Bulgogi Marinade: Easy Korean BBQ Bliss for Meat Lovers Everywhere

Have you ever done something thinking it’s a great idea, only to realize later that it was, well… not? So there I was, eager to impress our new neighbors and create a warm, welcoming vibe (hello, New Yorker here trying to combat the unfriendly stereotype). I couldn’t resist bringing out the big guns, my beloved Beef Bulgogi recipe—or should we say, “fire meat?”

Oh, how invigorating it was to see their eyes light up at the array of ingredients, the kitchen filling with that mouth-watering aroma. Still, I didn’t anticipate the young fella taking the “fire meat” part a tad too literally. You could say we added a bit of extra spice to the menu that evening.

As beads of sweat trickled down his forehead, I panicked and offered the poor guy a glass of milk to cool the flames. Pro tip: do not offer milk to a lactose-intolerant individual in distress. It’s like trying to put out a fire with gasoline—needless to say, things got a little explosive (I wonder if they maintain a cautious distance when they see me in the hallway now).

But, hey, life’s full of teachable moments, right? So while I set on to concoct another rendezvous for us (hopefully with a safer dish), why don’t you guys have a go at this Bulgogi Marinade recipe? Keep close tabs on the spiciness, though; you never know when you’ll have to dial it down a notch!


  1. Soy sauce – A classic staple in Asian cuisine, it adds a salty, savory and umami-rich flavor to the marinade.

  2. Maple syrup – A natural sweetener that adds a touch of sweetness to the marinade.

  3. Sesame oil – A nutty and earthy flavor to the marinade, perfect for a savory dish.

  4. Pear – Balances out the flavors and tenderizes the meat.

  5. Green onions – A fresh and slightly spicy flavor, used for versatility in many dishes.

  6. Garlic – Essential for a strong and pungent aroma in the marinade.


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine ¼ cup of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, grated pear, 2 chopped green onions and 1 tablespoon of minced garlic. Mix well.
  2. Take the meat of your choice, whether it be steak, pork, or chicken and slice it into bite-size pieces, trimming away any excess fat.
  3. Add the meat to the marinade, making sure it is completely covered in the mixture. Marinate for a minimum of 2 hours, up to overnight. Keep in mind that marinating for longer than 2 days may result in an overpowering flavor.
  4. If you’re not ready to cook the meat yet, store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
  5. Once ready to cook, heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add the meat and marinade. Cook the meat until it’s to your liking, and reduce the remaining marinade into a thick and sweet bulgogi sauce to coat the meat.
  • If you’re feeling lazy and don’t want to slice the meat yourself, ask your butcher to do it for you or buy pre-sliced meat.
  • It is important to fully cover the meat with the marinade for the best results.

Serving Suggestions for Bulgogi Marinade

This Bulgogi Marinade is a must-try for all Asian cuisine lovers! With its tangy and sweet flavor, it will make any meat dish taste like a million bucks! Here are some serving suggestions that you can try:

  • Grilled Bulgogi Skewers: Slice your favorite cut of meat into bite-sized pieces, marinate it in the bulgogi sauce, and then thread it onto skewers with some veggies. Grill to perfection and enjoy!
  • Bulgogi Bowl: Cook some rice, add sliced meat that’s been marinated and pan-fried, and top with some veggies and a fried egg. Yum!
  • Bulgogi Tacos: Marinate some sliced meat, cook it until caramelized, and serve in warm tortillas with toppings like cheese, salsa, and guacamole.
  • Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps: Wrap marinated and cooked meat in lettuce leaves with some veggies and sauces for a low-carb and healthy option.
  • Bulgogi Sliders: Slice some mini buns, top with marinated and cooked meat, cheese, and some veggies. Perfect for a party!

In Korea, the word “bulgogi” literally means “fire meat.” So, when you make this dish, you’re literally cooking “fire meat.” How cool is that?!


What kind of meat should I use for the bulgogi marinade?

The meat you’re marinating will work best when sliced into bite-size pieces with fat trimmed away, especially if you’re using steak. For pork chops marinated in bulgogi sauce, you could leave them whole. But If you don’t want to cut the meat before cooking, you can either buy it pre-sliced or ask your butcher to slice it for you. Just make sure to really cover it with the marinade for best results. You want the meat to soak up all the flavors of the marinade!

How long should I marinate the meat for?

Marinate the meat for at least 2 hours, up to overnight. But don’t marinate for longer than 2 days.

Can I use a different sweetener than maple syrup?

Sure thing! Maple syrup gives the marinade a unique flavor, but if you’re looking for an alternative, honey or brown sugar would work just fine. Just keep in mind that the sweetness level and flavor profile may change slightly.

What can I do with the leftover marinade?

You can use the marinade to cook a sauce if you save it after marinating. Just add it to a skillet over medium-high heat with your protein and reduce it down into a sticky, sweet bulgogi sauce to coat the meat.

Is there a vegan alternative for the soy sauce?

Yes, there is a vegan alternative for soy sauce, you can use coconut aminos which have a similar flavor profile as soy sauce but it is gluten-free, soy-free, and less salty.

Is it ok to use pears that are overripe?

Absolutely, in fact, if the pear is overripe, it will break down faster and add a nice sweetness to the marinade. Just make sure to give it a good mash so it’s fully incorporated into the marinade.

Bulgogi Marinade

A bold and flavorful marinade made with high-quality ingredients that is perfect for adding depth of taste to meats like steak or pork chops.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Marinade
Cuisine Korean
Servings 1
Calories 511 kcal


  • 1 bowl for mixing marinade
  • 1 Blender or food processor


  • 1/4 cup high-quality soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons organic maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 medium-sized ripe pear
  • 2 medium-sized green onions
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • In a blender or food processor, combine the pear, green onions, garlic, and ginger. Blend until a smooth puree forms.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the pureed ingredients, soy sauce, sesame oil, maple syrup, gochujang, mirin, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and black pepper.
  • Cut the meat of your choice into bite-sized pieces and trim away any excess fat. Place the meat into the marinade, making sure to fully coat it.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the meat marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
  • When ready to cook, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the meat from the marinade and discard the remaining marinade. Cook the meat in the skillet until it reaches your desired level of doneness.


If you’re using steak, we recommend slicing it thinly for the best results.
For a thicker and sweeter sauce, you can reduce the marinade in a saucepan over medium heat until it reaches your desired consistency.
Experiment with different cuts of meat to see which ones work best with this marinade.


Calories: 511kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 14gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 2964mgPotassium: 624mgFiber: 2gSugar: 43gVitamin A: 99IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 50mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Bulgogi
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