Citizens, the delicious main course of Korean Bulgogi is normally associated with beef short ribs, but it can also be made in a fantastic pork variant as well that TFD is especially fond of.
Bulgogi (불고기]), literally “fire meat”, is a gui (구이; Korean-style grilled or roasted dish) made of thin, marinated slices of beef or pork grilled on a barbecue or on a stove-top griddle.
It is also often stir-fried in a pan in home cooking. Sirloin, rib eye or brisket are frequently used cuts of beef for the dish. The dish originated from northern areas of the Korean Peninsula, but is a very popular dish in South Korea where it can be found anywhere from upscale restaurants to local supermarkets as pan-ready kits.
Bulgogi came from the Korean word bul-gogi (불고기), consisting of bul (“fire”) and gogi (“meat”). The compound word is derived from the Pyongan dialect, as the dish itself is a delicacy of Pyongan Province, North Korea.
After the liberation of the Korean Peninsula from Japanese forced occupation in 1945, the dish became popular in Seoul and other parts of South Korea, by refugees from Pyongan. It was then listed in the 1947 edition of the Dictionary of the Korean Language, as meat grilled directly over a charcoal fire.
In the Standard Korean Language Dictionary published by the National Institute of Korean Language, the word is listed as meat such as beef that is thinly sliced, marinated, and grilled over the fire.
The word is also included in English-language dictionaries such as Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Oxford Dictionary of English. Merriam-Webster dated the word’s appearance in the American English lexicon at 1961.
Bulgogi is believed to have originated during the Goguryeo era (37 BCE–668 CE), when it was originally called maekjeok (맥적, 貊炙), with the beef being grilled on a skewer. It was called neobiani (너비아니), meaning “thinly spread” meat, during the Joseon Dynasty and was traditionally prepared especially for the wealthy and the nobility.
In the medieval Korean history book Donggooksesi (동국세시), bulgogi is recorded under the name yeomjeok (염적), which means ‘fire meat’. It was grilled barbecue-style on a hwaro grill on skewers, in pieces approximately 0.5 cm thick. Although it is no longer cooked skewered, this original type of bulgogi is today called bulgogi sanjeok (불고기 산적).
Bulgogi is typically made from thin slices of sirloin or other prime cuts of beef. Ribeye is also commonly used due to its tenderness and easy to cut complexion. In addition to beef, chicken and pork bulgogi are also one of the most common types of variations used to prepare the dish.
Pork belly, or samyeopsal in Korean, is a popular cut for pork bulgogi. Much like the ribeye, it is tender and fatty which can give the meat a better taste.
Before cooking, the meat is marinated to enhance its flavor and tenderness with a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, ground black pepper, and other ingredients such as scallions, ginger, onions or mushrooms, especially white button mushrooms or matsutake.
In most cases when cooking Bulgogi, these are common ingredients. However, the ingredients used to marinate the meat can vary from chef to chef and even from family to family depending on one’s preferences and traditions.
Pureed pears, pineapple, kiwi, and onions are often used as tenderizers. Sugar or other types of sweeteners such as Coca-Cola may sometimes also be used to add a sweeter taste. The length of time in which the meat is left to marinate also varies depending on preferences.
Generally, bulgogi meat is left to marinate for less than an hour but many top chefs will even leave it overnight for the best taste. Sometimes, cellophane noodles are added to the dish, which varies by the region and specific recipe.
Meaty, spicy and savory yet light, this is an easy and delicious recipe that can serve as a great introduction to the glorious Korean cuisine scene! 🙂 I would love this as part of a multi-course Korean feast, which to my taste would best include some japchae!
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
✉ RECEIVE NEW POST UPDATES BY EMAIL!
Citizens, you have probably noticed we don’t use ads here on TFD.
YOUR support is what keeps the lights on – I can no longer afford to absorb the nearly $1000 per month it costs to keep the site running smoothly, including marketing expenses, etc.
You can make a difference!
Please consider making a one-time donation to help keep the site live and the posts coming – click here to PayPal Me a tip!
You can also show your support by listening to our podcasts, liking them, and sharing as you see fit – try them out here.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?