This spicy pork bulgogi recipe is a rich, sweetened, pan-fried, and tender piece of pork with loads of green and white onion. It will make you feel like you’re dining at a Korean BBQ restaurant, even though you’re home.
What is bulgogi? Background
Bulgogi, a Korean traditional dish, is made from grilled, marinated meats (mostly beef, pork or chicken). It can also be translated as “fire meat” since it’s cooked over a grill or barbecue. It originated from grilled, boneless beef and was first made during the Goguryeo period (37 BCE-668 CE).
This classic Korean dish can be made at home or in many Korean restaurants, including Korean BBQ and BCD Tofu House. Dwaeji Bulgogi, a spicy version of pork bulgogi recipe, is super easy to prepare and cook on the stovetop.
Ingredients for spicy pork bulgogi marinade
Traditional beef bulgogi is prepared with a soy-based marinade. However, dwaeji bulgogi, or spicy pork bulgogi, uses a Korean-based chili pepper flakes/powder called gochugaru and a chile paste called gochujang.
This recipe is mildly spiced. If you prefer a stronger kick, you can add more of either one of the ingredients. And don’t forget about to taste the marinade. These ingredients can become more spicy as you add them so be careful.
For the rest of ingredients, I added Korean Pear and Rice Syrup for sweetness, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil for flavor.
Use pork bulgogi to cut meat
For this recipe, I prefer pork shoulder/butt and pork belly as the cuts of meat. Because you want to have a good balance of fattiness and spicy flavor, I wouldn’t recommend tenderloin.
My favorite Korean restaurant serves spicy pork bulgogi in thin slices. I like this texture because it is easier to eat with rice paper. You can cut your pork to any thickness you like, but I would not recommend going beyond 1/4 inch. The marinade will work faster if the cuts are thinner than 1/4 inch.
How to make Korean pork bulgogi recipe
While you make the spicy pork bulgogi, place your sliced pork, green and yellow onions in large bowl. Mix all the wet ingredients together in a bowl and then mix it. Because the gochujang and rice syrup are slightly thicker, I make sure that all liquids are thoroughly combined before adding them to the food processor.
Next, add the Korean pears, garlic ginger, ginger, black pepper and other liquid ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse it until it becomes a paste. You can taste the marinade and adjust the spice levels if needed.
Mix the sauce with the meat in a bowl. Use your hands or tongs to combine the ingredients. Because this is a quick marinade, you need to ensure that you get every nook and cranny of the meat. This dish should be marinated for at least one hour or more in the refrigerator.
You can either grill or heat the spicy pork bulgogi on the stove. This is a great way to pan-fry it on my cast iron stove grill. It’s quick and easy, and tastes just like the Korean BBQ.
Storage and serving
There are many ways to enjoy spicy pork bulgogi recipe. You can pair it with a lot of different foods. It’s traditionally served with various side dishes, such as Korean potato salad or japchae. Rice paper, Korean purple rice, lettuce and kimchi are all good options. It can also be eaten w/ white rice. Recently, I have seen it at many fusion restaurants. They offer it in burritos or tacos.
Extra spicy pork bulgogi can be saved by placing it in an airtight container and storing it in the refrigerator. You can keep it in the refrigerator for three days, or you can heat it up in the microwave.
Authentic Korean Spicy Pork Bulgogi Recipe
- Food processor or blender
- Cast iron or saute pan
- 907g (32 oz pork shoulder and/or belly)
- 200g (1 medium) yellow onions julienned
- 23g (2 tbsps) vegetable oil
- 52 g (4 stalks), green onions, cut into 3-inch pieces
- Combine the soy sauce and gochujang, rice syrup, gochugaru (or gochugaru), mirin, sesame oils, and black pepper in a bowl. Mix all things together until it is completely dissolved.
- Add the whisked liquid marinade ingredients to the bowl along with the pear, garlic and ginger to a food processor
- The food processor should be pulsed 10-15 times until all ingredients are combined into a liquid. You can taste test the marinade, and adjust it if necessary. NOTE: This recipe has a mild spice level. You can adjust it after tasting. You can add more gochugaru or gochujang to make it more spicy. To add more sweetness, you can add more rice syrup. You can also add more soy sauce to increase the saltiness.
- Add the pork slices, yellow onions, and green onions to a large bowl. Use your hands or tongs to coat all the meat with the marinade.
- Place the marinated meat in an airtight container. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Place the meat in a container and let it cool on the counter for at least 20 minutes.
- Add the vegetable oil to a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Continue to stir the meat until it is well coated.
- My 12" cast iron skillet only held 1/3 lb of meat at one time. This allowed the meat to brown slightly towards the end. Before you cook the next batch, it is possible to have to clean or scrape the pan of any burned bits.
- Take out of the pan immediately and serve.