Legend has it that bulgogi is thousands of years old, dating back to the Goguryeo era in Korea. This is around the time the words maekjeok and neobiani were beginning to be used to describe the dish, which dates back to the Joseon Dynasty. During that time, bulgogi was only served to royalty and members of the nobility. The original method for cooking Korean barbecue involved skewers. Today, skewers are no longer used when preparing bulgogi, and it’s referred to by some as bulgogi sanjeok. Plus, it’s no longer reserved for members of high society, and it’s a staple Korean food. Instead, every person can enjoy this savory, spicey, and somewhat sweet dish. Cooking bulgogi has also evolved, and the dish can be prepared over a grill or in a cast iron pan.
Cooking with Bulgogi Seasoning
The most important aspect of a good Korean BBQ recipe is the bulgogi seasoning. It’s important to create a marinade where the beef, pork, or chicken can rest overnight. Additional ingredients required to make bulgogi include gochujang, which is a fermented chili paste, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and sesame oil.
Another important aspect of preparing bulgogi is how the meat is sliced. You may be able to find pre-sliced neobiani at a Korean grocer, but if you have to slice it yourself, make sure you choose a select cut, like a ribeye or fillet. Before beginning, tenderize the meat. Then, wrap each cut in cling wrap and partially freeze them for roughly 2 hours on a baking sheet. Freezing times vary based on thickness of cut. Using a sharp knife, you should be able to cut smoothly through each piece. Each slice should be ⅛ of an inch thick. Any thicker, and the meat will not be as tender when it’s cooked. Once the meat is sliced, it can be added into the marinade. This dish is best served with Korean rice and fermented cabbage, also called kimchi.