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Korean BBQ Beef (불고기, Bulgogi)

Bulgogi literally means “fire meat”, and is a popular Korean BBQ dish. Everyone makes it slightly different, but the universally common ingredients are thinly sliced rib eye, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and sesame oil. At Korean restaurants, people commonly will gather around an indoor grill to cook it, then eat it right off the grill.

When it’s cooked, it can go in a variety of dishes including bibimbap, kimbap, and fried rice (bokumbap). It can also be made into large batches in advance and then frozen into serving sized portions in freezer bags. When you need your meat for a meal, just defrost the bag, then cook on a stove top or grill, and you’re ready to eat!

This recipe will describe how to marinate the beef in a large batch to be frozen, and the number of servings it makes depends on how large you want your serving portion to be. Generally I will do 4-5 lbs of meat, then freeze around 5 bags in individual portions. You can add sliced onions or green onions when you cook the meat if you wish.

Quick notes:

⏲<1 hour

🇺🇸 All ingredients can typically be found at large grocery stores.

❄️ Great for freezing and serving later!

👍🏻 Very easy and great for beginners!

What you'll need:

5 lbs of thinly sliced ribeye beef (commonly found in Korean groceries, but you can also ask your local butcher to slice you some ribeye to 1/8")

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup mirin

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 small yellow onion

1 small apple (or half of a Korean or Bosc pear)

1 inch piece of ginger

6 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon sesame oil

Ground black pepper

Sesame seeds


Prepare the marinade:

In your blender or food processor, add the soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, 1 apple (or ½ Korean or Bosc pear), 1 yellow onion, 1 inch piece of ginger, 6 cloves of garlic, and about ½ teaspoon of ground pepper. Blend until smooth (the Vitamix® works great for this!).

Prepare the beef:

In a large bowl, place your ribeye, and pour your marinade over the meat. Add the sesame oil, and mix in the sesame seeds. Hand mix well (be gentle, don't tear the meat!) so that everything is covered. Leave it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to let the marinade really soak in.

Portion and freeze:

Separate the meat to the portion sizes you want, then freeze. When portioning, flatten the bags as shown below for quick and easy defrosting. When ready to use, defrost, then cook either on a skillet or a grill. Grill on medium-high with sliced yellow onions, green onions, or mushrooms, if you wish!

Serving suggestion: Serve with red leaf lettuce and rice for delicious Korean BBQ lettuce wraps!

Grilling tip: For best results, when cooking on a skillet or grill, don't overcrowd your pan. You will get a nice sear and caramelization of your meat if you cook your meat spaced out. If you crowd your pan, then the meat ends up boiling rather than searing, and the texture does not turn out as desirable. You may not be used to doing it this way, but the meat will actually turn out much more tender, and it will actually cook faster!

And when you're done, be sure to post some pictures and tag them with #ahjummarecipes. I'd love to see your results!

Some common Korean ingredients that may be hard to find at your local grocery store!

Black Bean Paste

Red Hot Pepper Paste

Red Hot Pepper Flakes

Dried Kelp (for broth)

Dried Anchovies (for broth)

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Who am I? YouTube/internet self-taught Korean cook, full-time working mommy of two, ahjumma and proud of it, I'm a Kim that makes bap!

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