Serves 4 | start to finish: 2 hours minimum (active time: 30 minutes)
Korea, a country known for barbecue, knows how to do it right. Thinly sliced beef, tenderized in a sweet garlic marinade and seared or grilled over high heat all contribute to a balanced and intense flavor. Bulgogi, which translates to “fire meat,” is not necessarily spicy. Fire refers to the traditional grilling process. Using a cast-iron pan or griddle makes for decent browning, and a grill yields excellent results. American grills have wide gaps, so take care with small pieces of meat, or use a grill-top pan or a grill grate with narrower spacing.
Bulgogi most often tops a bowl of rice, or is used in the more elaborate bibimbap, but it also makes a filling for lettuce wraps called ssam.
1 pound high-quality steak, such as rib eye, sirloin, skirt, or tenderloin
1/2 Asian pear (or Bosc pear)
6 cloves garlic
1/2 small yellow onion
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 green onions, finely sliced
Place the steak in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to make it easier to slice thinly. Remove the beef and cut it into 1/4-inch slices at a diagonal to cut through the grain.
While the meat is chilling, place all remaining ingredients except the green onions in a blender, and run on high until puréed. Pour the mixture into a shallow bowl and add the meat slices and thinly sliced green onions, massaging the marinade into the beef. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Heat a grill, grill pan, or griddle to high heat. Remove the beef from the marinade and lightly shake off any excess liquid before arranging on the cooktop. Grill each side for 1 to 2 minutes, until the meat has browned.
Serve immediately with rice and an assortment of banchan, or use as a component for bibimbap.
gluten-free (if using tamari) ● dairy-free