I'm still new to this whole Korean barbecue world, but my first foray into the cuisine amazed me. It was kalbi (or galbi), and it has you take thinly sliced short ribs (one of the toughest, fattiest cuts on the steer), marinate them for a few hours, and cook them quickly over high heat. This is a miraculous use of an ingredient that previously I'd only braised for hours on end.
This version of bulgogi that I adapted from Epicurious uses thinly sliced rib-eye or sirloin, and it's even faster than the method above. These get a quick, 30-minute dip in a flavorful marinade—and then it's on the grill and off in a matter of minutes. It doesn't get much simpler.
What you decide to pair the meat with could take longer. I like the idea of wrapping it in lettuce with a little rice. Bibb works best, but the romaine I had on hand wasn't awful. Some kimchi, of course, wouldn't hurt. Neither would a hit of the spicy bean paste. Of course, you could just stuff it into your mouth with a fork if all of this construction is taking too much time.
About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is a freelance writer in Chicago. He is the co-founder of The Paupered Chef and spends most of his time playing with the new cooking gadgets he got from his wedding.
- For the marinade
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1/2 medium onion, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- For the bulgogi:
- 1 pound rib eye, thinly sliced
- Lettuce, romaine or bibb
- 1 cup cooked white rice
- 1/2 cup kimchi
- 4 teaspoons hot bean paste
Add the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, mirin, onion, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, and black pepper to a large bowl. Whisk until combined. Toss in the meat, cover, and set in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat a grill pan or a large iron skillet to high heat. Remove the meat from the marinade, and then toss in the pan. Cook for a few minutes on each side, until nicely browned.
Serve the beef with lettuce, white rice, kimchi, and hot bean paste.