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A Korean inspired recipe of marinated pork tenderloin. Easy, quick, and loaded with bold flavors this Korean Bulgogi Pork is one of Korea’s most beloved meat dishes – and it’s soon to be yours too!
It’s been quite a few years now since I was introduced to the sophisticated cuisine, that is Korean. I really love it and although I only know a handful of hugely popular Korean dishes – I have to say that this bulgogi recipe is definitely one of my favourites. You really don’t see enough of these delicious flavors in Western cuisine!
Thin slices of spicy marinated pork, is exactly what I had imagined authentic Korean barbecue to be—a perfectly tender and flavorful pork with a unique and bold spiciness! And while I am always willing to experiment with spicy food, it’s definitely my husband that always appreciates me keeping on top of my creative spicy recipes!
What Is Bulgogi?
Bulgogi, literally means “fire meat”. It is a “gui” (meaning grilled dish) made of thin, marinated slices of beef or pork grilled on a barbecue or on a stove-top. Commonly, the main ingredient is meat: beef, pork, or chicken. But occasionally the dish can include vegetables other vegetarian ingredients, making it pretty versatile.
- Pork – I’m using 1 pound of pork tenderloin today, cut into very thin slices – you’re welcome to use other options of meat as well such as beef or chicken!
- Garlic – 3 fresh cloves. If you can’t find fresh cloves remember the golden rule: 1 1/2 teaspoons of jarred garlic is equal to 1 fresh clove.
- Ginger – Fresh ginger, please!
- Soy sauce – I always like to use low sodium options.
- Red chili flakes – To give us some heat!
- Pear – Grated.
- Sesame oil – This is such a star ingredient in Korean dishes – you should always have some in your pantry!
- Brown Sugar – For some sweetness in the marinade.
- Vegetable oil – I’m using vegetable oil over the usual olive oil as it is better to cook with over higher temperatures of heat.
- Onion – Chopped green onion for garnish – this is always optional.
How To Make Korean Bulgogi Pork
- Prepare the pork: Cut the pork tenderloin into thin slices and place into a ziploc bag; set aside.
- Create marinade: In a bowl whisk together the garlic, ginger, pear, soy sauce, red chili flakes, sesame oil and brown sugar. Once it is well incorporated, pour into the ziploc bag over the sliced pork. Seal the bag and give it a little shake to ensure the meat is being covered with the marinade. Let the pork marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- In a large skillet: Heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add half of the sliced pork to the skillet and arrange it to create the first layer. Don’t touch the meat and let it cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until it starts to turn brown or char. Remove from skillet and place into a bowl; set aside. Add remaining vegetable oil, sliced pork tenderloin, and marinade and repeat as above.
- Serve: Remove from heat and serve over rice or noodles and garnish with chopped green onion.
How To Serve
If you’re not into the noodles or rice options and are looking for something a little more healthy, here are some suggestions:
- If you’re looking for a healthier option you can serve bulgogi pork over a salad of your choice, or serve in a lettuce wrap.
- Cauliflower is also a great alternative to rice and creating noodles from zucchini – aka “zoodles“, may also float your boat!
- You can also add a number of different vegetables to your dish, such as bell peppers, mushrooms, and broccoli.
Tips and Tricks
- Marinate! Marinating meat is so essential in these types of dishes – the longer you marinate the more flavor your meat will have. For this dish marinating anywhere from 30 minutes up to 8 hours will maximize the flavor!
- You can grill it. You don’t have to cook this meat inside in a skillet – you are more than welcome to put it on the barbecue and put your grilling skills to the test! Throw some oil onto the grill and cook the sliced pork for about a minute on each side or until brown or slightly charred.
- Try other meats! If you’re not interested in using pork, you can use other meats such as beef – a flank steak would work great. Or you can use chicken – of the thigh variety, as well!
- Add more heat! Korean cuisine loves it’s gochugaru! A specific Korean red chili pepper flake powder, is a spicy little treat you’re more than welcome to add to your dish if you want more heat! But be warned, we are talking serious heat!
Seal your leftover bulgogi pork in an airtight container and it’ll last in the fridge for 3 – 4 days. To extend the shelf life, put it in the freezer in the same sealed container or in freezer bags and it’ll last up to 4 months.
More International Cuisines To Try:
- Easy Chicken Paprikash
- Korean BBQ Chicken
- Spicy Thai Chicken and Veggie Noodles
- Pad Thai
- Korean BBQ Ribs
- Instant Pot Butter Chicken
- Spicy Brazilian Coconut Chicken
- Asian Style Pepper Steak
Looking for more recipes? Follow on…
Korean Bulgogi Pork
- Prepare the pork tenderloin by cutting it into very thin slices. Place the meat in a ziploc bag. Set aside.
- In a bowl add the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, chili flakes, pear, sesame oil and brown sugar. Whisk everything together well. Pour the marinade over the pork, close the ziploc bag and shake it around a bit to make sure that the all the pork meat is covered in the marinade. Let it marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
- Add 1 tbsp of the vegetable oil to a large skillet and heat it over medium high heat. Add half of the meat to the skillet and arrange it so that it’s in a single layer. Cook it for about 3 minutes without touching the meat, or until the meat starts to brown, almost char, then turn it and cook for another 3 minutes until it’s browned on both sides. Remove from skillet to a bowl and set aside.
- Add the remaining tbsp of vegetable oil and remaining meat along with remaining marinade. Repeat cooking the same as above.
- Serve over cooked rice or noodles and garnish with chopped green onions.
- Place the tenderloin in the freezer for 10 minutes if you’re having trouble getting thin slices.
- You can cut down on the amount of red pepper flakes if you don’t want it to be too spicy.
- You can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs or even beef such as a flank steak.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit