Bulgogi (Korean Beef BBQ)

Ok, so after a summer of shockingly bad weather it’s time to try to BBQ.  (Don’t worry if it doesn’t last as this works just as well indoor in a fry pan.)

So to get your taste buds going again, here is my version of the super yummy Korean Beef BBQ or Bulgogi.

Bulgogi traditional 600

Traditionally, it is served in series of components that each individual packs and wraps in a lettuce leaf.  I will show you both this, the legit way and my jazzed up Western version for lazy sods.

The marinade for the beef (or mushrooms if vegetarian, or both if you are me) is very simple.  I will be a stickler on two points however. You must, and I mean must use a pear in your marinade.  Its acidity helps to break down the meat to make it incredibly tender and also adds just the right amount of sticky sweetness.  The other point is that you MUST puree the pear (by fair means or foul) to get it to do its magic.

Bulgogie marinade 600

So just chuck the ingredients into a container suitable for a blender or stick blender and blitz away.

Bulgogi 600

Pour the mariande over your goodies to be grilled and mix thoroughly. Cover and chill until you are ready to cook.  Try to ensure that you have at least 30 minutes but even better several hours to marinate for best results.

Ssamjang 600

Now, while your beef or mushrooms are marinading you can whip up the most divine dipping sauce known as Ssamjang.  It it what is usually served with Bulgogi and perfectly balances the flavours.  For real, this stuff is crazy good so don’t be afraid to make loads!

Bulgogi traditional 600

When it comes close to cooking time arrange the Ssamjang, a bowl of basmati rice, a platter of washed lettuce leaves and some freshly sliced vegetable such as onion and carrot.  Fry or BBQ the meat in batches and present to your family and guests to make their own parcel.

A note of caution: apparently the making of a parcel for another person is seen as a very intimate act, particularly between the sexes.  It is fine for a parent to make one for a child or elderly relative, but under no circumstance should you make one up for another adult unless you are expressly trying to express romantic intent! (Top Tip.)

Burrito 600

And while the wee lettuce wraps are a delicious delight, they are a faff.  So, as I can never leave well enough alone I mixed the Ssamjang with a touch of rice wine vinegar and vegetable oil and used it as a dressing to make a Korean inspired coleslaw.

Now you can pack way more good stuff into a burrito and sidestep the whole social morass of lettuce parcel construction. 🙂

Welcome back BBQ Season, we have all missed you terribly!

Bulgogi (Korean BBQ) with Ssamjang Coleslaw

Bulgogi (Korean BBQ) with Ssamjang Coleslaw


  • 500 grams/ 1 pound beef, thinly sliced
  • 250 grams/ 1/2 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 30 ml/ 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2.5 ml/ 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely crushed
  • 10 grams/ 1/4 cup spring onions (scallions), sliced
  • 1 small pear, de seeded & diced
  • 75 ml/ 5 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 30 ml/ 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 30 ml/ 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 30 ml/ 2 Tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 30 ml/ 2 Tablespoons ginger, minced


  1. In a large bowl place the beef, mushrooms, sesame seeds & spring onions (scallions).
  2. In a blender or a container for a stick blender place pear, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger & garlic.
  3. Blend until smooth and pour over the contents of the bowl. Mix to combine, cover and refrigerator for 30 minutes to 24 hours.
  4. To cook: heat a large skillet or a BBQ with a vegetable basket until very hot with a small amount of vegetable oil. Working in small batches, add the meat and mushroom mixture to pan allowing to cook for 2-3 minutes before turning and 2-3 minutes more on the second side.
  5. Transfer cooked Bulgogi to a large bowl or platter before adding the next batch to pan.
  6. Repeat in small batches until complete.
  7. Serve with Ssamjang, fresh vegetable and rice.
  8. (Can also be served in a tortilla wrap with my ssamjang coleslaw).
  9. Enjoy!

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