Korean Beef Kabobs (Bulgogi)
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Korean beef kabobs (beef bulgogi) simple marinated steak made into kabobs with onions, peppers, and pineapple. Korean BBQ skewers are easy and delicious!
Amazingly tender, flavorful, and grilled.
It’s all right here in this simple recipe for Korean beef kabobs. And as if Korean beef aka bulgogi wasn’t good enough (more like filling enough) we’re adding onions, peppers, and pineapple and putting it all on a skewer because friends, food that’s put onto a skewer and grilled make me a little weak in the knees. These beef kabobs healthy,tasty, and a complete meal. But but but since it’s on a skewer, you could certainly make it into an appetizer too at your next shindig. Trust me, you will be the talk of the town.
This is the newest addition to our favorite beef dinner recipes. I mean where have Korean beef kabobs been all my life? Up until a couple of weeks ago, these were just a teeny tiny idea bubble inside my head. But so much so that I could almost TASTE how delicious these would be if they were real. But as my favorite professor would say, “of course it is happening inside you head, but why on earth should that mean that it’s not real”. And it is! It’s a reality. A fine mashup between traditional steakhouse style beef skewers given a twist with Korean BBQ steak inspired flavor. And yes, I totally just quoted Dumbledore.
This is real life food.
This is quick, easy, and delicious enough to entertain with.
So what is bulgogi you ask, and why are we putting it on these Korean Beef Kabobs? Bulgogi is literally translated as ‘fire meat’. Don’t be impressed, it’s all thanks to Wikipedia. Bulgogi is generally just meat that has been marinated and grilled. Traditionally sliced sirloin is used, though in our case we’re using cubed sirloin so that everything is the same size on our skewers, along with flavors like soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and onions.
Usually the onions act as a meat tenderizer but while doing research (um.. really though it was more like binge watching youtube videos for sheer entertainment during lunchtime), I learned from here that pears act as a great tenderizer for beef bulgogi. I already use pineapple juice to make my steak fajitas more tender and delicious so this my friends was a no-brainer.
It all starts with garlic, ginger, 1/2 a small onion, and a small pear. Though asian pears are more commonly used, my grocery store had a special on bartlett pears and that’s what I used. These are easier to find and I found that they tenderized the steak beautifully. Also, I used minced garlic because as i’m sure i’ve mentioned before, I buy the minced stuff in a ginormous jar from Costco. If you’re more of a purist, you can swap out the minced garlic for garlic cloves.
Now about that sirloin steak. My grocery store doesn’t sell the sirloin steak cut into cubes so I bought it in a large piece and cut it into cubes myself. You can also ask the butcher at the grocery store to do this for you if you want to make sure you get a nice tender steak, cut DOES matter. It doesn’t matter how much you tenderize the meat, if it isn’t cut properly you’ll never be able to take it to it’s full tasty potential.
Okay, so once you’ve made your tenderizer concoction, add a little soy sauce, brown sugar, cut up scallions, and sesame oil into a bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the beef and toss until it’s evenly coated. Now just cover it up and let it marinade for a bit until it’s all nice and tender then all that’s left it putting it on a stick and grilling up these beef kabobs. A note on the sesame oil, I usually keep toasted sesame oil on hand, I prefer the bolder flavor of the toasted version, this is entirely up to you, either will do the trick.
Grilling korean beef kabobs takes no time at all. And obvi you can grill them to your liking. Rare, medium or well done. I prefer that perfect spot between medium and well and I love a little char on my veggies so the timing will definitely vary. Please the palette.
Now sprinkle on pinch of toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions because we all eat with our eyes first and whatever you do, have everything ready to go because nothing tastes as wonderful as a warm kabob skewer straight from the grill.
Serving suggestions! Almost forgot. I’m semi-ish doing this low carb thing so I enjoyed them with a small serving of brown rice for dinner and the following day they became bulgogi lettuce wraps with leftover bib lettuce leaves. But steamed cauliflower rice, quinoa, farro, white rice, brown rice, egg noodles, and zoodles are all good platforms for these korean bbq kabobs.
Friends. You NEED this.
You TOTALLY do.
- 1 small unripe pear (I used a bartlett)
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic (or 6 cloves)
- 1 inch piece of ginger, sliced or cubed
- 1/2 small yellow or white onion
korean beef kabobs:
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce (see note)
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak cut into 1- 1 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 scallions, cut into large pieces
- 2 bell peppers, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 medium onion, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 1/2 cups pineapples, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
- GARNISH: toasted sesame seeds + sliced scallions
- If using wooden skewers, soak 6 skewers in water in a 9x13 baking dish so that they are completely submerged for at least 30 minutes and ideally for 1 1/2 hours.
- TENDERIZER: in a food processor, combine the ingredients for the tenderizer and pulse until a thick paste forms. Set aside.
- KOREAN BEEF KABOBS: in a large bowl combine the soy sauce, light brown sugar, and sesame oil and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Add the tenderizer and stir to combine. Add in the scallions along with the diced sirloin steak and stir so the meat is covered with the prepared marinade. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 1/2 hours.
- GRILLING: Skewer the bell peppers, onions, pineapple, and cubed sirloin onto the prepared skewers in whichever order you prefer. I used about 3-4 cubes of steak per skewer alternating with the veggies/pineapple. Heat an indoor/outdoor grill for several minutes and grill to desired doneness, or for about 8-10 minutes for medium-well. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions before serving.
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