Korean Beef Bulgogi is an easy recipe for juicy steak with an authentic taste from pineapple juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, and green onion.
Beef Bulgogi is a classic Asian comfort food made easily by grilling. With this recipe, you can make authentic Korean BBQ for an easy Dinner from your own stovetop. Be sure to try our other Korean dishes like Korean Kalbi BBQ Short Ribs and Korean Fried Chicken next!
KOREAN BEEF BULGOGI
Bulgogi literally translates to “fire meat” because of how it’s grilled. This Korean Beef Bulgogi recipe is an easy weeknight family meal that is sure to become a favorite. It’s a standout dinner and a flavorful change from Baked Chicken and other usual dinners. This classic Asian dish is often made on a grill. You could use an outdoor barbecue grill or a large grill pan. Of course, this recipe is made even simpler with a cast-iron skillet or cast-iron wok on the stovetop. You get the same smoky flavor without having to use an actual grill.
The marinated meat is flavored overnight with Asian pear, sesame oil, and soy sauce for sweet and savory sauce that the sliced Bulgogi meat soaks up for maximum flavor. While you can make the classic marinade with Asian pears, fresh pineapple will also do just as nicely for this simple dish. The Bulgogi marinade really makes this dish what it is. The beef tenderloin cooks up extra tender and full of flavor. It is one of the most flavorful cuts you can make without too much work.
When the Bulgogi is ready you can put the sliced meat on a serving platter along with delicious sides. Steamed Rice, white rice or Fried Rice would be great. If you prefer not using white rice, try keto cauliflower white rice as a replacement in your Korean Beef Bulgogi rice bowl. You can also serve it up with your favorite veggies, and fresh lettuce for lettuce wraps.
BULGOGI VS. GALBI
If you know much about Korean dishes, you’ve probably heard of both bulgogi and galbi. Both dishes are common in Seoul and throughout Korea, and they are made with a different cut of beef. While Bulgogi is made using thin slices of tender beef, Galbi is made using ribeye. Both are typically made by grilling, but Bulgogi can be pan-fried in a cast-iron skillet or cast iron wok. Galbi is never pan-fried, which is one of the key differences between it and Korean Beef Bulgogi.
There are so many amazing sauces you could serve with your Korean beef for extra savory and spicy richness. Here are some favorite bulgogi sauces:
- Sambal Oelek: Sambal Oelek is an Indonesian chili sauce made with red chili peppers, rice vinegar, and salt for a hot pepper paste.
- Gochujang sauce: Gochujang is another chili sauce, with a slightly sweeter undertone. Make it with ¼ cup gochujang paste mixed with 2 cloves of minced garlic, and a tablespoon each of rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. Add a teaspoon of sesame seeds for extra crunch and flavor.
- Ssamjang: You can make ssamjang with soybean paste, red chili pepper paste, minced garlic, honey, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and rice wine.
Depending on your grocery store, you may be able to find these sauces there. Alternatively, you could find them at an Asian market.
Jeongol is a classic Korean hot pot. Make Jeongol by putting vegetables, meat, seafood, seasonings, and other ingredients all together to cook in one hot pot. You can make this dish with sliced bulgogi steaks.
- Cook bulgogi until browned before adding it to the hot pot.
- You can cook Bulgogi Jeongol with mushrooms like white, oyster, and shiitake. Add other veggies like carrots, cabbage, onions, and plenty of seasonings and spices to your taste.
- Put your ingredients in the hot pot with the sliced beef and beef broth.
- Cover and boil to cook. Enjoy this savory soup version of Korean Beef Bulgogi!
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TIPS FOR GRILLING KOREAN BEEF BULGOGI
- Marinade: Combine the marinade ingredients in a clean empty bowl. Preferably, let the Bulgogi marinate in the fridge for 4 hours or more. You can cut it down to 2 if you’re in a pinch, but the full time will give extra flavor to the marinated beef for extra delicious Korean Beef Bulgogi.
- Grill: Drain the meat from the marinade then pan-fry it over medium-high heat in a cast-iron grill pan. If you don’t want to use vegetable oil use olive oil or avocado oil. Cook Bulgogi in separate batches. That way you can cook them in single layers of meat. You can start your sides while you let the meat cook. The cook time should only be 2 minutes on each side for the Beef Bulgogi Recipe.
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VARIATIONS ON KOREAN BEEF BULGOGI
- Diet coke: For some extra sweet delicious flavor, mix diet coke in with the marinade. 1 cup diet coke should be plenty. You could also try ginger ale for a more mild sweet taste.
- Mix-ins: For some vegetable mix-ins, try adding a couple of medium bell peppers to Korean Beef Bulgogi. Red pepper, yellow pepper, or green pepper would work. You can also add some sliced onion or chili peppers. For mushrooms try using white, oyster, or dried shiitake mushrooms.
- Flavor add-ins: For spice add in some red pepper flakes or sriracha to the recipe. For some warm flavors, try brown sugar or grated ginger. You could also mix in some extra black pepper, minced garlic, toasted sesame oil, white wine, or red wine to the marinade.
DELICIOUS SIDE DISH RECIPES TO SERVE WITH BEEF BULGOGI
HOW TO STORE KOREAN BEEF BULGOGI
- Serve: You can not keep Korean Beef at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Store: Transfer the leftover Bulgogi to a Ziploc bag or cover the whole dish in plastic wrap to store in the fridge. It will keep well for 3-4 days.
- Freeze: You can freeze Korean Beef Bulgogi in a gallon freezer bag for up to 3 months. To reheat the beef, move it from the gallon freezer bag to a cookie sheet. Pop the cookie sheet in the oven to reheat it, or cook the leftovers up in a beef stew.
- Add the steak, soy sauce, pineapple juice, sesame oil, sugar, green onions, garlic, and sesame seeds to a large bowl.
- Mix ingredients well, cover, and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours but 4 or more is preferred.
- Drain the marinade well from the meat.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet on high heat.
- Cooking in small batches sear the beef for 2 minutes on each side.