I was provided beef from Jones Creek Beef for this post. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
One of my favorite restaurants in Germany was a little Korean place my mom would take us too. I loved the food and I thought it wasn’t something I would ever be able to recreate at home. Flash forward to my college years and in an introductory cooking class, we made a Korean beef bulgogi recipe. I was so amazed at how delicious and easy the recipe was. I’ve made many versions of Korean beef bulgogi since then, but this one is by far my favorite.
This recipe does have a unique ingredient in it. A quick story. When I had my second baby, I was so excited to make homemade baby food. A good friend gave me tons of pears from her tree and I carefully cooked, pureed and froze them into individual portions. Well, unlike my son, my little girl refused to eat pureed food. She went straight to table food. So I was left with a bunch of pureed pears (which were delicious by the way!). Many bulgogi recipes call for pureed pear so I started using the baby food in my recipes. Now that I no longer have any of that baby food left, I still like to buy a couple of jars of pureed pears every now and then to use in this recipe. You can also substitute a fresh pear pureed in a food processor if you prefer 🙂
Anyhow, back to the important part-the beef. In order to make beef bulgogi, you want a tender prime cut of meat. I like to use ribeye steaks. The grass-fed ribeye steaks from Jones Creek beef were so tender and had a great marbling and fat content. I could tell a difference in the tenderness when I was slicing them. Besides the meat tasting way better, it also has tons of added benefits- lower in total fat, and higher in B vitamins and minerals to name a few. You can check out all of the benefits on their website. You can purchase Jones Creek beef at your local Walmart. If you’ve never had beef bulgogi and you’re wondering what it taste like, it’s probably best described as being savory but also sweet. My two kids really enjoy the flavors and gobble it up over rice. After I made the bulgogi, my husband commented on how tender the meat was. I have to agree that the meat was super tender.
My other favorite part of the meal from the Korean restaurant was the cucumber kimchi. I haven’t tried making my own kimchi at home , but these quick pickled cucumber and carrots only take a few minutes to put together and make the perfect side for the beef. Plus, I’m pretty sure it’s easier to make than kimchi. If you make the beef, I recommend you try the pickled cucumber with it.
Korean Beef Bulgogi
2 Jones Creek beef ribeyes
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 jar pear baby food
3 green onions
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
4 garlic cloves, minced*
In a gallon ziplock bag, add the soy sauce, black pepper, pureed pear, chopped green onions, sugar, sesame oil, sesame seeds and garlic. Seal the bag and mix together. Slice the two ribeye steaks 1/4 inch thick against the grain. Add to the ziplock bag and allow to marinate for at least one hour but preferably overnight. In a large frying pan, add the entire bag of meat and marinade. Cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, until the meat is to your desired doneness. I like to transfer the meat to a large serving bowl with all the sauce and then take a few pieces out and allow them to brown up a little more by themselves. This step is optional. The sauce tastes great spooned over the rice. Garnish with additional sesame seeds and green onion if desired.
Quick Pickled Cucumbers and Carrots
1 cucumber sliced (and peeled if desired)
3 garlic cloves, minced*
1 carrot shredded (My peeler has an attachment on the other side that shreds the carrots)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger*
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
3 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup water
In a pint mason jar, add the rice vinegar, salt, ginger, sugar, red pepper flakes and garlic and stir to combine. Add the cucumber and carrots pressing them down into the liquid. Add the water to just barely cover the cucumber and carrots. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Serve with the beef bulgogi.
*Fresh ginger and garlic are a must for this recipe. I love to use powdered garlic in other recipes, but it won’t taste the same in this one. Buy a piece of ginger, peel off the outside skin and keep it in the freezer. Then you will always have it on hand and it’s SO much easier to grate frozen. I use a small hole hand held grater like this ONE. I also use that grater for my garlic rather then try to mince it.