This beef bulgogi recipe is the ultimate Korean beef BBQ with thinly sliced beef marinated in a flavorful sauce then grilled or stir fried until tender. So easy to make!
We're firing up the grill for one of my favorite BBQ dishes around, my friends. You might be thinking I'm cooking up some North Carolina pork or a Texas-style recipe, but nope. Today I'm making Beef Bulgogi, and I already know you're going to love it.
Beef Bulgogi is the ultimate Korean BBQ dish. It is essentially thinly sliced cuts of beef that are marinated in a sweet and spicy sauce, which builds loads of flavor and tenderizes the meat, then are either grilled or stir fried over high heat until cooked to your preference.
The result is a dish that is immensely satisfying and always hits the spot. If you're a fan of BBQ of any kind, you owe it to yourself to give this particular recipe a try.
What is Bulgogi?
Bulgogi translates to "fire meat", and is a Korean-style recipe of marinated slices of meat, usually beef or pork, that are grilled or stir-fried. Bulgogi originates from northern Korea, though you'll find it all over Korea, from higher end restaurants to vendors prepping street food, and it's popularity has brought it all around the world.
Due to its incredible flavor, Bulgogi has gained popularity throughout the United States, not only in Korean restaurants, but on a growing number of menus as well. The Korean culture has given us in the U.S. so much amazing flavor and so many Korean dishes, and I personally feel a debt of gratitude to Korean food, which is so perfect for a spicy food lover like me.
Beef bulgogi is quick and easy to make, which consists of an easy-to-make marinade and either grilling or stir frying. It will be ready in just over 30 minutes, even faster if you're in a hurry.
Alright, enough talking! Time for cooking!
Let's talk about how to make beef bulgogi, shall we?
Beef Bulgogi Ingredients
- FOR THE BULGOGI SAUCE/MARINADE
- Soy Sauce
- Gochujang - Korean fermented chili paste
- Rice Wine Vinegar
- Sesame Oil
- Honey - or use Brown Sugar
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Black Pepper
- Spicy Fresh Red Pepper - This is optional, but I love the added flavor and heat of a spicy red pepper, such as a red fingerling or bird's eye pepper.
- FOR THE BEEF BULGOGI
- 1.5 pounds ribeye steak, sliced thinly or cubed
- FOR SERVING: Spicy red pepper flakes, sliced green onion, toasted sesame seeds, hot sauce to taste
How to Make Beef Bulgogi - the Recipe Method
Make the Bulgogi Sauce. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl - soy sauce, gochujang, vinegar, sesame oil, honey or brown sugar, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, black pepper and optional minced fresh hot pepper.
Marinate the Meat. Add the sliced ribeye steak to a mixing bowl and marinate the beef in the marinade ingredients for at least 30 minutes, or overnight for more flavor development.
Grill or Stir Fry the Beef Bulgogi. Heat your grill, cast iron grill pan or wok to medium high heat with a lightly oiled surface. Grill or stir fry (pan fry) the beef for 5-6 minutes for medium-rare, stirring or flipping often, or longer until done to your liking.
Garnish and Serve! Garnish with green onions, sliced peppers, red chili flake and toasted sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy!
Serve with rice or serve your bulgogi on lettuce leaves for awesome lettuce wraps. Works well with noodles, also, or just serve it with any of your favorite side dishes.
Boom! Done! Easy to make, isn't it? Time for some Korean BBQ beef, my friends. What cut of beef did you use? Did you go for skirt steak? Flank steak? Or my very favorite, ribeye? I love this recipe.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Best Beef for Beef Bulgogi. You can use just about any cut of beef for Korean beef bulgogi. Popular cuts of beef include short rib, flank steak and skirt steak, though my personal favorite is rib eye. I've also seen it made with ground beef. The marinade works best when you slice the beef into thin slices to get a good flavor base.
- Other Meats. You can also make bulgogi with pork, chicken or other meats. Feel free to get creative. I think this would be great with tofu for a vegetarian version.
- Recipe Variations. The cookbook listed below uses Asian pear, Korean pear or Bosc pear in their bulgogi sauce as well as onion and scallion, which is great. Definitely give them a try. I adjusted by including spicy gochujang for extra heat and flavor, as well as minced peppers, and emphasized other ingredients to my own preference.
- Korean Gochujang. Gochujang is a Korean fermented red chili paste made from chili powder, glutinous rice, fermented soybean powder, barley malt powder, and salt. It is thick and pungent in flavor, adding a zingy depth to your dishes. It is both spicy and sweet. You can sometimes find it in typical American grocery stores in the Asian or International section, though selections can be limited. I find a big variety in an Asian grocery store near me. Consider buying it online. See below.
Buy Gochujang Online
- Buy Gochujang at Amazon for a good selection of options (affiliate link, my friends)
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this amazing beef bulgogi recipe, and that it becomes a new family-loved favorite. Time to make the bulgogi! Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!
- Maangchi's Real Korean Cooking, by Maangchi with Lauren Chattman (affiliate link, my friends) - this book is the inspiration for this recipe and other Korean recipes.
- Also, check out my own cookbook, "The Spicy Food Lovers' Cookbook - Fiery, No-Fuss Meals", by Mike Hultquist (affiliate link, my friends!)
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
Try Some of These Other Beef Recipes
- Mongolian Beef
- Pepper Steak
- Szechuan Beef
- Chimichurri Steak
- Beef Rendang
- Ropa Vieja
- Beef Barbacoa
- Carne Asada
- Lomo Saltado (Peruvian Beef Stir Fry with French Fries)
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Beef Bulgogi Recipe
FOR THE BULGOGI SAUCE
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons gochujang Korean fermented chili paste
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon honey or use brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh chopped ginger
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 spicy red pepper minced optional, for hotter bulgogi sauce
FOR THE BEEF BULGOGI
- 1.5 pounds ribeye steak, sliced thinly or cubed (You can use other cuts of beef. See recipe notes.)
- FOR SERVING: Spicy red pepper flakes, sliced green onion, sliced hot peppers, toasted sesame seeds, hot sauce to taste
- Whisk all of the bulgogi sauce ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Add the sliced ribeye steak and marinate the beef for at least 30 minutes, or overnight for more flavor development.
- Heat your grill, cast iron grill pan or wok to medium high heat with a lightly oiled surface. Grill or stir fry the beef for 5-6 minutes for medium-rare, stirring or flipping often, or longer until done to your liking.
- Garnish with green onions, sliced peppers, red chili flake and toasted sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy!