Easy to prepare, Korean BBQ Beef is the perfect choice for busy day dinner. My cousin Dave’s recipe is full of Asian flavors (think soy, sesame, ginger, garlic) that perfectly complement thinly sliced beef. And, no grill, wok or other special equipment needed – just a skillet or sauté pan and you’re good to go!

Blue plate holding Korean BBQ Beef, sitting on two napkins.

What is Korean BBQ Beef?

Korean BBQ Beef, also known as Korean Beef Bulgogi, is a classic dish whose origins can be traced back literally thousands of years. Simply put, it’s thinly sliced beef marinated in a pungent Asian sauce, then cooked over high heat (traditionally over an open flame). Today, it’s a popular dish worldwide – it’s that delicious!

Blue plate showing Korean BBQ Beef over brown rice. Place is sitting on a napkin

How to make Korean BBQ Beef

Not only is it scrumptious, Korean BBQ Beef is also easy to prepare, with only 15 minutes of prep time plus around 15 minutes of cook time. Simply mix up the marinade, add thinly sliced beef and let it sit for 2 to 24 hours. Don’t have 2 hours to wait? No problem. With my cousin Dave Berry’s recipe, shorter marinating time is okay, because you finish cooking the beef in the marinade! Once it’s ready to go, you sear the beef in a hot skillet or sauté pan, then add back in the marinade and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. How easy is that?

Blue plate holding Korean BBQ Beef over brown rice. Plate is sitting on a brown napkin
What kind of beef is used in Korean BBQ?

There are literally hundreds of different recipes for Korean BBQ Beef. Many recipes call for using ribeye, or other tender cuts of beef (like sirloin). Dave’s recipe calls for less expensive flank steak, which works well in this recipe as long as it’s cut very thin and across the grain.
blue plate holding Korean BBQ Beef over brown rice. Plate is on a wood background

Can I use chicken instead of beef?

Yes, Korean BBQ marinade is also delicious with chicken or pork.

What’s in this marinade?

Dave’s marinade calls for most of the traditional ingredients, including soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, ginger and garlic. He also adds onion, sherry and Tabasco. I’ve added chopped green onion as a garnish – another typical ingredient in this dish. One ingredient in many Korean BBQ marinades that’s not in this recipe is Asian pear. Frankly, I don’t miss it. The brown sugar adds just the right amount of sweetness for my taste.

How to serve

I like to serve this dish over cooked brown rice. White rice can also be used. Alternatively, you can wrap it in lettuce leaves (Bibb/butter lettuce or iceberg).

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Blue plate holding Korean BBQ Beef over brown rice. Plate is sitting on a napkin

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Blue plate showing Korean BBQ Beef over brown rice. plate is sitting on a napkin

Korean BBQ Beef

  • Author: (From “A Well-Seasoned Kitchen®” by Sally Clayton and Lee Clayton Roper)
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins + 2 hours (marinade)
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4 servings 1x
  • Category: main dish, meats, easy
  • Method: stir fry
  • Cuisine: Asian
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Quick and easy to prepare, Korean BBQ Beef is perfect for busy day dinner. And, no grill, wok or other special equipment needed!


  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons grated or finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • Dash oyster sauce (optional)
  • Dash Tabasco sauce
  • 1 pound flank steak, sliced thinly across the grain (1/8 to 1/4-inch thick) and cut in half crosswise
  • 1 to 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons chopped green onion, for garnish
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Cooked brown rice, for serving


  1. In a 7-by-11 inch glass baking dish, stir together ginger, onion, cilantro, garlic, sugar, sherry, soy sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce (if using) and tabasco.
  2. Add the steak slices and stir to coat the meat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 up to 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove the steak slices from the marinade and place on a plate, letting the excess drip back into the dish, reserving the marinade. (See Note below.)
  4. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high to high heat. Add a handful of the sliced steak and cook to sear the outside. Remove and repeat until all the steak has been seared, adding additional oil as needed.
  5. Put all the steak back into the skillet, stir in the reserved marinade, and simmer over medium to medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the sauce reduces a bit.
  6. To serve, spoon meat and sauce over brown rice. Garnish with chopped green onion and toasted sesame seeds.


Gluten free: Use gluten free soy sauce.

Note on reusing marinade: It’s okay to reuse marinade as long as you boil it before serving. That will kill any bacteria.

Lee Clayton Roper


I’m Lee Clayton Roper, and I’m passionate about making cooking and entertaining easy, elegant and fun. Here you’ll find scrumptious recipes, helpful tips and seasonal menus that will spark inspiration in your kitchen!
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2 Responses to “Korean BBQ Beef”

  1. Sandra McCalmon

    I am going to try the Korean BBQ Beef recipe and I have always believed that you cannot use the marinade that has been used with the raw meat. However, it seems that in this recipe you do not reserve part of the marinade to use when finishing cooking the beef. Is that correct?

    I really enjoy your emails with various recipes and I have learned a lot.


    • Lee Roper

      It’s okay to use the marinade as long as you bring it to a boil before serving – and you do that in this recipe. That will kill any bacteria. I will add that information to the recipe in case others are wondering, too. Thanks for your feedback and I hope you like the recipe!


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