A Better Bulgogi

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Beef Dishes, Main Course, March 2012


I was just going to add an ‘update’ to my previous post on Jap Chae and Bulgogi but decided instead to just create a whole new post.

The previous times I had made Bulgogi (Korean BBQ) I used a purchased marinade from the Korean market. It wasn’t BAD per se it just wasn’t what I wanted….what I expected. Not super flavorful. Fresh is always better.

I Googled ‘bulgogi’ and found that there are dozens of variations all with the same base of soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil but then had different accompanying ingredients. I searched through them all to find a recipe with ingredients I had on hand. This is the one that fit (since I don’t usually have rice wine vinegar or sake in my pantry). Feel free to add what else you would like.


What you will need:

bulgogi marinade

1/3 cup soy sauce (try to use the best soy sauce you can find since it is THE base of the marinade)

3 Tbsps sugar (I used half white and half brown)

1 Tbsp sesame oil

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 of a medium sweet onion, sliced thinly in half moon slivers

2 Tbsps toasted sesame seeds

2 pinches black pepper

1/4 tsp fresh grated ginger (I used more like 1 tsp….but I LOVE ginger)

1/4 tsp chili flakes

2 green onions, chopped in 1/4 inch pieces

1/2lb of beef (I use eye of round and have the butcher slice as thin as possible)


Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

soy sauce sugar


sesame oil onion


green onion chili flakes


toasted sesame seeds






I cut the beef into strips before adding to the marinade.

eye of round beef


strips of beef


The recipe called for 1-2 hours of marinade time…I marinated the beef for almost 24hrs. This is ok with beef because it has strong connective tissue and there is no acid component in this recipe. If there was lemon juice or if you used a different protein like pork or fish then you would need to stick with the 1 or 2 hours only otherwise the meat will start to cook in the marinade. We certainly do not want that.

marinating beef



Cook in a wok if you have one, if not use a good frying pan. Add a little vegetable oil and fry on high heat for 2-3 minutes. DO not wipe off marinade, simply drop by the spoonful into the wok.

Serve with Jap Chae or hot rice.


I think this marinade would also be awesome in a Beef and Broccoli stir fry….or any stir fry for that matter.

bulgogi on japchae


love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick