Literally meaning "fire meat," bulgogi is a Korean dish of grilled marinated beef. The version Chris Oh, the chef of L.A.'s Hanjip, sent us uses rib eye—a tender cut of meat with the perfect marbleization of fat. A rich marinade of soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar coats the beef, caramelizing in the pan for a sweet-and-salty finished dish.
We know rib eye can get a little pricy, so feel free to substitute a cheaper cut of beef, such as sirloin. Then after marinating, use a hot cast-iron pan for a quick sear and dark caramelization. Bulgogi is traditionally grilled over a gridiron rack, so you can also grill the beef for a smoky flavor.
To learn more, read "Get It, Grill."
Bulgogi (Korean BBQ Beef)
Recipe adapted from Chris Oh, Hanjip, Los Angeles, CA
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus marinating time
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes, plus marinating time
3 cups water
2 cups soy sauce
2 cups white sugar
½ cup sesame oil
½ tablespoon garlic powder
½ tablespoon onion powder
½ tablespoon Korean red pepper flakes, plus more for garnish
2 pounds rib eye steaks, thinly sliced crosswise into ⅛-inch slices
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
Toasted white and black sesame seeds, for garnish
Steamed white rice, for serving
Kimchi, for serving
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the water, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic and onion powders, and Korean red pepper flakes until the sugar has dissolved. Add the sliced rib eye and let marinate for 1 hour.
2. In a large cast-iron pan, heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Drain the meat, discarding the marinade. Working in batches, cook the meat, flipping once, until caramelized and golden, 1 minute per side. Transfer to a platter.
3. Garnish the bulgogi with the scallions, sesame seeds and more pepper flakes, then serve with steamed rice and kimchi.