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!
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!
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.If 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.
- 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!