Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Basic Bulgogi Recipe | Bon Appétit

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A staple of Korean barbecue, bulgogi translates to “fire meat” (a direct link to the tradition of making it by grilling marinated beef over charcoal). This bulgogi recipe requires minimal prep time, is endlessly adaptable, and was designed as a stovetop stir-fry—which means you can make it any time of year. In short, it’s an excellent weeknight main dish to keep in your back pocket.

The sweet-salty bulgogi marinade pairs well with sliced beef, chicken, or pork—for a vegetarian version, try this recipe with eggplant. If you’re going for classic Korean beef bulgogi, pay special attention to the cut of meat. We like trimmed hanger steak or boneless short rib, but another tender, well-marbled cut like top sirloin, rib eye, flank steak, or skirt steak also works. Cutting the meat into thin slices so the marinade ingredients work quickly is key. If you live near a Korean grocery store, you can pick up presliced beef (look for Korean BBQ beef); if you’re cutting the meat yourself, freeze it for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour for easier slicing.

Traditional bulgogi marinade calls for puréed or grated fruit such as kiwi, apple, or pear. Any type of pear will work with this recipe, but if you can access Korean pears (or another Asian pear variety), use those. The short marinating time gives you the chance to set your table with Korean side dishes (known as banchan), including kimchi and spinach namul, as well as everything you need to build little lettuce wraps: steamed white rice, green onions, toasted sesame seeds, ssamjang or gochujang, and crisp fresh lettuce leaves.

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