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Korean Barbecue Beef (Bulgogi)

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Adjust Servings:
Bulgogi Marinade
2 lb thin sliced beef short ribs
1/2 cup grated asian pear
1/4 cup grated onion
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
1 scallion
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Gochujang Dipping Sauce
2 Tbsp gochujang
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp water
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
Kid-Friendly Dipping Sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
Vegetable Stir-Fry
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 small zucchini
1/2 head cabbage
6 medium baby bella mushrooms
1 cup broccoli
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp doenjang or miso paste
2 Tbsp sesame oil
Cucumber Salad
1 english cucumber
1/4 red onion
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
For Serving
3 cups cooked sushi rice

Korean Barbecue Beef (Bulgogi)

    • 1 hr 15 min (not including marinating time)
    • Serves 4
    • Easy


    • Bulgogi Marinade

    • Gochujang Dipping Sauce

    • Kid-Friendly Dipping Sauce

    • Vegetable Stir-Fry

    • Cucumber Salad

    • For Serving



    “Korean Barbecue” has become increasingly popular over the years, and for good reason; the thinly sliced meat is cooked quickly on a grill plate making it tantilizingly tender and juicy. Directly translated, bulgogi means “fire meat” and is thinly sliced marinated beef. The marinade listed here is sweet, tangy, salty, and full of delicious Korean flavors. I’ve paired the beef with a couple dipping sauce choices, a vegetable stir-fry, cucumber salad, rice, and kimchi to make it a meal, but feel free to make the beef and pair with whatever you like.

    Gochujang is Korean chili paste, a very common condiment in Korea — it’s like their ketchup. Because I like more flavor with my heat, I mixed it into a sauce to build flavor while still getting a kick. I organized the steps by dish rather than order of cooking; obviously marinading should be the first step, but I would recommend prepping the vegetables while the beef is coming up to room temperature, and cooking the meat should be the very last step. The longer the cucumber salad sits in the fridge, the more the flavors will develop, so it can be made anytime between marinating and cooking the beef. Below are some notes on ingredients.

    Ingredient Substitutions:

    • Thin sliced beef short ribs: 1/8″ thickness is best, but can sometimes be difficult to find (mine were more like 1/4″). Any thin sliced beef (or even chicken or pork) will work here, it does not have to be short ribs.
    • Asian pear: green apple can be used instead.
    • Gochujang: this can be used in many different ways so I would recommend just buying some to keep in the fridge, but if you can’t find it sriracha can work.
    • Doenjang: this is korean fermented soybean paste, miso is a good substitute.




    For the marinade: grate the asian pear and onion, mince/grate the garlic and ginger, chop the scallion, then combine with the soy sauce, sugar, oil, and pepper. Add the marinade to a large bowl or gallon size plastic bag with the beef short ribs, set in the fridge and allow to marinate for 8-12 hours.


    Remove the ribs from the fridge 30 min to 1 hr prior to cooking to allow them to come up to room temperature. This is a good time to mix together the dipping sauce of your choosing: add all of the sauce ingredients to a bowl and mix well.


    Preheat a grill (or korean grill plate, or cast iron skillet) to medium high heat, then grill the ribs (about 2 minutes per side) until done and nicely browned. Tent in foil and allow to rest for 10-15 min before eating.


    Cucumber Salad

    Thinly slice the cucumber and red onion using a mandolin or sharp knife. In a large bowl, combine the rice vinegar, oil, sugar, ginger, and garlic, stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the sliced cucumber and onion to the bowl and gently massage by hand to get everything coated. Add the sesame seeds and give it one more stir, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use. The longer this marinates, the more the flavors will develop.



    Prep all the vegetables by slicing into batonnets (1/4" x 1/4" x 2"). From what I've studied about Korean cooking so far, they often cut things into matchsticks or strips. I didn't want to go quite matchstick size so that the stir-fry retained some bite after cooking.
    Prep the ginger and garlic in a separate small bowl.


    In a medium bowl combine the stir-fry sauce ingredients: soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, brown sugar. Heat a very large pan over medium high, then add the sesame oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion and stir fry until browning. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant.


    Dump in all the vegetables and cook, stirring every 30 sec to 1 minute to avoid burning. When the vegetables are almost fully cooked, pour in the sauce and cook on high heat until thickened and clinging to the vegetables.



    Uncover the ribs, put the stir-fry and rice in spearate serving bowls, pull the cucumber salad out of the fridge, and set out the dipping sauces (putting out some kimchi would be great too). Get out some chopsticks or forks and knives and let everyone dig in!


    Hi, I'm Elaine! Welcome to my food blog; I am a Montanan, an Eagle Scout, and lover of all things food. I love to cook and bake, as well as share my creations with others.

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