Easy bulgogi

Mak-bulgogi 막불고기

This recipe is an easy, simplified version of traditional Korean bulgogi (Korean beef BBQ). It may be simplified, but it’s still delicious and very popular!  This is one of the first recipes I published on my website, in 2008. It was one of my few recipes with no video and over the years whenever I met some of readers, they requested the video. “How come it has no video, Maangchi?”

Eventually today here you go!

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You will be surprised by how few ingredients you need to make this, and how quickly it can be done. The sweet, salty, and garlicky marinade is absorbed quickly by the thin beef slices to give a fully traditional taste and tender meat! To help you get those thin bulgogi slices, first freeze the beef for about 1½ hours so it’s a bit solid.

In this video I show you how I make it these days, over a flame with a small handheld grill basket that I bought in a Korean grocery store. The grill also has a plate that lets you rest the grill over the flame and catches anything that falls. Cooking with this gives the beef a real charcoal flavor that is truly delicious. If you don’t have that grill or flame, you can use a pan on your stove, that is also great. And if you have a BBQ grill in your backyard you can use that, too!

Enjoy!

Ingredients

Serves 2 to 4

  • 1 pound beef tenderloin, top sirloin, or skirt steak), slice into ⅛-inch-thick slices
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 green onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, coarsely ground
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

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Directions

  1. Make marinade by combining the garlic, green onion, soy sauce, sugar, water, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and ground black pepper in a large bowl. Mix it well with a spoon until the sugar is well dissolved.easy bulgogi-marinade
  2. Add the sliced beef and mix everything by hand until the beef is covered in the marinade. Keep in the fridge at least 30 minutes.easy bulgogi
  3. Cook on a pan or a grill, and transfer to a plate or a cast iron plate to serve with rice, lettuce, ssamjang, and more side dishes.easy bulgogiIf you’re using a Korean handheld grill over a flame like I do in the video, use a medium flame and keep moving the grill around so that it gets evenly cooked, before flipping it over.불고기
  4. To eat, wrap a spoonful of rice, a piece of bulgogi, and a little bit of ssamjang in a lettuce leaf. Fold it over and eat. Repeat!

easy bulgogi table

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22 Comments:

  1. Mageling Colorado joined 8/20 & has 1 comment

    I just made this, it was so tasty! I packed it into screw-top bowls with rice and kimchi to take for lunches this week, looking forward to eating them at work :)

  2. Meli048 Switzerland joined 5/17 & has 2 comments

    Hello Maangchi~ I wanted to ask you, if i can use Duck instead of Beef. Thanks for your reply, Melea~

  3. duday76 USA joined 12/16 & has 9 comments

    Thank you for this recipe Maangchi! Daebak! My son loves it!


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  4. moonlightsonata egypt joined 2/15 & has 3 comments

    Dear maangchi ,
    I wanted to tell you that last sunday the korean embassy in egypt had a cooking competition and I joined , I won using your bolgogi recipe also pajon , althoutgh I didn’t make pajon so well
    But I still got third place thanks to you , so thank you thank you
    For making me win for the first time in my life anything
    And for teaching me delicious korean recipes
    Soon I will send to you the picturesof my dishes and my friends that also follow your recipes


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  5. BossyPixie Wisconsin joined 8/16 & has 1 comment

    Thanks for the recipe Maangchi. I’ve tried several of your recipes, and so far this is my family’s favorite, closely followed by jjajangmyeon.

    On a different note, I happened to read the NY Times article linked and saw that City of Heroes was your gateway drug to gaming. It was mine too! My husband claim introducing me to it was his secret plan to get me to join him in gaming.

  6. vvcosta United States joined 6/16 & has 4 comments

    I made this recipe with chicken and cooked 2/3 with the normal sauce and 1/3 with 2 spoons of gochujang added and they were both delicious! The chicken came out so soft!

  7. sdlarcgirl San Diego county, CA joined 9/14 & has 1 comment

    Thank you for posting this recipe! I wish you had a video for it just for having a visual, plus of course I like to watch the videos. I already made the marinade and am just letting it sit in the fridge some more before I cook it tonight. I like watching the videos and I of course did not use the other bulgogi marinade recipe because not only could I not access some of the ingredients, but I do not have much fancy appliances such as a food processor. I can’t wait to cook this beef soon.

  8. AlyWonder Fort Worth, TX, USA joined 6/14 & has 1 comment

    I have always wanted to try making bulgogi, and this simple recipe made it a great experience! It tastes wonderful, and the caramelized outside has a nice taste ( I added pepper flakes to add some spice) . Even my family, who are always iffy about trying different things, loved it!!! I will be making this again soon, and trying your other delicious recipes :)

  9. Oolong Toronto joined 3/14 & has 1 comment

    I’d love to try this recipe, but I am terrible with slicing any meat into thin pieces. Would I be able to use the pre-sliced thin beef pieces that are sold for hot pot as a substitute for this recipe? Thanks!

    • ddnorman Southern NH, USA joined 9/13 & has 75 comments

      Oolong,
      Sure! The beef I use for this comes pre-sliced (very thin) and packed by my Korean grocer Chung Gae in Acton Ma (I never miss a chance to give them a shout out – they’re awesome). In fact it is labeled “bulgogi”. It is perfect!
      Cheers,
      Dave

      • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,052 comments

        Your replies are very accurate and very helpful. All the answers are coming from your own experience about your Korean cooking!

        • ddnorman Southern NH, USA joined 9/13 & has 75 comments

          Maangchi,
          Thank you for your kind words! I have come to really love Korean food and if I can help someone else enjoy it in some small way from my experience, I feel like I’m giving a little back for all I have received from you by way of your recipes!
          감사합니다!
          Dave

    • newgrl Middle of nowhere Kansas joined 3/18 & has 4 comments

      I know this is an incredibly late reply, but if anyone else has this issue…. If you want to try slicing your own beef (or any sort of meat really) leave it a bit frozen to slice it. I usually take my steak (or chicken or pork or whatever I want sliced) out of the freezer and put it in the microwave to defrost for about half the time I usually would. That way it still has some ice crystals running through it. It is much much easier to slice that way.

      If your meat came fresh or already thawed, you can also just put it in the freezer for an hour or so for the same effect. If you’re putting it in the fridge to thaw, I would say just check it from time to time. It should be kind of squishy, but with obvious ice still inside.

  10. pokopori North America joined 9/13 & has 3 comments

    I came across this recipe randomly today as I was waiting for my kimchi to salt. I wasn’t sure what to do about dinner and this recipe sounded simple and delicious. So I pulled out a few slabs of beef and let it marinade. I must say, it was absolutely delicious! I shouldn’t be surprised anymore; your recipes are always scrumptious! It was simple, mess-free, and extremely quick! Thanks for sharing!! I will definitely be making this for my family!

  11. KrynauwOtto2 Pretoria, South Africa joined 9/13 & has 54 comments

    Wow! Thanks for the easy recipe Maangchi! I am so going to try this!

  12. bwoo United States joined 9/13 & has 1 comment

    Thanks for such a great recipe! Just made this and I’m sure I’ll be eating this all the time. Prep time is almost nonexistent since all you have to do is chop some scallions and garlic, and beef is a quick, no-brainer to cook on the stove. First time it came out delicious and slightly sweet. Thanks so much!

  13. chishero Canada joined 8/13 & has 1 comment

    This bulgogi recipe was so simple and delicious. The brown sugar and honey really helped to caramelize the beef in the pan! Even though I marinated it overnight, I think I might add some cooking wine into the marinade next time – just so help tenderize the beef even further.

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