Bulgogi Jerky

By • June 13, 2013 • 67 Comments


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Author Notes: Once upon a time ago, packing for a road trip without a jerky of some sort was unthinkable. So prevalent was the salty sweet snack on these adventures, I had an almost Pavlovian salivating for the stuff the minute we hit the open road. It was, in fact, pretty much the only time we indulged in a large package of the sodium bomb treat.

But in more recent years I grew tired of the way I felt on such trips where a healthy meal is rarely achieved and any attempts at something raw and pure result in tasteless salads piled with fried croutons, cheese and tomatoes that make me want to cry. We've since worked hard to pack our own eats and better plan our destinations around places with promising provisions.

That said, I still love a good jerky and had always wanted to make my own. A sucker for the salty AND sweet, otherwise known as a "complete" snack, I decided to try making a bulgogi version. I dusted it with ground sesame, salt, and a bit of kochukaru for heat, but that is optional. And now I'm itchin' to go somewhere...
savorthis

Food52 Review: WHO: The same cook who had us slurping the sauce off edamame has done it again and this time, she’s taken her talents to the road.
WHAT: A sweet, salty, and spicy jerky that’s better than anything you’ll find at a roadside rest stop.
HOW: Marinate sliced beef in the refrigerator overnight, sprinkle with ground salt, pepper, and sesame seeds, and bake slow and low for 4 hours.
WHY WE LOVE IT: What snack could better satisfy a carload of hungry travelers than a batch of chewy, peppery jerky? With a little help from the Korean dish Bulgogi and a few wildcard ingredients (pear nectar, sake), this jerky achieves the perfect blend of sugar, salt, and spice. Plus, no crumbs!
A&M

Makes one road trip better

  • 2 pounds beef, top or bottom round
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup pear nectar
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 3/4 cups honey
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped (seeded if you wish)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons ginger, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • black pepper
  • kochukaru (optional)
  1. Place beef in freezer to firm up enough to slice very thinly (about 1/4"). Blend remaining ingredients except for salt, sesame seeds, black pepper, and kochukaru until smooth. Add beef to marinade stirring gently to make sure all is coated and marinate about 7 hours.
  2. Heat oven to 200º F. Drain beef, blot dry with paper towels and place on a rack on top of a baking sheet. Grind the salt and sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle (you can use a spice grinder, just be sure not to turn the mixture into a paste). Sprinkle over beef, then grind fresh black pepper and add chili if desired.
  3. Bake about four hours, rotating pans halfway through, until dried and jerky-like. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.

Comments (67) Questions (0)

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Toronto

4 months ago Chris Van Houten

Oooh just made this for a road trip I'm taking tomorrow, and it is absolutely wonderful! Thanks so much for the recipe. I'm not at all surprised it won the best road trip snack contest!

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4 months ago Lori

If I can't find pear nectar is there a substitute I could use?

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6 months ago Mike Swanger

I am always looking for new and inventive ways to make venison jerky. Assuming I trimmed all tallow off, I would assume this would work great. Do you agree?

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8 months ago Toni Kervina

Would mirin work in place of sake?

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8 months ago savorthis

I might choose a dry sherry instead since mirin is so sweet though you could start with a little less honey and try the marinade and see if it seems way too sweet. There is just something in booziness of sake or sherry that is a little different.

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8 months ago CARLYN

HOW LONG CAN I MARINADE THE BEEF PRIOR TO COOKING I KNOW THE RECIPE SAYS 7 HRS ....

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8 months ago savorthis

You can probably go a little longer, but I would not marinate it for too long because it might get too salty.

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8 months ago spanky

I Love Jerky but if it's tough and hard to chew , because of dentures I can't eat it , what do I need to do different to make this to where I can eat it?

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8 months ago savorthis

I trimmed the beef of any sinewy bits and cut it across the grain and it was quite tender.

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8 months ago Adam P.

This looks great! Question. How long will it keep when it's refrigerated? Thanks!

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8 months ago savorthis

Thank you! I have read all sorts of varying times for how long it will last, but according to stilltasty it will be fine in the refrigerator for 1-2 months.

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8 months ago livebythem

could a lazy and broke person just go to a korean mart and get bulgogi marinade and alter this recipe to avoid getting some of these ingredients? :D

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8 months ago savorthis

I'm sure that would work, though I'd look at the ingredient list as so many of those sauces have a lot of extra phooey in them. That said, I have purchased the actual raw and marinated bulgogi many times for a super fast and tasty dinner...

Stringio

9 months ago Bear Simmons

Kristy I looked over vegan Primal strips recipe and I am intrigued will give this mushroom jerky a try soon thanks

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9 months ago Kristy Morrill

http://www.thewickedgoodvegan...
All you vegans: YOU TOO can eat jerky! This is an awesome recipe. Try it!

Stringio

9 months ago Bear Simmons

Kristy that's what making your own jerky you can tweak it to your own personal tastes and will definitely try cherry juice in near future on wild turkey or venison thanks

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9 months ago Kristy Morrill

I have always made jerky from top round beef and from turkey breast. I have used blueberry juice and or cherry juice, which is probably every bit as good as your pear juice! I don't make it hot/spicy cause I am allergic to hot pepper :( but bet it is tasty.

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9 months ago savorthis

Blueberry! How interesting. I bet that is good on game meats as well.

Stringio

9 months ago Bear Simmons

made this recipe last weekend with a few of my own twists was awesome love the pear flavor and terryaki hint thanks savorthis

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9 months ago savorthis

So glad to hear it! And from a true professional!

Stringio

9 months ago blanka.n

I kind of love this. I really will try it soon.

Stringio

9 months ago Bear Simmons

hey AL why would a person whom loathe and detest something even view a recipe or make such a comment. Unless your one of those people that only knows how to complain.

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9 months ago Al Story

If you like jerky I guess you would like this. I loathe and detest jerky. So does my family

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9 months ago inpatskitchen

Congratulations savorthis! I just love a great jerky!

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9 months ago JanetFL

Congratulations!!!!!

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9 months ago savorthis

Thanks!

Stringio

9 months ago Bear Simmons

basics good meat beef roasts or game meat i.e. deer - elk- boar/ sliced 1/4+thick / marinate with apple cider or citrus juice 24+ hrs / with worchestershire - soy - liquid smoke - crushed garlic- blk and red pepper or cayenne / remove from marinade pat dry place on dehydrator racks - add dry rub i.e. pepper - season or flavored salt - touch or brown sugar - to kick it up more cayenne / dehydrate 12 hrs on med temp when ready jerky bends not breaks. I have 2 Excalibur dehydrators 9 racks each and has time and heating element 125-140 degrees low and slow have commercial meat slicer / have jerky going every other day sell at local farmers markets and to friends

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9 months ago savorthis

Sounds good! I'd love a dehydrator for veggies too but I think we are all full up on specialty appliances at the moment.

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9 months ago QueenSashy

Congratulations!!!!!!!

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9 months ago savorthis

Thank you!

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9 months ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Congratulations!! This sounds so delicious.

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9 months ago savorthis

Thanks!

Stringio

9 months ago Bear Simmons

what a great jerky recipe been making jerky for over 20 years can't wait to give it a try with venison

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9 months ago savorthis

Thank you! I'd love to know how you make jerky if you're willing to share.

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9 months ago GingerToastedSesame

If you can't find peach nectar, you can just take an Asian pear and just blend it and strain it or juice it. Or, you can use kiwi juice! My mom is Korean and said it's a common substitute, but be careful- the ability of kiwi juice to breakdown meat is amazing and can make it too tender and kind of mushy. So I would either reduce it or add it later on...

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9 months ago savorthis

That's good to know! I have seen kiwi in other Korean recipes but had no idea about their ability to break down meat. I had that exact problem with pineapple and tacos al pastor once. I knew better and should have added pineapple juice at the end, but ignored my smart self and ended up with very flavorful but mealy pork.

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9 months ago Jon

Wow....long time afficando of homemade jerky, will add & try this one. Thanks for a great blog from you & your team. Great recipies, keep-em coming.

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10 months ago anotherfoodieblogger

I MUST try this! Where can one buy pear nectar?

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10 months ago savorthis

I can find Kern's at Safeway, but Whole Foods also has pear juice. bulgogi traditionally uses grated Asian pear so that probably would work too.

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9 months ago Emma Wartzman

Pear juice works just fine (and is probably the easiest to find)!

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10 months ago Big Flavors

WOWZA this sounds fantastic!!

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10 months ago ChrisJS

This beef jerky recipe is SICK and by sick I mean awesome. I've been making jerky for around 5 years now along with my friends. I made this and spread it around the circle. Had to juice a pear and made it a bit more spicy, otherwise I followed the recipe. Everyone loved it, thanks for the recipe!

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10 months ago savorthis

That's great! I'm so glad you liked it and hope you'll post the recipes you've used as well.

Will

10 months ago William Widmaier

This jerky is delicious! No dehydrator is big plus, and I can't wait to play around with the spices!

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10 months ago savorthis

So glad you liked it! And I'd love to hear what other versions you try.

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10 months ago andrea lee

Beef jerky is the ultimate road tripping snack! I make it all the time with my dehydrator :)

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10 months ago Midge

Congrats savorthis! I can't wait to try this.

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10 months ago savorthis

Thanks- I hope you do!

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10 months ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Congratulations! This is such a great idea!

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10 months ago savorthis

Thank you!

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10 months ago JanetFL

Congratulations, savorthis! I never heard of jerky until we started coming to Colorado and have yet to try it. Because this is your recipe, I'll give it a go!

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10 months ago savorthis

Thanks Janet. It is funny because until I made this recipe I had no idea there were people who did NOT grow up on jerky!

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10 months ago JanetFL

I've always thought of it as an alien food group....

Moi_1

10 months ago QueenSashy

This is magnificent!

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10 months ago savorthis

Thanks! You know, I can't stop commenting on those chai ribs of yours and I think those flavors would be a fantastic jerky recipe too!

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10 months ago srcerer

I've always wanted to make jerky but have never gotten around to it - despite having a dehydrator on hand for several years. So I decided to give this a go. This pulled together easily. The marinade is exceptional and incredibly tasty. I'm now inspired to use it for our next grill. We used bottom round and it all turned out great - despite the fact I forgot to put it on a rack in our deck oven. I had to leave most of the cooking in the capable hands of my partner, who makes his living creating cured meats. It took longer than 4 hours here - it was exceptionally muggy that day. I didn't have Kochukaru but I used a fantastic chili from India on half the pieces to spark it up. It worked perfectly. I couldn't find Pear nectar so it was Pear juice for us. I fed this to a small group of artisan meat makers and it was a big hit! I've been having for snacks after breakfast and late afternoon. I would definitely take this on the road or better yet, on a long backpacking trip.

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10 months ago srcerer

Oooh I forgot to add - thanks for the great recipe savorthis!!!

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10 months ago vvvanessa

I was one of the lucky beneficiaries of srcerer's efforts. The jerky is delicious, the combination of flavors terrific. I would totally love to have this in my traveling snack kit!

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10 months ago savorthis

I'm so glad that you made it srcerer and, better yet, had another Food52er to try it too! And with such a respectable meat loving crew...



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10 months ago gingerroot

This looks great, savorthis! We grew up with jerky and although I have not eaten it in years, now I'm happy to have a recipe to try.

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10 months ago savorthis

I think people either grew up with it or not. Naturally in Colorado it's a staple so it never occurred to me it wasn't a mainstream snack. I hope you give it a go...I had not made it before and it's so much better than what you can buy since you have control over the cut of meat.

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10 months ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

We seriously make / pack / eat beef jerky for pretty much every trip we take - now we need to try this version!!

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10 months ago savorthis

Well now that I've tackled it, I'd love your version too!

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10 months ago EmilyC

I don't think I've ever tried beef jerky, or if I have, it was so long ago I don't remember! It's never appealed to me, but your version is making me reconsider. It looks and sounds really good!

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10 months ago savorthis

I'm stunned! Though I don't blame you- I suppose it might be an odd thing if you didn't grow up with it. I was trying to explain it to my daughter and ended up saying it was like really good steak flavored gum...though that is not really true when you make it yourself because you can pick good beef and make it without the odd chewy parts. My daughter loved it and promptly packed it for her school snack. You have to try it now just so you can say you did!

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10 months ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Try it Emily! It's fantastic! I am chomping some as I type this

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10 months ago EmilyC

Yep, I clearly need to try this and end my lifelong avoidance of jerky!