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Beef Bulgogi

4 Servings

1¼ hours 35 minutes active, plus marinating

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Salty, sweet and garlicky, with rich meatiness and an ultra-tender texture, beef bulgogi is a Korean standard. The name translates as “fire meat,” and though bulgogi sometimes is charred over flames or cooked on a dome-shaped tabletop grill, when prepared at home, it is simply sautéed or stir-fried on the stovetop. Ryan Phillips, a Korean American chef living in Seoul, taught us his recipe for home-style bulgogi. The soy-based marinade comes together easily and quickly in a blender. It includes Asian pear, which adds subtle sweetness and fruitiness as well as enzymes that help tenderize the meat. Asian pears are seasonal and can sometimes be pricey; if you prefer, a regular ripe pear of any variety is a good stand-in. As for the meat, we tried various cuts and favored rib-eye and strip steak; top sirloin also is a good, more economical cut. Whichever you use, the beef needs to be thinly sliced on the bias to help make the meat more tender. Serve with steamed rice and tangy, spicy kimchi.




Don’t forget to turn up the heat to high after adding the beef and don’t stir too often as the meat cooks. The aim is to get caramelization quickly so the beef spends only a few minutes in the pan and remains tender.

1¼ hours

35 minutes active, plus marinating


  • pounds rib-eye, strip or top sirloin steak, preferably about 1 inch thick, trimmed of exterior fat and silver skin

  • 8

    ounces Asian pear (see headnote), peeled, cored and roughly chopped


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Michael F.
October 12, 2023
Korean Awesomeness
Winner, winner, Bulgogi dinner. Thank you so much to the staff at Milk Street.
Judith L.
October 3, 2023
This is an outstanding recipe.
I used an Asian and a regular pear so either will work. Loved this meal
Marsha E.
September 26, 2023
I made this recipe but I didnt find the Asian Pear so I decided to use plums that I had on hand. While I am not sure if they have the same effect of tenderizing the meat as Asian Pears, I have to say it was simply delicious and I would definitely make it again. Other than the fruit substitution, I followed the recipe exactly. I made it with mixed brown rice and quinoa. So good
Patricia E.
September 12, 2023
Very tasty
Pretty easy to make this sauce that I always bought pre-made. Used regular pear and top sirloin.
Silas H.
September 24, 2023
Pretty good
This is a solid recipe and very easy to make. It is, however, quite salty if following exactly. I would get rid of the added salt (the soy sauce has plenty), and season with table salt if desired after serving.