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!
Cousin Dave’s Korean BBQ Beef Recipe
My cousin Dave’s version of Korean BBQ beef is very similar to traditional Korean versions of Beef Bulgogi, which is one type of Korean BBQ. It has many of the delicious Asian ingredients found in traditional Korean bulgogi – including soy sauce, sesame, garlic, sugar and ginger. Plus, Dave’s version isn’t cooked over a hot flame or grilled (like most Korean BBQ). All you’ll need to whip up this easy recipe is a skillet or sauté pan.
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!
Korean BBQ Marinade Ingredients
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 do you marinate beef slices?
Marinating beef slices is super easy!
- Mix marinade ingredients.
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.
- Add beef.
Add the steak slices and stir to coat the meat.
- Cover and refrigerate.
Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
Alternatively, you can stir the marinade ingredients together in a mixing bowl, then place in a zip top baggie with the steak slices. Seal well and place in the refrigerator to marinate. Turn the bag over every once in awhile, to make sure all the slices are getting evenly the marinaded.
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?
How to Serve Korean BBQ Beef
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).
What goes on Korean BBQ?
You don’t need too many garnishes on Korean BBQ Beef. Just a sprinkling of chopped green onion (white, light and dark green portions) and some toasted sesame seeds are the perfect finishing touch!
How to store, freeze and reheat Korean BBQ Meat
You can actually prepare, but not cook, this dish ahead of time and toss it in the freezer to have on hand for later. Simply prepare through step 2; place beef and marinade mixture in a freezer-safe zip top baggie and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator then follow the recipe starting with step 3.
Korean BBQ Recipe FAQ
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.
Yes, Korean BBQ marinade is also delicious with chicken or pork.
As mentioned earlier, Korean BBQ traditionally refers to marinated, thinly sliced meat that’s cooked over high heat. In today’s Korean BBQ restaurants, the meat is cooked on a hot grill that’s right in the middle of your table. And, the meat used can be beef, pork or chicken.
Bulgogi is a form of Korean BBQ. Here are the key differences:
– Bulgogi: thinly sliced beef is marinated in a umami-rich sauce, then grilled or, more often, cooked in a skillet or sauté pan.
– Korean BBQ: thinly sliced meat isn’t marinated (and can be beef, pork or chicken), is grilled and then served with a dipping sauce.
The marinade for this scrumptious Korean BBQ Beef includes the traditional ingredients of soy sauce, sesame, garlic, sugar and ginger. Dave also added onion and cilantro. And, in place of the rice wine, he substituted sherry. The Asian pear often called for is omitted, and I don’t miss it at all. There’s lots of vibrant flavors in this marinade without it!
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More Asian-inspired recipes
- Asian Pork Tenderloin
- Asian Shrimp and Brown Rice Salad
- Healthy Chicken Stir Fry
- Spinach and Mushrooms with Cheese Dumplings
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
- 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.
- Add the steak slices and stir to coat the meat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 up to 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.