This bulgogi recipe for Korean barbeque beef yields unbelievably tender, juicy, and flavorful caramelized meat. The magic is in the marinade, which is a perfect blend of sweet, salty, and umami flavors to help tenderize the thinly-sliced meat!
In order to be able to slice the steak as thin as we need to, it helps to partially freeze it first.
Freeze the steak until it’s firm, but not fully frozen, about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours.
Very thinly slice the steak across the grain. Around 2mm-thick slices is perfect.
For the Marinade:
Stir together all of the marinade ingredients in a large bowl.
Add the steak and stir gently to coat.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or up to 8 hours.
To Cook the Steak:
Remove the steak from the marinade and lay it out in a single layer on paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Remove any larger pieces of pear, onion, garlic, or ginger that are on the steak.
Preheat a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over high heat. When the pan is scorching hot, add 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Add 1/4 of the meat in an even layer, making sure not to crowd the pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on the first side, and then flip the meat and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. The meat should be caramelized but still tender when it’s done. Transfer the cooked meat to a plate, and cook the remaining meat the same way in 3 more batches. (Note that if you have an exceptionally large pan, you may be able to cook the meat in just 2 batches instead of 4.)
Once all the meat is cooked, turn the heat down to medium. Add the onion, carrot, and half of the scallion. Cook until the vegetables are caramelized and starting to soften, about 1 minute, flipping them constantly.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked beef.
Sprinkle the remaining scallion and the sesame seeds on top.
Nutritional Information: Information for this recipe was calculated without the serving suggestions.
To Reduce the Carbs: Use keto brown sugar instead of regular brown sugar. This will lower the carbohydrates to 11g per serving (13g total carbs minus 2g fiber).
Gluten Free Version: Use tamari sauce or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.
Grill It: A cast-iron skillet works great, but the traditional way to cook bulgogi is over fire. (Its name literally translates as “fire meat”.) Make sure your grill is very hot so the meat caramelizes nicely. And be careful not to overcook it; bulgogi is thinly sliced and cooks fast!
Make a Bulgogi Bowl: Serve the cooked beef on top of steamed rice with kimchi and other sliced veggies for a delicious, fun, and beautiful meal!
To Store Bulgogi: Once it’s cooked, you can store the meat in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
To Reheat Bulgogi: It's best to use high heat for a very short period to reheat bulgogi. Let the meat sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes first. Then you can briefly reheat it in a very hot oven (around 500F) or a very hot skillet (on high heat) until warm. Additionally, bulgogi reheats well in an air fryer; it takes about 2 minutes at 400F.