Korean Soy-Sesame Beef


Bulgogi is a traditional recipe for Korean barbecued beef, which combines thin cuts of meat and a complex marinade for tasty results.

Korean Soy-Sesame Beef
Photo: Greg DuPree
Hands On Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 5 mins
8 serves

The marinade combines pear nectar, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and Asian chili-garlic sauce. Pro tip: super thin slices of the sirloin are easy to achieve by briefly freezing the raw steaks before slicing.


  • ½ cup pear nectar

  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed

  • 1 2-in. piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

  • ½ cup soy sauce or tamari

  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar

  • ¼ cup toasted sesame oil

  • ¼ cup Asian chili-garlic sauce, such as Huy Fong

  • 5 pounds sirloin steak, thinly sliced

  • ¼ cup canola oil, divided

  • Sliced scallions, sesame seeds, and cooked rice or lettuce cups, for serving


  1. Process nectar, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and chili-garlic sauce in a blender until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour into a large ziplock bag. Add beef; seal bag and turn to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes or refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add a quarter of beef; spread in a single layer. Cook, flipping once, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter. Repeat, in batches, with remaining 3 tablespoons canola oil and beef. (Discard leftover marinade.) Top with scallions and sesame seeds. Serve with rice or lettuce cups.

Chef's Notes

Storing and reheating: Freeze cooked beef in ziplock bags for up to 1 month. To thaw, run bag under warm water until mixture comes loose. Transfer beef to a skillet and add 2 to 3 tablespoons water. Gently heat over medium, stirring occasionally, until warmed through.

Related Articles