Recipes Main Courses Beef and Veal Korean Barbecued Beef
Korean Barbecued Beef

Korean Barbecued Beef

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6
Korean cooks slice beef for grilling very thinly to allow for quick marinating and only the briefest cooking. A sharp chef's knife is key to slicing the meat sufficiently thin. For easier slicing, first place the beef in the freezer just until firm, 20 to 30 minutes. Then, using a single deliberate motion, slice the meat across the grain 1⁄8 inch thick. Avoid sawing the meat, which results in slices with jagged edges. If the slices are too thick, place them between sheets of parchment or waxed paper and pound to an even 1⁄8-inch thickness with a meat pounder.


  • 1 1⁄2 lb. beef tenderloin, about 5 inches thick
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1⁄2 tsp. sugar
  • 6 Tbs. light soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. dark soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. Asian sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 5 green onions, minced, plus shredded green
     onion for garnish
  • 1 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbs. sesame seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. water
  • 1 tsp. Sriracha chili sauce
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil


Cut the beef across the grain into slices 1⁄8 inch thick. Working on a cutting board, use the side of the blade of a chef's knife or cleaver to mash together three-fourths of the chopped garlic and the 1 Tbs. sugar, forming a paste. Place the paste in a bowl and stir in 3 Tbs. of the light soy sauce, the dark soy sauce, the 1 Tbs. sesame oil, 1 Tbs. of the vinegar, all but 1 Tbs. of the minced green onions, the ginger, 1 Tbs. of the sesame seeds, the black pepper and 1 Tbs. of the water. Place the beef in a shallow bowl and pour the marinade on top. Mix well, cover and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.

Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce: On a cutting board, use the side of the blade of a chef's knife or cleaver to mash together the remaining chopped garlic and the 1⁄2 tsp. sugar, forming a paste. Place the paste in a bowl and whisk in the remaining 3 Tbs. light soy sauce, the remaining 1 Tbs. vinegar, the chili sauce, the 1 tsp. sesame oil, the reserved 1 Tbs. minced green onions, the remaining 1 Tbs. sesame seeds and the remaining 1 Tbs. water. Set aside until ready to serve.

Prepare a hot fire in a grill or preheat a grill pan over high heat.

Brush the grill rack or pan with the canola oil. Remove the beef from the marinade and pat dry. Discard the marinade. Working in batches, arrange the beef in a single layer on the grill or in the grill pan. Sear, turning once, until crisp and brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Wipe and oil the rack or pan between batches, if necessary.

Transfer to a warmed platter, garnish with the shredded green onion and serve immediately with the dipping sauce. Serves 4 to 6.

Serving Tip: The beef can be served on red-leaf lettuce leaves with rice, kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage) and a drizzling of the dipping sauce.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Asian, by Farina Wong Kingsley (Simon & Schuster, 2003).