From Joanna Gaines’s Magnolia Table cookbook: "Mom’s bulgogi, though, is more of an American-Korean hybrid, much sweeter than traditional bulgogi, and she serves it on a bed of white rice. Mom has us over once a month and this is what she always makes. It’s my kids’ very favorite food in the world, so I knew I had to include it in this book.... We’ve never had Mom’s bulgogi with anything other than her cucumber kimchi salad, which has a clean, fresh flavor that perfectly complements the sweet barbecued beef."
packed light brown sugar (if your tastes run less sweet, start with half and adjust up/down according to taste)
1 1/2 cups
sparkling dessert wine, such as Banfi Rosa Regale, or sparkling grape juice
green onions (light and dark green parts), chopped, plus 1/4 cup sliced for serving
garlic cloves, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
4 to 5 pounds
beef tenderloin, rib-eye, top sirloin, or sirloin steak, thinly sliced (see Note)
Cucumber Kimchi Salad
English cucumbers, peeled if desired, cut into ½-inch dice
green onions (light and dark green parts), thinly sliced on the diagonal
garlic cloves, minced
1 to 2 teaspoons
gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes; see Tip)
1/2 to 1 teaspoons
kosher salt, to taste
Steamed white rice
1 to 2 tablespoons
thinly sliced green onion (light and dark green parts) as needed, for garnish
sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish
In This Recipe
Marinate the bulgogi: In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, soy sauce, wine, sesame oil, green onions, garlic, and pepper until well combined. Add the beef and coat it completely in marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 5 hours.
To make the cucumber kimchi salad: In a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers, green onions, garlic, gochugaru, sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, and salt to taste and stir gently. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Prepare a hot grill. If the pieces of beef are so small that they may fall through the grates, use a grilling skillet or place a sheet of foil on the grill.
Grill the beef on both sides until medium-well, 3 to 5 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking. Don’t crowd the skillet or foil, so do this in batches if necessary. As you finish each batch, transfer it to a serving platter and continue with the remaining beef.
Serve the bulgogi on top of steamed rice. Garnish with green onion and toasted sesame seeds and spoon the cucumber kimchi salad alongside.
Store the leftover bulgogi and cucumber kimchi salad in separate covered containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
NOTE: My mom usually has the butcher slice the beef for this dish when she buys it. If you live near a Korean market, they often sell packages of sliced rib-eye or top sirloin; sometimes they’re even marked specifically for bulgogi. If you buy big pieces to cut yourself, freeze the meat for about 30 minutes before cutting so that it’s easier to slice thinly and cut against the grain.
TIP: Gochugaru, or Korean red pepper, is commonly used in kimchi. It adds precisely the right amount of heat and unique flavor to the cucumber salad. Authentic Korean brands are readily available at Asian grocery stores or online, and the McCormick spice company packages it as well.