Tender and Flavorful Beef Bulgogi

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This Tender and Flavorful Beef Bulgogi is such a wonderful Korean dish. It is really simple to make. Start with quality beef, marinate and grill. That’s it. This dish is so good, it is worth any effort it takes to make it!

Tender and Flavorful Beef Bulgogi on ceramic platter with sliced green onions.

Beef Recommendations

Obviously a really important part of this dish is the beef. While you can buy the beef, already sliced, at most Asian grocery stores, I really think that meat is low quality and generally loaded with fat! So, although it takes a little extra time, I like to slice and prep my own. I know a lot of people like ribeye, which is perfect, but I chose filet for this. I had bought some steaks at Costco the other day, so that is what I used!

Prepping the Beef

Whatever cut of beef you use, you will want to slice it pretty thin, like about 1/8 inch. The easiest way to do this is freeze it slightly, then slice. It makes this process so much more simple!!

woman slicing frozen beef tenderloin steaks on a white cutting board

You can see from the photos above and below the thickness I cut my beef.

woman showing thickness on beef tenderloin for grilling

Look at the beautiful marbling in the beef. I am not a huge beef eater, but beef tenderloin gets me every time!

slices of beef tenderloin on white cutting board

Pear Puree?

Almost every single recipe I checked for verification always adds pear puree to the marinade. It might seem weird, but it is great for tenderizing the beef. Kiwi and apple purees will also do the same. You don’t have use a lot, but it is worth it.

woman cutting a pear in half on small white plate

I threw mine into my small food processor with a little water and pureed until smooth.

woman pulsing pear in small food processor

The Marinade

The marinade is just as critical as the beef. It is loaded with so many yummy flavors! Rice wine vinegar…of course.

woman adding rice vinegar to clear glass bowl

I met some friends that Instagram from New Zealand that is now shipping their honey internationally. If you are interested, Steen’s Raw Honey is amazing. I have loved it!

woman adding steen honey to a bowl mixture

Next add in your pureed pears.

woman adding pureed pear to marinating mix for beef bulgogi

Mix all those yummy flavors together!

woman mixing marinating mix for beef bulgogi in clear glass bowl

Add in your sliced beef.

woman adding beef tenderloin slice to a marinade for beef bulgogi

I like to rub it all in together. This ensures that every piece of meat is coated all the way.

woman mixing beef in marinade for beef bulgogi

Grilling the Beef Bulgogi

Now we come to the tricky part, well it’s tricky if you don’t one of their grill guards that have small grids that keep the meat from falling through. I didn’t have that, so the grilling part was tricky for me! Just grill carefully if you are using your regular grill.

woman grilling beef bulgogi on gas grill

Also, as the meat is sliced so thin, it grills really quickly! This meal is ready in no time!

woman grilling beef bulgogi on gas grill

The Finished Tender and Flavorful Beef Bulgogi

I topped with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and sliced green onions. We served ours with rice and oi Muchim. It was the best combo!!

Tender and Flavorful Beef Bulgogi on ceramic platter with sliced green onions.

One thing to remember when grilling is to make sure you don’t overcook your beef. You don’t want beef jerky, just a juicy tender beef!

Tender and Flavorful Beef Bulgogi on ceramic platter with sliced green onions.

Oi Muchim

The Oi Muchim should also get it’s time in the spotlight. It was such a great side dish! It was so easy to put together and the flavor is so good!

Oi Muchim side dish being served with rice and beef bulgogi

If you are a beef lover and looking for other beef recipes, I have a few! Even though I am not really into beef, my family totally is!

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Tender and Flavorful Beef Bulgogi

This recipe for tender and flavorful beef bulgogi is one you need to add into your menu rotation!
Course Main Course
Cuisine korean
Keyword beef bulgogi, korean beef bulgogi, korean main dishes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marinating Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings
Author Amy- A Red Spatula


  • 1 1/2-2 pounds Beef, sliced thin (about 1/8 inch) I used beef tenderloin, but you can also use a ribeye or even top sirloin if you prefer.
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine or mirin
  • 3 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds plus more for sprinkling on the top after grilling
  • 4 tablespoons pureed pears, apples or even kiwi These will tenderize your meat
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions for topping at the end


  • Once your beef is sliced, set it aside.
    In a medium-sized bowl add the soy sauce, water, honey, rice wine, garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and pureed pear.Mix well to combine.
    Now, add in your beef and with your hands, gently massage the meat and marinade to make sure all the beef is covered.
    This can be a really quick marinade, like 30 minutes quick. Or it can be marinated up to 6-8 hours.
    Now, you can cook the beef 2 ways. The first is grilling. While this is a little trick to do, I like the flavor with this the best. The 2nd way is in a skillet, preferably cast iron.
    For grilling, heat the grill really hot, at least 550-600 degrees. The meat is so thin it will cook hot and fast! Lightly grease your grill grates and place the beef pieces on it. I only grilled mine about 45 seconds to 1 minute per side. Turning it over can be a little tricky, so just be careful.
    Now, if you prefer to not take your chances on the grill, a skillet it great as well. Heat it over medium-high heat. Once it is really hot, add about 1 tablespoon of canola oil to the pan and swirl around the pan to cover the bottom. Being careful not to overcrowd the pan, add in you beef slices. You will need to do this in 2-3 batches, depending on the size of your pan. If the pan is good and hot, and you don't overcrowd, the beef should cook really quickly. If you need to, wipe down the pan, oil and do the next batch.
    Once the beef is finished cooking, top with another sprinkle of sesame seeds and the green onions.
    We served ours with rice and the oi muchim, which is included in the blog post as well.
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Oi Muchim

This spicy, delicious cucumber dish is perfect to pair with the beef bulgogi.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine korean
Keyword cucumber recipes, healthy cucumber recipes, oi muchim recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Amy- A Red Spatula


  • 3 cups cucumbers, sliced
  • 2 green onions, slices
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes you can also use the Gochgaru, which is more authentic, but I didn't have that!
  • 1-2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds use 1 for the recipe, then another 1 to sprinkle on top.


  • Combine green onions, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, crushed red pepper, honey, and 1 teaspoon sesame seeds in a small container. Pour over the cucumbers and mix well. Top with the remaining sesame seeds.
    You can serve immediatly or you can store it in the fridge in an airtight container up to 2 days.
    Now, sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!

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