Recipes

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!

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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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59 Comments:

  1. ffchen225 Fremont My profile page joined 11/14
    Posted November 30th, 2014 at 1:45 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    I love your receipt sooooo much. I will try the easy ones first during winter break. What kind of foot processor did you use in the Vedic? Do you have any recommendations?

    Thanks,
    Karri

  2. koreanbwoy Oahu My profile page joined 11/14
    Posted November 24th, 2014 at 8:08 pm | # |

    Hey Maangchi, I tried this recipe and the sauce came out a bit thick. Is it supposed to be like that? I haven’t eaten it yet, because it’s still marinating for dinner.

  3. squzzie New York My profile page joined 9/14
    Posted September 4th, 2014 at 5:37 pm | # |

    Do you have nutritional information for this recipe? Number of grams of fat, carbs, protein, fiber, etc.? My husband is making this dish for dinner tonight, and I am making an effort to keep better track of what I am eating :) It sounds delicious!

  4. issnyder Goose Creek, SC (Charleston) My profile page joined 7/14
    Posted July 10th, 2014 at 3:04 pm | # |

    I make bulgogi all the time. I learned how to make it from my Korean mother and aunt. My aunt revealed her secret for tenderizing the beef many years ago. Instead of using brown sugar, she uses Coca-Cola (not diet!) as a sweetener and tenderizer. It sounds crazy but it introduces a very unique flavor. For a pound of meat used in your demonstration, about a half to full cup of Coca-Cola does the trick. If you are ever in Charleston SC, Mama Kim’s on King Street is the place to go for very good Korean food.

  5. hwangchorong CT USA My profile page joined 6/14
    Posted June 2nd, 2014 at 1:36 pm | # |

    Maangchi I’m such a huge fan. I started cooking not so long ago. This recipe and the thousands of other ones are just amazing! My mom was so surprised at my korean cooking skills she asked me how I was making this! I just told her ” My mother in law (시어머니 named Maangchi) OF COURSE. Your website is a precious goldmine exploding with delicious recipes. Please never stop and Thank you for sharing us your talents.and God Bless!

  6. d3mon1977 Netherlands My profile page joined 5/14
    Posted May 19th, 2014 at 1:29 pm | # |

    When i wanna make this on the bbq, can i ask what is the name of that plate with holes you used in the movie? i’d like to buy something like that. help me please.

    d3mon1977@gmail.com

  7. trudefaith victor mt My profile page joined 4/14
    Posted April 4th, 2014 at 11:47 am | # |

    Hi ! I made this recipe for my family last night and we all loved it ! thank you !

  8. kirameki Austin My profile page joined 4/14
    Posted April 3rd, 2014 at 11:53 am | # |

    I stumbled across this recipe (and your blog!) after chatting with a friend about which cut of beef is typically used for making bulgolgi. As a vegetarian, it made my day that you had thought to write a vegetarian version of the recipe! Bulgolgi is definitely something I’ve missed since I stopped eating meat. Do you think you could use the marinade on tofu, tempeh or other vegetarian proteins? If so, would you use a pound of, say, tofu in place of the pound of beef?

    I’m definitely going to try out the mushroom bulgolgi and be sure to share the original version with my meat-eating friends! ;)

  9. chai_cutie Cebu My profile page joined 3/14
    Posted March 9th, 2014 at 8:04 pm | # |

    hi… how can i make this recipe using 2 kilos of beef?

    • ddnorman Southern NH, USA My profile page I'm a fan! joined 9/13
      Posted March 9th, 2014 at 9:57 pm | # |

      Hi chai_cutie!

      Since the recipe is for 1 lb of beef and 1 lb of beef is roughly 1/2 kilo, then 2 kilos is about 4 lbs. In fact its 4.4 lbs. So you could multiply all ingredients by 4 to do 2 kilos of beef.

      Hope this helps!
      Dave

  10. wernie SG My profile page joined 9/13
    Posted September 17th, 2013 at 4:12 am | # |

    If I were to replace beef with chicken, which part of chicken should I use and how should I slice it?

  11. okla1004 edmond, ok My profile page joined 8/13
    Posted August 20th, 2013 at 12:32 pm | # |

    Love to try your recipe! but what’s the serving size?

  12. MixKorFam5 California My profile page joined 8/13
    Posted August 11th, 2013 at 12:02 am | # |

    I just tried this recipe the other day and was a big hit! My mother in law is from Korea and is not easy to please when it comes to food. But she even liked it! My husband enjoyed it so much he wants me to make it for our daighter’s 1st birthday!! Thank you so much!

  13. mrmac1210 Georgia My profile page joined 8/13
    Posted August 3rd, 2013 at 6:43 pm | # |

    Sorry if this was already asked, but what type of lettuce leaf was the wrap?

  14. Kimk77 Md My profile page joined 7/13
    Posted July 16th, 2013 at 11:13 pm | # |

    Anyeoung Hasayeo!
    I am so glad I came across your site!! I am Korean but was born here in America, my mom lives with my sister about 10 minutes away which is great because it seems that the only time I get to eat Korean food is going over there! My husband and kids will only eat bulgogi so I rarely make anything else.
    Now that I’ve found your site, I will try and get them to eat more of different foods. My mom has taught me a few of the recipes you have on here but yours are so much more simpler! Thank you so much, I can’t wait until I have more time to read it all!

  15. JBRenee Manila, Philippines My profile page joined 7/13
    Posted July 7th, 2013 at 1:49 am | # |

    Best bulgogi recipe ever! Thanks for sharing this recipe Maangchi! We loved it! :)

  16. silverthorne Queensland, Australia My profile page joined 7/13
    Posted July 1st, 2013 at 4:48 am | # |

    Thanks you for the recipe. This is the easiest one that I have found so far and it has become a family favourite. I look forward to making more recipes from your site. Thanks

  17. Miss Kim78 socali My profile page joined 3/13
    Posted June 22nd, 2013 at 3:07 am | # |

    Sometimes I add maesil to the bulgogi marinade. It gives it a nice extra kick while kind of tenderizing the meat a little more. You are so right about the three essentials to make a delicious bulgogi. Once, I was missing one of the three….a good cut of meat. I just used what I had. And the result product wasn’t all that tasty. Other people loved it though. I guess I am a bit more picky about what is considered YUMMY bulgogi lol.

  18. mommyhmb3 Idaho Falls, ID My profile page joined 6/13
    Posted June 15th, 2013 at 1:58 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi!! I am so glad I found your recipe!! My husband is Korean and the first time I was ever introduced to Bulgogi was in 2009 by my mother in law. She ownes a restaurant in Ashland OR called Bonsai Teriyaki 2. It was by far the best thing I had ever eaten. So delicious and just melts in your mouth. Since she keeps her recipe so top secret, I have searched high and low trying recipe after recipe to find one to compare to hers, well my search stopped here. This Bulgogi recipe is absolutly amazing, I thank you so much for sharing it, you have made my husband and I very happy lol :)

    • Maangchi My profile page joined 7/08
      Posted June 15th, 2013 at 9:13 am | # |

      haha your mother-in-law keeps her bulgogi recipe secret even from you! I’m so happy to hear that you like my bulgogi recipe. That’s a huge compliment!

  19. seldomseenshake Salt Lake City My profile page joined 6/13
    Posted June 8th, 2013 at 11:47 pm | # |

    Made this for my son’s dol. I had a bulgogi recipe but it was not even close to as good as this one. I used sirloin and marinated the meat overnight. This an introduction to Korean food for most of our guests, but everyone loved it! Thank you so much for helping make my son’s dol special.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted June 9th, 2013 at 8:20 am | # |

      Congratulations on your son’s 1 year birthday!
      I’m so happy to hear that your guests enjoyed the bulgogi you made! I can picture your wonderful party and your cute son!

  20. xxmillieann85xx melbourne My profile page joined 5/13
    Posted May 19th, 2013 at 12:54 pm | # |

    is the sauce necessary? what else can I use if i can’t find any doenjang?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted June 9th, 2013 at 8:21 am | # |

      oh do you mean ssamjang? yes, skip it if doenjang is not available. You can serve bulgogi by itself and other types of salads or kimchi.

  21. ds143ms United States My profile page joined 3/13
    Posted March 30th, 2013 at 4:17 pm | # |

    Hello my dear fellow Korean , alway so proud to see. Korean do good, you are. Life saver. ( food saver) lol, I have several questions . Please help
    1) when bbqing wouldn’t the meat fall into the grill ( since I do i not have. The BBQ companion) .
    2) I am gonna make this for my sons wedding rehearsal, (only Asian in the 100 mile radius, so they like my ” amerasian cooking, my om hated my i-noko cooking lol she use to laugh.) There any recommendation for cooking for large crowd?.

    3) why do you not use Mirin?

    I have to say thank you so much dear I am so proud of you I know you don’t know me from Jane but I am so glad I found you.

    Oh do you have any spicy Korean chicken BBQ I ate it at akorean restaurant it is good do you have a recipe for it I tried but can’t make it come close thank you again

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted March 31st, 2013 at 9:31 pm | # |

      ok, these are my answers.

      1) When I don’t use a charcoal companion or a grill topper, I usually place cooking foil on the grill and make tiny holes in it with fork. The holes are so tiny that the meat won’t fall into the grill and the flame will reach to the meat through the holes.

      2) Prepare as much as you can in advance. Marinate the beef, make ssamjang, make yangnyeomjang for pajeori and keep it all in the fridge. On the morning of the wedding rehearsal day, wash the lettuce, cut the cucumbers and carrots into thin strips. And shred the green onions and put it in a plastic bag.
      Check out my blog post about the New York kimchi contest. You will see how to prepare Korean BBQ for a big crowd: http://www.maangchi.com/blog/2010-nyc-kimchi-contest-report

      3) I don’t see much difference between using Mirin or not. If you want to, use Mirin.

      Good luck with your cooking for the big event! Let me know how it turns out!

  22. tatipark South Korea My profile page joined 3/13
    Posted March 6th, 2013 at 11:30 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi! Im your biggest fan! Im living in korea now and I will start to prepare delicious korean food with your help! :) I love 뚝배기 불고기. How about posting a video with this recipe?

  23. Nicole4ever Las Vegas, Nevada My profile page joined 2/11
    Posted February 10th, 2013 at 12:03 pm | # |

    I made this last night for my kids and Husband. It was very good! Some of my family members thought it had too much garlic so next time 2 cloves instead. Hopefully it will still be as tasty. Going to try the other BBQ recipes since the weather is so warm in Las Vegas. Thank you :)

  24. Parkdaho Honey brooke ,Pa My profile page joined 8/12
    Posted January 9th, 2013 at 9:54 pm | # |

    Why do you add carrot to your bulgogi?

  25. saucedpoppet USA My profile page joined 1/13
    Posted January 5th, 2013 at 2:15 pm | # |

    Was going to ask about the pan and just saw it already asked and answered! SO my next question is,

    What type of knife do you use? Where could I find them? Thanks!!

    You are beautiful and bubbly, I love watching your videos :) This is also a terrible site to peruse while pregnant, I am craving ALL THE THINGS ;)

  26. Jacq Tempe, AZ My profile page joined 11/11
    Posted November 28th, 2012 at 5:04 pm | # |

    Just wanted to say this Bulgogi recipe is AWESOME! I tried it twice now and cooked on my cast iron pan, the family loved it every time!

  27. agent_J Warsaw, Poland My profile page joined 6/10
    Posted November 24th, 2012 at 6:03 am | # |

    Is it feasible to use other type of beef than tenderloin ? Good quality tenderloin is prohibitively expensive.

    • rv65 My profile page joined 5/09
      Posted December 24th, 2012 at 4:11 am | # |

      You can use Sirloin, if that helps. Sirloin makes a good bulgogi and you can marinade it for longer than an hour to make it better!

  28. melikey United States My profile page joined 9/12
    Posted November 19th, 2012 at 12:59 pm | # |

    Vegetarian bulgogi!!!! Genius! I usually love the bounty and variety of my mostly vegetarian diet, but there are a few meat dishes I miss. This is one.

    I find usually what I miss about the meat is the sauce, or the toppings or the flavor mixture, and I bet this is similar (not really the actual meat). It’s the marinade that really makes the bulgogi.

    Also, you look really pretty in this video : ) You always look pretty, but the braids really suit you! <3

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted November 21st, 2012 at 12:22 pm | # |

      Thank you so much! : ) It sounds like you are going to make mushroom marinade with bulgogo sauce! Let me know how yours turns out please! Happy cooking!

  29. northstar Hawaii My profile page joined 11/12
    Posted November 7th, 2012 at 12:50 am | # |

    I will be making this at a bbq next week!! I can barely wait for the spicy bbq pork!! Thank you for sharing!!

  30. jennykoh Singapore My profile page I'm a fan! joined 1/10
    Posted November 5th, 2012 at 8:47 pm | # |

    Maangchi…u r so cute !!!

  31. Koreanlover Tempe, AZ My profile page joined 3/10
    Posted November 4th, 2012 at 9:29 pm | # |

    It is great!!! I love watching you…. Keep up the great work and when I am on a crunch financially I like to use a cup of brown sugar, a cup of orange soda and a cup of soy sauce and put ginger and garlic and onion in it and use that as a marinade for bulgogi and other things. I use sesame oil for the pan when cooking the bulgogi. It is a universal marinade for beef pork and chicken. Try it believe me when I say it is very close if not exactly the same taste.

  32. oksipak California My profile page joined 1/11
    Posted November 4th, 2012 at 7:56 pm | # |

    You have changed it a bit from your original recipe but my husband loves bulgogi so I’m going to try this recipe this coming week as he loves bulgogi. The new video is fun to watch! Thank you for sharing. :)

  33. Pri G Houston, TX My profile page joined 11/11
    Posted November 2nd, 2012 at 10:31 pm | # |

    Awesome recipe I can’t wait to try it! I love the pan you used for the bulgogi. What kind of pan is this? Also what kind of Korean side dishes would be good to serve with the bulgogi and spicy pork? I hope to try these recipes when you post the spicy pork recipe:)

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted November 7th, 2012 at 9:31 am | # |

      That’s my friend’s pan. It was perfect for barbecuing bulgogi. Search the word “charcoal companion bbq grill pan” on the internet. You will probably find it.

  34. Knotan Sweden My profile page joined 10/12
    Posted November 2nd, 2012 at 6:48 pm | # |

    Bulgogi is my life <3

  35. scarryvictoria Singapore My profile page I'm a fan! joined 2/11
    Posted November 2nd, 2012 at 6:26 am | # |

    Wow! I’m drooling! Love bulgogi;D


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