Korean BBQ Beef - (Pulgogi)

Almost 30 years ago my wife and I visited Korea, and we still have the memories of two well known fares: Kimchi and Bulgogi. I had a Jones for pulgogi and decided to use the steak I had in the freezer to fulfill my craving. I found a few recipes that were very authentic, and combined the features into a marinade that made me very happy. I have reproduced my recipe below, along with a couple of the different background explanations from each recipe I used for inspiration. I have had this best served over simple and sticky white rice...

Korean barbecued beef (pulgogi) 

Next to kimchi, pulgogi may be Korea's best-known dish. Thin strips of spicy beef are cooked over a pulgogi, a dome-shaped charcoal grill. The beef is flavored with a complex, sweet and salty marinade - made with minced pear or kiwi, garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds and rice wine - which tenderizes and flavors the beef. Garlic is a key, and be sure to toast those sesame seeds!

Although it is often eaten during the summer as picnic fare, this dish is good any time. Thinly sliced pork loin or tofu can be substituted for the beef, and can be grilled with optional mushrooms and onions for an authentic Korean dish.

This version was cooked on a charcoal grill with hickory.


  • 1 pound beef top sirloin, thinly sliced
  • 5 - 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pear - peeled, cored, and minced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (toasted)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
Chefs note (optional): for a little extra spice, I added a bit of Asian chili-garlic sauce, which added to the complexity with some heat at the back end; you could also simply add freshly ground black pepper to taste 

Directions to make korean barbecued beef (pulgogi)
In a large bowl or ziploc bag, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, black pepper, garlic, green onions, and sesame seeds.

· Slice beef thinly into 1/2 x 2-inch pieces. (It helps in the beef is partially frozen when you slice it) Add meat to soy sauce mixture in bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours.

· Grill meat for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until brown.

· Serve with vegetable side dishes, such as the onions and mushrooms, broccoli, or zucchini or spinach, and rice. (*)

(*) Barbecued beef or pork also works well as a finger food. Place several slices of beef on a leaf of romaine lettuce and top it with 2 teaspoons of hot cooked rice and a dash of cayenne pepper. Roll up the leaf and enjoy.

Preparation time: 25 to 25 minutes
(plus chilling time of 1 to 2 hours)
Cooking time: 4 to 6 minute
Serves 6

1 comment:

  1. Wow awesome recipe! I love Korean food and culture! Thanks for the share