Korean BBQ is such a fun meal out, especially if can find a place that has the individual grills in each table. You just pick out your proteins and vegetables, and then grill them over flames right at your own table! (I can't imagine what those restaurants' insurance bill must be.)
My favorite dish is bulgogi — savory and slightly spicy grilled beef. The flavors are intense and completely addicting. Turns out you can get that same Korean barbecue flavor by marinating a thin steak overnight and grilling it at home.
The list of ingredients for the marinade might look extensive, but most of the ingredients are basic. The one exception is a slightly spicy Korean chili paste called gochujang. It's really the most important piece of the puzzle, so it's worth hunting it down at an Asian market.
After you pulse the marinade ingredients together in a food processor, scoop out about 1/2 cup of the marinade and set it aside. This extra is for drizzling over the steak once it's cooked — the finishing touch!
The rest of the marinade goes straight on your steak. Cover the steak on all sides and store it in an airtight container overnight.
Bulgogi is typically thinly sliced before being grilled, but here, I decided to grill it whole to keep things really easy on myself — and avoid any precious slices of steak from falling through the grates!
Grill the steak over medium-high heat. Depending on the thickness and cut of your steak, it'll take 6 to 8 minutes per side. You are shooting for a medium rare steak and a meat thermometer should register 130 to 135°F in the thickest portion of the steak.
Slice the steak thinly and serve it with simple garnishes. I chose to serve it on jasmine rice with some kimchi, fresh cucumber, and fresh cilantro.
This steak has amazing flavor and is definitely worth the work. Plan ahead a day and give it a shot!
Korean Bulgogi-Style Grilled Steak
1/4 cup gochujang Korean chili paste
3 cloves garlic
1-inch fresh ginger
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/2 cup neutral oil
3 scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro
2 pounds flank steak or skirt steak
Cucumber, sliced thin
In a food processor, combine the gochujang, garlic, ginger, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper, oil, scallions, and cilantro. Pulse a few times until the marinade is combined and forms a very smooth sauce.
Pour about 1/2 cup of the marinade into a separate container and refrigerate it for later. Put the steak in a shallow dish, and pour the rest of your marinade over the steak. Make sure the marinade covers the entire surface of the steak, top and bottom. Let it marinate in the fridge overnight.
When you're ready to cook, preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Grill the steak for 6 to 8 minutes per side, depending on thickness, until the steak is cooked medium-rare. It should reach an internal temperature of 130 to 135°F. in the thickest part of the steak.
Remove the steak from the grill, tent it with foil, and let it rest for 3 to 4 minutes.
Slice the steak into thin pieces across the grain and serve over cooked rice. Garnish with kimchi, fresh cucumbers, cilantro, and a drizzle of reserved sauce.
- Gochujang is available in most Asian markets, as well as in the international section of some large grocery stores, and on Amazon. If you can't find it, you can substitute chili garlic sauce. If you make that substitution, use just 3 tablespoons of sauce in the recipe as chili garlic sauce is spicier.
(Image credits: Nick Evans)