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.



  1. WildRose85 Oregon joined 10/13
    Posted January 17th, 2018 at 1:19 am | # |

    Korean BBQ is everyone’s favorite. Best thing to have on hand is an iron skillet, some kitchen shears, plenty of leafy greens, and some beer!

  2. paskinmath Philadelphia, PA joined 11/17
    Posted November 30th, 2017 at 3:32 pm | # |

    can you substitute pork? If so, which cut do you recommend? Around here pork is $1-3 a pound where beef is $4-12 a pound lately. I can get a whole pork picnic shoulder for the same price as an average steak.

  3. miah98 Viet Nam joined 10/17
    Posted October 25th, 2017 at 11:26 pm | # |

    Hi maangchi,
    Firstly, I wanna say thank you for sharing such wonderful recipes. It’s nothing better than tasting a real Korean dish without going to costly restaurants.
    I have made this dish thousands of time and it turns out so well. However, I wonder whether I can store the marinade in fridge for future use or not. If yes, how long can the marinade still in good condition?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted October 26th, 2017 at 7:24 am | # |

      You can freeze the marinade up to 1 month and thaw out at room temperature or in the fridge when you use it again. You can keep it in the fridge but you will have to use it up in 3 to 4 days because the flavor will change as time goes on.

  4. livmekela Florida joined 6/17
    Posted June 30th, 2017 at 12:14 pm | # |

    I used the marinade recipe for tofu and it makes the most delicious meat alternative! Thank you Maangchi!

  5. Astarria Canada joined 3/17
    Posted March 17th, 2017 at 7:07 pm | # |

    Hello, I was wondering if I wanted to make a spicy version do I just add gochujang? and if so, how much?

  6. TammiUnnie Florida joined 1/17
    Posted January 18th, 2017 at 10:39 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi! I was wondering if you could help me out. I’ve always wanted to try Bulgogi, but I’ve never actually had it because most recipes use pear for tenderizing the meat, and, unfortunately, I am allergic to peaches, pears, apples, and cinnamon. Is there any alternative to pears, or an alternative recipe I can try?

    • sanne Munich joined 8/14
      Posted January 19th, 2017 at 6:27 am | # |

      Just use rice wine or Dry Sherry instead.
      Or – if you don’t want to use alcohol – freshly pressed e. g. orange juice.
      Don’t worry; it won’t affect the taste negatively.

      Bye, Sanne.

      • TammiUnnie Florida joined 1/17
        Posted January 19th, 2017 at 10:54 am | # |

        Thank you! I’ll try orange juice since I’m not old enough to buy alcohol yet in the states (I’m only 19), lol. but I’ll be sure to keep it all in mind to try at some point!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 19th, 2017 at 11:48 am | # |

      You can make bulgogi without pear. Check out my simple easy bulgogi recipe here. I’m sure your in-laws will be very proud of you when they taste your dishes!

      • TammiUnnie Florida joined 1/17
        Posted January 19th, 2017 at 1:01 pm | # |

        Thank you! My in-laws are actually coming to visit soon! Tae Ho oppa wants to do BBQ with the family! This is great!

    • rmjs77 Canada joined 8/12
      Posted April 7th, 2017 at 2:24 pm | # |

      I sometimes use puréed kiwi, which also acts as a tenderizer, similar to pear :)

  7. kite76 Northern California joined 6/16
    Posted June 21st, 2016 at 6:28 am | # |

    I have just started making Korean BBQ. Family loves it! The grill pan you use in your video is interesting. Where can I purchase one. Thanks!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted June 26th, 2016 at 6:27 am | # |

      It was a gift from my friend when I lived in Toronto. It was disposable. I see it in a Japanese store and Korean store sometimes.

      • kite76 Northern California joined 6/16
        Posted June 26th, 2016 at 8:52 am | # |

        ThankThanks for your reply!

    • Woohoo joined 6/15
      Posted July 1st, 2016 at 4:36 pm | # |

      Kite, these are available everywhere nowadays, in any store that carries a good selection of bbq equipment (try Home Depot!). I have several that I bought at my local supermarket and they were very reasonably priced.

  8. goyogoyong joined 11/15
    Posted June 19th, 2016 at 9:11 pm | # |

    Ahnyeong haseo Maangchi! Sunbaenim my wife is diabetic. Can I substitute splenda for the brown sugar? Also can I substitute splenda for the honey in the ssamjang?


  9. bluejello SoCal joined 5/16
    Posted May 22nd, 2016 at 4:18 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi, I’ve tried several and love all of them. I was just wondering, what the carrots add, if anything, to the marinade?

  10. luv2eat ak,oh joined 5/16
    Posted May 21st, 2016 at 8:59 am | # |

    I love,love your recipes. I especially using bulgogi as my filling for siopao. Instead of grilling it, I pressure cook the bulgogi including the juice then thicken it with tapioca or corn starch.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted May 22nd, 2016 at 9:16 am | # |

      The tip for using Bulgogi as filling for siopao sounds great!

  11. hennihette Germany joined 2/16
    Posted February 24th, 2016 at 8:10 am | # |

    SOOOOO GOOOOOD! thank you sooo much for this recepie!!! tastes better than the emart bulgogi! now I can have korean bulgogi in germany c: <3

    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted March 2nd, 2016 at 12:48 pm | # |

      Congratulations! Your bulgogi looks very delicious!

  12. Lsudeene 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 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.

  13. munchjenn 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 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 :)

      • jsp73 joined 3/15
        Posted May 27th, 2016 at 2:02 am | # |

        There’s a very old secret to “grilling” on a stove. There’s a small learning curve to it, but it is well worth it. Koreans use stone and, sometimes, cast iron for cooking. Both share similar thermal properties. Very few materials can get so blazing hot on a regular stove top. Cast iron pans are cheap (…until you become a collector of vintage stuff) and they will last a lifetime if cared for properly.

        The goal is to get your pan hot enough to evaporate moisture before your dish becomes soup. Cast iron can do that easily (as can stone… I really want a nice set of Korean dolsot).

  14. HungryMike 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?

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