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    Korean Beef Bulgogi Recipe

    Published June 24, 2020. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    This delicious marinated and grilled beef bulgogi is so incredibly easy to make and is one of the most flavorful steak recipes out there.

    I’m a huge meat eater and we almost always have some sort of protein on the table at dinner.  If you’re like us then definitely check out my chopped steak or my steak pizzaiola.

    bowl of thinly sliced beef bulgogi with green onions

    Bulgogi

    Pronounced bool-go-gee, bulgogi translates to “fire meat.”  This dish is comprised of thinly sliced marinated meat that is most commonly cooked on the grill but can absolutely be cooked in a pan as well.  When cooking over the open flame the meat gets this perfect char around the outside edges bringing about so much extra flavor.  It is very easy to make this recipe no matter how you decide to cook it.

    The Marinade

    The marinade for bulgogi is similar to that of kalbi with fewer ingredients.  I prefer to throw all the ingredients for it in a blender as it will help to quickly infuse flavors so that it can penetrate the meat while marinating.  Here are the main ingredients for bulgogi:

    • Onion
    • Garlic
    • Soy Sauce
    • Sugar (Brown or White or Both)
    • Water
    • Apple
    • Sesame Oil
    • Plum Extract (Optional)

    What’s the Best Cut of Meat to Use?

    You can use a variety of meat for this recipe and because it is sliced so thin and the marinade is so strong, it really won’t matter what you choose.  While ribeye will provide a bit more flavor because of its fat content, my suggestion to you would be to use what’s on sale.  Here are the best cuts of meat to use for this recipe:

    • Top Round
    • Bottom Round
    • Ribeye
    • Sirloin
    • Strip Steak
    • Tenderloin

    How to Make Bulgogi

    Follow these simple instructions for making this delicious bulgogi recipe:

    1. Add an apple, garlic, soy, brown sugar, white sugar, water, plum extract and sesame oil to a blender and puree until smooth.
    making a bulgogi marinade in a blender
    1. Slice onions and beef very thin and add them to a plastic zip bag or container with a lid.
    thinly slicing ribeye steak on a cutting board
    1. Pour the marinade over the beef and onions completely submerging them.
    pouring a bulgogi marinade into a bag with onions and beef
    1. Move the meat and onions around to ensure the marinade is spread through and refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours or for best results overnight.
    moving marinated bulgogi around in a plastic bag
    1. Drain the marinade from the meat and onions and discard the marinade.
    draining the bulgogi marinade form the beef and onions
    1. Spread out the meat on a very hot grill in between 450° and 550° and cook until lightly charred, about 2-3 minutes per side and serve.
    cooking sliced bulgogi on a foil lined grill

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: This recipe is meant to be eaten right away after cook so that the meat stays tender.  You could make this up to 1 hour ahead of time and keep warm at very low temperatures at the oven around 175° until ready to serve.

    How to Store: Place in a plastic container with a lid and keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.  It will freeze covered for up to 2 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.

    How to Reheat: Place the desired amount back onto a foil-lined grill over high heat and cook for 2-3 minutes or until hot.  You can also place the desired amount into a hot sauté pan and cook over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes or until hot.  This can also be reheated by cooking on a microwave-safe plate until hot.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    chef notes + tips

    • For the apple in the marinade, I would suggest using sweeter apples such as Fuji, Gala, Pink, or Honey Crisp.
    • When using a grill I highly recommend you cook the bulgogi on foil over the grill grates or in a grill basket because the beef will want to stick to the grill.
    • The Plum extract I used can be found in any local Asian or Korean markets.
    • If you want to cook this in a pan, heat the pan over medium-high heat and add in 1-2 tablespoons of sesame oil and spread out the drained marinated beef around the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes per side just like on the grill.
    • I like to serve bulgogi with a side of rice and stir-fried vegetables.
    beef bulgogi in a bowl next to rice and veggies

    More Amazing Beef Recipes

    Be sure to follow me on FacebookYouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest, and if you’ve had a chance to make this then definitely drop me a comment and a rating below!

    Let's Cook - Chef Billy Parisi

    Video

    Korean Beef Bulgogi Recipe

    5 from 4 votes
    This delicious marinated and grilled beef bulgogi is so incredibly easy to make and is one of the most flavorful steak recipes out there.
    Servings: 6
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 6 minutes
    Marinating Time: 4 hours
    Total Time: 4 hours 16 minutes

    Ingredients 

    • 1 cored and peeled fuji apple
    • 4 garlic cloves
    • ½ cup soy sauce
    • ½ cup light brown sugar
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • 2 cups water
    • ¼ cup sesame oil
    • 3 tablespoons plum extract, optional
    • ½ peeled and thinly sliced yellow onion
    • 2 pounds thinly sliced ribeye steak

    Instructions

    • Add the apple, garlic, sugars, water, sesame oil, and plum extract to a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Set aside.
    • Next, add the onions and steak to a plastic zip bag or plastic container and pour in the blended marinade to completely submerge everything.
    • Move the meat and onions around to make sure the marinade gets into every crack and crevice of the bag.
    • Marinade the meat in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours or recommended overnight.
    • Drain the meat and discard the marinade. Place the beef and onions spread out on a hot foil-lined grill at 450° to 550° for 2-3 minutes per side or until a light char has formed on the steak. See note for other ways to cook.
    • Serve with optional sesame seeds and sliced green onions.

    Notes

    Chef Notes:
    • Make-Ahead: This recipe is meant to be eaten right away after cook so that the meat stays tender. You could make this up to 1 hour ahead of time and keep warm at very low temperatures at the oven around 175° until ready to serve.
     
    • How to Store: Place in a plastic container with a lid and keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It will freeze covered for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.
     
    • How to Reheat: Place the desired amount back onto a foil-lined grill over high heat and cook for 2-3 minutes or until hot. You can also place the desired amount into a hot sauté pan and cook over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes or until hot. This can also be reheated by cooking on a microwave-safe plate until hot.
     
    • For the apple in the marinade, I would suggest using sweeter apples such as Fuji, Gala, Pink, or Honey Crisp.
     
    • When using a grill I highly recommend you cook the bulgogi on foil over the grill grates or in a grill basket because the beef will want to stick to the grill.
     
    • The Plum extract I used can be found in any local Asian or Korean markets.
     
    • If you want to cook this in a pan, heat the pan over medium-high heat and add in 1-2 tablespoons of sesame oil and spread out the drained marinated beef around the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes per side just like on the grill.
     
    • I like to serve bulgogi with a side of rice and stir-fried vegetables.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 397kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 31gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 92mgSodium: 516mgPotassium: 443mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 23IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 18mgIron: 3mg
    Course: Main
    Cuisine: korean