Korean BBQ Beef (Bulgogi)

What is bulgogi?

Korean BBQ beef, or bulgogi (불고기), is thinly sliced beef marinated and barbecued over an open flame. Koreans use “bul” for fire and “gogi” for meat. It usually refers to beef bulgogi, but chicken and pork are also used.

The meat 

Best cut: rib eye. Any soft, tasty beef cut like chuck eye, sirloin, or tenderloin works. I sometimes cook tenderloin for elderly family and friends.  

Bulgogi sauce

Classic marinade ingredients include soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, etc. The key is balancing salty and sweetness.


Meat can be grilled on charcoal, wood charcoal (sootbul, 戯綈), gas grill, or stove top grill pan.


A hot pan and no crowding are needed to caramelize meat when pan-frying.

Seoul-style bulgogi

As noted, I grew up eating this dish this way.  Cook meat in a dome-shaped pan with holes and a flat bottom for water or broth.

Pa muchim (scallion salad) and lettuce wraps and ssamjang go well with this dish. See my 15 Korean veggie side dishes for more. Korean BBQ pork complements doenjang jjigae (soybean paste stew).

You can store any unused marinated meat in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze it for longer storage.