Bulgogi Beef (Korean-Style Barbecue)

Background and History

Bulgogi, a beloved Korean dish, translates to “fire meat” and has a rich history dating back to the Goguryeo era (37 BC – 668 AD). Originally prepared by marinating beef in soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and other seasonings, Bulgogi evolved from a simple grilled meat dish to a staple of Korean barbecue culture.


  • Thinly sliced beef (commonly sirloin or ribeye)
  • Soy sauce
  • Sugar (or alternative sweeteners like honey or brown sugar)
  • Sesame oil
  • Garlic
  • Green onions
  • Asian pear (or substitute with apple or kiwi for tenderizing)
  • Black pepper
  • Sesame seeds (for garnish)
  • Optional: sliced mushrooms, onions, or carrots for added flavor


4 Time: Preparation: 15 minutes | Marinating: 1-2 hours | Cooking: 10 minutes Cooking Time: Approximately 5-7 minutes


In a bowl, combine soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, minced garlic, chopped green onions, grated Asian pear, and black pepper to create the marinade.

Add the thinly sliced beef to the marinade, ensuring each piece is well coated. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours to allow the flavors to meld.

Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.

Once the grill is hot, place the marinated beef slices on the grill, cooking for 2-3 minutes on each side until caramelized and slightly charred.

While grilling, baste the beef with any remaining marinade for added flavor.

Once cooked to your desired level of doneness, remove the beef from the grill and transfer to a serving platter.

Garnish with sesame seeds and additional chopped green onions, if desired.

Serve hot alongside steamed rice and a variety of side dishes, such as kimchi and lettuce leaves for wrapping.

Nutrition Facts

Bulgogi beef is a good source of protein, providing essential amino acids necessary for muscle growth and repair.

However, the dish can be high in sodium due to the soy sauce, so consider using low-sodium soy sauce or reducing the amount used in the marinade.

The addition of sesame oil adds healthy fats to the dish, while the Asian pear tenderizes the meat naturally.


For a vegetarian alternative, substitute thinly sliced tofu or mushrooms for the beef.

Bulgogi beef is traditionally grilled, but it can also be cooked on a stovetop grill pan or in a skillet.

Adjust the sweetness and saltiness of the marinade according to personal preference.

Allergy Warning

Bulgogi beef contains soy (from soy sauce), garlic, and sesame oil. Check for allergies or dietary restrictions before consuming.

Percival Langley
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