Bulgalbi (Marinated Beef Steaks)

We made something  new called bulgalbi (barbecue beef steaks), which is a cross between the traditional kalbi (barbecue beef short ribs) and bulgogi (thinly sliced barbecue beef). This basically came about when I couldn’t find original beef short ribs needed for kalbi and instead saw a nice slab of meat (sirloin tip roast) on sale at at the grocery store. I couldn’t see why you couldn’t marinate this meat (after slicing it of course) as you would normal kalbi, so I did just that. Just like you would normal beef short ribs, I marinaded the strips of beef overnight and the pears did a great job tenderizing the meat. Although it’s not the most conventional way of coming up with a dish, I think it worked out well and served its purpose.

*FYI, the term bulgalbi doesn’t exist, but concocted out of direct translation from Korean to English: “bul” translates literally to fire or heat, while “galbi” means meat ribs.

Ingredients: Serves 6~8 people

  • 3 lb. beef sirloin tip (other cuts okay too)
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Asian pear, chopped (or Korean pear)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp juice of ginger (optional)


  1. Wash meat under cold water. Soak in water for 1 hour, drain. Stick in freezer for 15 minutes to harden; making slicing easier.
  2. In a food processor, add marinade ingredients including chopped onion and pear, puree finely. Pour into air-tight container with beef.
  3. Marinate beef at least 8 years or overnight for optimal taste.
  4. On a frying pan, cook over medium-high heat. They cook fairly fast, 4 or 5 minutes on each side or until slightly charred.
  5. Serve immediately when hot with rice and banchan (side dishes).

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