Special Diet - Created Date : 25.8.2019

Bulgogi (Korean Beef BBQ 불고기)

Bulgogi (Korean Beef BBQ 불고기)

Bulgogi (Korean Beef BBQ ???)

Bulgogi is the most popular Korean Grilled BBQ Beef dish that is made from marinated thin slices of beef that’s traditionally grilled over open flame. Flavors of sweet, salty and garlicky soy sauce with a hint of sesame oil has been my go-to family recipe for 27 years!!

Bulgogi – Korean Beef BBQ on Cast Iron Skillet

Bulgogi which literally means ‘fire meat’ is an amazing Korean BBQ grilled beef dish that will make anyone a fan of Korean food once you taste it. Actually, this is the very first recipe that I posted when I started my blog in 2010 and as I said in the title, I have been using this authentic recipe ever since and even longer – for 27 years which is how long I have been married. ??

So my Authentic Bulgogi recipe has truly stood the test of time.

About Bulgogi

Bulgogi has origins dating back thousands of years to the kingdom of Goguryeo (??? 37 BC – 668 AD) which was in the form of beef grilled on skewers. Later in 1800’s, with the introduction of metal grates, Koreans started to marinate thin cuts of beef and then grill on top of these gridirons. These were called Neobiahni Gui ???? ?? which actually used thicker slices of beef than what is used today in Bulgogi.

My most delicious memory goes way back to the days when my father took the whole family out to dinner at his favorite restaurant – Wooraeok ???. You see the original owner of Wooraeok was a good friend of my father since they both fled North Korea during the Korean war in the ’50s.

Wooraeok still exists today and has sister restaurants in Washington DC and New York. They still cook the beef on this type of pan and my dad used to add rice and cracked an egg to the juice that accumulated around the rim. And OH MY…you will get a wonderful juk there.. I can still remember how good it tasted and I thought my dad was a genius!!

BTW, in this post, I offer several substitutions and variations that you can try based on my recipe. They will ALL taste good but I think it is good to have options in case you don’t have all the ingredients or if you prefer one ingredient over another.

What is Bulgogi Sauce made with? Do you have to use Asian pear?

Asian Pear is the traditional Korean tenderizer of choice for bulgogi recipes and rule of thumb is 2 Tbs grated pear for 1 lb of meat. But you can certainly use other substitutes.

But I know Asian Pear is not always easy to buy outside of Korea so here are my substitutions.

Kiwi – this is my favorite tenderizer to use when pear is not readily available – it’s so powerful that 1/2 kiwi is good for 5 lbs of beef

Onion – 3 Tbs of minced onion will do its trick for 1 lb of beef, adds extra sweetness which is good

Diet Coke – Another emergency fix is to add 2 Tbs or so to 5 lbs of beef, if you find that the meat is too tough even after the marinade. Use Diet Coke only as a last resort since it is very powerful and don’t leave it too long.

What is the best beef cut for Bulgogi?

Bulgogi Beef Cut – Sirloin

Traditionally, top sirloin, tenderloin or rib eye cuts are considered to be best cuts for Bulgogi and they are thinly sliced across the grain. You can also use thin slices of skirt steak if you want to try that. The more marbling the meat has, it will be more tender so try to buy meats that have good marbling.

How to slice it at home

Buy chuck roast/bonless rib eye roast/tenderloin/sirloin chunks of meat. Wrap it with a plastic wrap and freeze it for 1 1/2 to 2 hrs or more (if meat piece is bigger than 1 lb) and then take it out and slice it thin against the grain. Pro Tip – always sharpen your knife (like how chefs do on TV) before and it will be so much easier.

Bulgogi vs Galbi – what’s the difference?

In terms of the taste of the marinade, the two are very similar. In fact, I sometimes use the same marinade for both except I add a bit more tenderizer for Galbi as the meat is tougher and thicker. So the main difference between Galbi and Bulgogi is in the cut of the meat. Galbi means ‘ribs’ and usually it is bone-in cut of the cow near the short rib #1 – #5 area whereas for the latter, there is no bone and are thinly cut pieces as stated above.

Chef’s Tips

Add-Ons – Traditionally, Koreans just marinate the beef by itself but you can add any or all of the following: sliced raw onions, mushrooms (shitake, white, oyster), bell peppers, carrots can be added to the pan when you cook the meat

Charcoal grill – The most authentic and traditional way to cook Korean BBQ (left pic). Use either a fine steel mesh or tin foil to cook the meat over charcoal because otherwise, it will fall through.

Broil in the oven – You can also broil it on the top rack of your oven (Broil temp) but remember to keep a very close watch so it does not burn!

Traditional Bulgogi pan over Gas (see pic) – Use the classic domed pan (right pic) on top of Gas and cook with water or light broth added to the rim. The juice from the meat will fall into the water and later make a wonderful liquid that you can mix with your rice.

Cook it well done – also tastes great if it’s caramelized and a little burnt…

STORE leftovers (uncooked or cooked) in the fridge or the freezer. Heat up in a frying pan. You can’t overcook bulgogi.

SERVING Suggestions – Serve with some rice and Korean lettuce salad or with Ssam and Ssamjang. Slices of raw garlic or chili peppers can also be enjoyed in the Ssam or grilled together with the Bulgogi. More menu ideas in my Korean BBQ Dinner cookbook (subscribe to my blog ??and download for FREE).

Other Related Recipes

If you enjoyed this recipe then you can make other dishes using leftovers –

Bulgogi Rice Bowl with fresh greens topped with Gochujang sauce

Bulgogi Hot Pot Jeongol Served in Clay Pot

Bulgogi Kimchi Pasta

Bulgogi Rice Bowl– Great way to use leftover bulgogi or double your recipe and plan to make it the next day. Just throw some fresh lettuce, crown daisies, perilla and chili peppers then top it with some gochujang sauce. This is my favorite!!

P.S. I have recently (11/10/11) used red wine instead of the rice wine, light brown sugar instead of white and added a swirl of diet coke. The results were fabulous! My husband told me that it was actually the best bulgogi I ever made!! So try these substitutions if you want to make it even more extra yummy.

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Make sauce by mixing all of the marinade ingredients together except for any optional vegetables such as onions or mushrooms.

Bulgogi Marinade

My favorite tenderizer is kiwi. I know it’s not traditional since kiwi is not a native Korean fruit but it really makes the meat melt in your mouth and much easier to buy outside of Korean groceries. Be careful not to use too much as it can actually make the beef almost crumble into nothing in your mouth.

chopped kiwi for bulgogi as tenderizer

2. Mix in the bulgogi beef into the sauce prepared above – in a bowl big enough to hold the beef. Make sure the sauce is well mixed with the beef. You will need to use your hands here and just massage everything together.

Make Ahead – and leave in the fridge overnight. Or if you are short on time (as is always the case with me.. ), making it just a few hours ahead works fine too. Even just 30 min. works. I’ve done that many times and most people don’t even seem to notice the difference. ?? But of course, it will taste better if you give it time to marinate and absorb all that good flavor.

Bulgogi Marinated


STOVE TOP – Heat up your favorite frying pan on MEDIUM-HIGH heat and just pan fry/stir fry the meat until it’s slightly brown on both sides. Your pan should be hot enough so that the meat sizzles as it touches the pan. DON’T put too much meat into the pan and you will end up with a lot of the meat juice leaking out of the bulgogi which I personally don’t think is good. But some like a lot of juice so your choice. Add your sliced vegetables to the pan about a minute after you start cooking the meat. Cook until meat is well cooked and caramelized (like you see below).

Bulgogi – Korean Beef BBQ (???) is probably one of the best known Korean Beef BBQ dish and this authentic marinade recipe has been used in my family for over 25 years.

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Korean

Keyword: beef marinade, garlic, korean grilled beef, sweet soy sauce

KoreanCategory: Gui (??)

Servings: 4

Calories: 249kcal

Author: JinJoo Lee


1lbThinly sliced sirloin(top sirloin or any tender loin area)


3Tbssoy sauce

2Tbslight brown sugar[white sugar ok]

1Tbshoney[ 2 t sugar is also ok ]

2Tbsrice cooking wine or red wine[mirin works too]

1Tbssesame oil

2Tbsminced garlic

1tspground black pepper

2tsptoasted sesame seeds

1Tbschopped green onion

2Tbspear, puree[ or 1 Tbs kiwi or 3 Tbs onion puree]


Make sauce by mixing all of the marinade ingredients together except for any optional vegetables such as onions or mushrooms.

Mix in the bulgogi beef into the sauce prepared above – in a bowl big enough to hold the beef. Make sure the sauce is well mixed with the beef. You will need to use your hands here and just massage everything together.

Heat up your favorite frying pan on high heat and just pan fry/stir fry the meat until it’s slightly brown on both sides.

Recipe Notes

2 Tbs pear puree can be substituted with 1 Tbs kiwi.

Pan should be hot enough so that the meat sizzles as it touches the pan. Also, if you put too much meat into the pan and/or the heat is too low, you will end up with a lot of the meat juice leaking out of the bulgogi and you end up with Bulgogi stew.

The most authentic and traditional way to cook Bulgogi ( Korean Beef BBQ ) is on top of a charcoal grill- you will either need a fine steel mesh or tin foil to cook the meat because otherwise it will fall through. Bulgogi is supposed to be well cooked and tastes great if it’s a little burnt…

You can also broil it on the top rack of your oven (Broil temp) but remember to keep a very close watch so it does not burn!

Optional veggie ingredients - traditionally, Koreans just make bulgogi with beef by itself but if you are cooking it in a frying pan, you can add some sliced onions, mushrooms (shitake, white, oyster), bell peppers and even sliced carrots and cook them together.


I have made bulgogi many times over the last 15 years or so. I have used a variety of recipes and I must say that your recipe is very good. Words like the “meat was amazing” was heard a few times. I followed almost completely. I used raw sugar as I bought a box of it and I just never use it. Also, I used a whole kiwi. I always use flank steak, which is always cheaper than ribeye. The meat was very tender. Thank you for posting.

Thank you for your wonderful recipe. My family is currently in Korea and bulgogi became a quick favorite I’ve made this a few times now and according to my husband it is just like how he first experienced it in Seoul. I’ll be slightly disappointed when we go back to the states and Asian pears aren’t as easy to access. But for now I’ve been definitely taking advantage of being here. Your recipes are helping me learn how to bring some of our favorite Korean dishes home with us.

Hi Juliea, how wonderful to hear that your family enjoys my recipe! Glad you get to eat some good food in Korea. Please note you can totally not use Asian pear. I am always out of Asian pear a lot so I use kiwi instead and it tastes and works just the same. Thank you so much for your comment – I love hearing how it actually helps people.

Excited to try this recipe, I love Korean food and especially bulgogi. Am I right in thinking the tablespoon measurements used in the recipe are US tablespoons, which are equivalent to 3 teaspoons? Australian (and I think UK) tablespoons are 4 teaspoons, so it gets confusing for us and I don’t want to get the proportions wrong.

I’m excited for you to try my recipe!! Yes, it’s US Tablespoons – 15 ml. I didn’t realize Australian Tablespoons are 4?? I will make a note on my website so people don’t get confused. Thank you soo much for asking!! ??

About to mix up the marinade for dinner tonight. Very excited to try this recipe! Korean food is my favourite! I have a jar of kimchi in my fridge just waiting for an accompaniment.. not that kimchi needs it! Delicious morsels they are! Thank you for the recipe!

Awesome to hear that you made Bulgogi!!Bulgogi and Kimchi is a classic so it should be delicious!! Thank you so much for dropping a note – always so happy to know that someone is enjoying a good dinner with my recipe. ??

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–Nutritional Facts in my recipe cards are provided as an estimate and may not be accurate. Due to different brands of ingredients having different nutritional values, the values I provide here may be different from your preparation. – MSG & Corn Syrup FREE – these are never used in my recipes – Gluten Free recipe assumes you are using gluten free soy sauce (since many soy sauces contain gluten or wheat).

The Best Healthy Fast Food Options

Fast-food stores are plentiful and fast food has the reputation of being unhealthy, while an increasing number of large chains are adding more nutritious options to their menus.

Sockets that allow more customization of orders tend to have lower calorie or more feeder selections. However, there are currently healthy options on the menu of the largest fast-food chains.

In this article, we'll look at the overall calorie, fat and saturated fat content to find some of the healthiest options that seven big fast-food chains have to offer.

Note, however, that calories and fat are only two aspects of how healthy a meal is fed. If a person eats only fast food, it is not possible to get the necessary nutrients such as vitamins and fiber.

1. Subway

Sandwich with cheese and vegetables

One person can customize Subway sandwiches to choose healthy fillings.

Metro specialize in deli style sandwiches or "sub". As a person can customize every "sub", Subway can be one of the healthiest healthy fast-food chains.

Some of the best sandwich options are on the Subway's Fresh Fit menu. The 6-inch Turkey Breast sandwich with nine wheat bread contains 250 calories and 3 grams of fat, including 0.5 g of saturated fat.

A healthy vegetarian option, Veggie Delite in nine wheat bread. This "bottom" contains only 2 g calories, does not contain 2 g total fat and saturated fat. It also has one of the lowest sodium levels (salt) compared to other sandwiches.

Subway also offers salads that can be a low-calorie alternative to a sandwich. All salads include lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, onions, cucumbers, green peppers and olives.

Fast food and diabetes: Tips and options

Fast food and diabetes: Tips and options

Are you having trouble finding a fast-food option for living with diabetes and occasional treatment? We can help you.

2. Taco Bell

Taco Bell is another great fast-food chain with a variety of healthy options. The ability to personalize each order allows people to choose more vegetable-like nutrients.

According to Taco Bell's website, three-quarters of its menus are under 500 calories. Some of the lowest calorie options are the Fresco menu, which uses regular sauce and cheese instead of vegetable based salsa.

One of the healthiest options is Chicken Soft Taco. Each taco contains about 170 calories, 8 g fat, containing only 3 g of saturated fat.

Bean Burrito is a vegetarian option containing 11 g fat, 380 calories, including 4 g of saturated fat.

3. Chipotle

Vegetable burritos

Vegetarian options are lower in fat than meat options.

Chipotle is a Mexican-style chain that specializes in tacos and burritos. Similar to Subway and Taco Bell, Chipotle allows people to customize their meals to include healthy choices.

Healthy options are burritos or white rice instead of white rice. In a chicken bowl bowl containing fresh tomato salsa and brown rice, there are 415 calories, 13 g fat and 4 g saturated fat.

For a lower calorie, vegetarian option, people can choose a plate of bean curd, brown rice and a sofritas patty with lettuce. It contains 365 calories, 10 g fat and 1.5 g saturated fat. Adding sauce will increase the number of calories.

4. McDonald's

McDonald's had the reputation of being unhealthy, but they recently reaffirmed themselves to offer a variety of fresh and nutritious ingredients. Some of these changes may be cosmetics, while McDonald's has better options.

Fillet-O-Fish contains 390 calories and 4 g of saturated fat from 19 g of total fat. Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad contains only 320 calories and 6 g of saturated fat from a total of 14 g.

5. Burger King

Burger King is one of the largest burger chains in the United States, but has a limited number of healthy options. But some choices are a little healthier than others.

It contains a normal, simple hamburger, 10 g total fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, and 240 calories. Grilled Chicken Sandwich contains 470 calories, 3.5 g saturated fat and 19 g fat.

BK Veggie Burger can be a healthier option among these examples. Contains 2,5 g of saturated fat, 390 calories and 17 g of fat.

6. Wendy

Baked potato with knife, sour cream and cheese filling on plate

Baked potatoes can be a healthy fast-food option.

Wendy is another common fast-food chain that allows people to personalize their orders to make their choices healthier.

The menu of the chain is not abundant in healthy options, but some meals are able to customize to lower the calorie content.

Salads are also available, and if a person chooses some of the half-size salad choices, they can stay below 500 calories.

With a few vegetarian options at Wendy's, Sour Cream and Chive Baked Potatoes

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