Korean BBQ-style beef

Korean BBQ-style beef

I call this Korean BBQ-style because, in my opinion, to have the real Korean BBQ experience, you have to use short rib (Kalbi). I'm not actually sure what cut of beef I am using here because it was labeled "sandwich steak." But, it looked nice and thin and figured it would marinate nicely in a Korean BBQ marinade. Meat that has been flavored this way is always a crowd-pleaser, whether it's a crowd of adults or a crowd of kids.

It seems that all Korean families have their own version of this marinade. I think it's not unlike marinara sauce in the Italian-American culture where everyone's got their own little secret thing to make their version the best. There's nothing complicated about the ingredients here. The base of the marinade is soy sauce and sugar. Other common-denominator ingredients that appear in almost all versions of this recipe are garlic, ginger and sesame oil. You often see scallions or onions in the mix as well. Also, it's common to find a fruit component in the marinade. That fruit is usually Asian pear. I've also seen kiwi fruit. I believe the purpose of the fruit is to help tenderize the meat but I could be wrong. I've even heard of wacky ingredients such as cola or 7-up being used in the marinade.

The version I made is pretty basic. I did use a pear but it was a bartlett pear. That's the only pear that was in the house, so, I used it. I only marinated the steaks for 2 hours. Ideally, you'd want to marinate over night. And although you could cook it indoors, in a pan or under the broiler, it would be a shame not to cook it on the highest of heat on your grill. Also, feel free to substitute any cut of beef that you would like. Just make sure it's cut relatively thin, no more than a quarter-inch thick.


Ingredients: 2 lbs thinly sliced beef, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 TB sugar, 1 grated or minced clove of garlic, 1 tsp grated or minced ginger, 1 grated pear, 1 TB toasted sesame oil

  1. Combine all ingredients, except beef, in a bowl until the sugar has dissolved and ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  2. In a large bowl or a plastic bag, combine the marinade and the beef and mix thoroughly until all of the beef is well coated with the marinade.
  3. Marinate for at least 2 hours, but overnight is best.
  4. Preheat your grill until it's super-hot.
  5. Grill the beef over high-heat until just charred on both sides.
  6. Let it rest for a minute then eat!