for it every time. I absolutely love it!

        But I have a problem :(

        I’ve recently began to eat healthier and diet, and will be substituting beef with chicken. Will the pear still be needed for the chicken? If I leave it out, will it take away the tenderness and sweetness?

        Also, I feel like I might need to but back the sodium and sugar levels. Is there a way I can do that and still have this dish taste good?

  5. cdavis My profile page joined 5/15
    Posted May 30th, 2015 at 9:51 pm | # |

    I just wanted to say thank you for this wonderful recipe! I love everything BBQ and I love how I now expanded my BBQ knowledge to Bulgogi! I marinated some skirt steak but instead of the rice syrup, I used honey (couldn’t find rice syrup). You are right, the best way to grill is over coals! Once you get a nice sear, close the lid and put the meat on the other side of the coals and let the meat soak up some smoke. One of my favorites is a beef japache, so I made that to go with the Bulgogi.

    See full size image

  6. rocknchick Rockford, IL My profile page joined 12/14
    Posted May 27th, 2015 at 2:23 pm | # |

    I’ve made a bunch of your recipes and loved them all, but have one question. When I made bulgogi, I used Perilla oil instead of toasted sesame oil. It turned out pretty good, but was a little more bland and light colored than I expected. Could that substitution have made the difference? We don’t like sesame oil, it’s too strong of a taste. Should we use sesame oil in cooking but use the Perilla when it’s in an uncooked sauce or drizzled on top of things?
    Also- your cookbook is fabulous! :)

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 27th, 2015 at 2:58 pm | # |

      If you don’t like sesame oil flavor, don’t use it. Perilla seed oil sounds good to me. “but was a little more bland and light colored than I expected.” I would add more brown sugar or honey and soy sauce.

  7. agailparsons My profile page joined 5/15
    Posted May 26th, 2015 at 10:40 am | # |

    I made this before I found your recipe for my husband who was stationed in South Korea in the military and he said it always tasted right. I’m glad to see your recipe is very close so I know I’m doing it right. I’ve even made up the meat and froze it for quick meals and it still tastes wonderful.

  8. DenverJJ My profile page joined 4/15
    Posted April 28th, 2015 at 4:12 pm | # |

    I just made this. It was great!! I used to wait tables in a Korean restaurant (and had many meals there) so I was excited to make Bulgogi. The Asian pear was something new for me but I liked it. I eyeballed a small portion of onion, cut it up a bit and put it in the food processor. I did the same with the Asian pear, but a bigger piece. I added all the other ingredients and THEN I turned on the processor to mix and puree everything. It was very easy. I bought some thinly sliced rib eye at HMart, added it to the mariade to sit for about an hour and a half. I stir fried, then steamed veggies in a homemade teriyaki sauce (equal parts soy sauce and mirin with sliced ginger and a little sugar). I fried my bulgogi in a pan on the stove. It turned out fine, but some day I will BBQ over charcoal. Thanks for the recipe! I also love your marinated bean sprouts!

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