This is the best and easiest Korean beef bulgogi recipe. This bulgogi consists of thin slices of ribeye beef. It is marinated in our own very special homemade marinade, and then stir-fried to perfection. Bulgogi is a classic Korean dish and is a staple in many Korean households.
Brief history of bulgogi
Pronounced “buul-GOH-ghee”, bulgogi is literally translated as “fire meat” in Korean (“bul” means “fire” and “gogi” means “meat”). According to the peer-reviewed Korean Journal, this dish’s origins dates back to the Goguryeo dynasty (37 B.C. to 668 A.D.). Bulgogi as a dish went through a few transitional periods, such as grilled beef that originated from neobiani, to being boiled in a meat broth around the 1960s. Bulgogi was revived with full-force after the 1990s. It was then that bulgogi was adapted through various different cooking methods and collectively was regarded as the most popular food in Korea.
Our simple recipe
A lot of traditional recipes you may see tend to use Asian pear in their recipes. However, today we are sharing a super easy and more simplified bulgogi recipe with you. Why? Well, because sometimes it can be hard to find Asian pears, especially when they are not in season. We use thinly sliced ribeye for this recipe due to its tenderness and fat content. However, sirloin and brisket are also popular cuts to use in bulgogi recipes.
Thinly sliced beef
Using thinly sliced beef is one of the most important components to making a great bulgogi. If you are cutting the meat yourself at home, many people suggest freezing the beef and then letting it half-thaw to make it easier to slice the beef. Of course, it is even easier to have the grocery store, or butcher slice the meat for you. Many bigger grocery stores will happily slice it for you. We have asked Kroger’s meat counter to slice the ribeye paper-thin for us and most are happy to help. If you have a locally-owned Asian market or Korean supermarket nearby like a H Mart, they also usually have pre-sliced beef.
As you would probably expect, we recommend serving this delicious beef bulgogi with freshly steamed white rice. Traditionally, beef bulgogi is usually always served accompanied with a variety of different side dishes (banchan). Try one, any or all of these great side dish (banchan) recipes that would go great with this beef bulgogi:
- Easy Napa Cabbage Korean Kimchi (Cut-Up Kimchi)
- Crunchy Fried Spring Rolls
- Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad
- Easy Asian Pan-Fried Zucchini
- Korean Seasoned Spinach Side Dish (Sigeumchi-namul)
- Korean White Kimchi (Baek Kimchi)
We hope you enjoy this best and easiest beef bulgogi recipe! Please be sure to comment or tag us on Instagram or Facebook (@asianrecipesathome) if you make this recipe.
2lb Ribeye beef, sliced paper-thin
1 Tbsp avocado oil
1 medium/large-sized yellow onion (about 1 ½ cups), sliced about ¼” thickness
1 medium-sized carrot (about 1 cup), cut like matchsticks
2 green onions (about ½ cup), sliced on the diagonal
½ Tbsp sesame seeds
1 green onion (about ¼ cup), sliced on diagonal (optional, garnish)
For the marinade:
2 Tbsp Sesame oil
½ Tbsp sesame seeds
6 Tbsp white sugar
1 tsp brown sugar
4 Tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup water
6 garlic cloves, minced fine
- First, let’s prepare the beef. Rub the sugar into the beef and let it sit for about 2 hours in the fridge in a medium-sized bowl.
- While the beef is marinating in just the sugar, let’s make the actual marinade. Mix together sesame oil, soy sauce, water, black pepper, salt, garlic cloves, and sesame seeds in a small bowl. Once mixed thoroughly, pour this mixture onto the beef and mix together well. Let the beef marinate in the fridge for about 12 hours. The longer it marinates the better the flavor.
- Place a cast-iron pan onto high heat and then add 1 Tbsp avocado oil to the pan.
- Stir-fry the beef for about 1 minute on the high heat. After a minute, turn the heat down to medium and continue stir-frying the beef until beef.
- Once the liquid from the beef and marinade has evaporated about 80%, then add in the onions, carrot, and green onion. Stir-fry the beef and vegetables together until all of the liquid has evaporated.
- Add the remaining sesame seeds and mix into the finished bulgogi. Serve, and top with freshly sliced green onions (optional) and enjoy!
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