Move over, boring old pork! There’s a new pig in town, and he’s packing some serious heat. Our Spicy Pork Bulgogi is delicious, easy to make, and sure to fire up your taste buds.
This recipe is perfect for anyone who loves bold flavors. The pork is marinated in a spicy gochujang sauce, then grilled to perfection. The result is a juicy, flavor-packed dish that will leave you wanting more.
So if you’re looking for a new way to spice up your dinner menu, look no further than our Spicy Pork Bulgogi. It’s sure to become a family favorite in no time.
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Spicy Pork Bulgogi
Bulgogi is an incredible Korean dish that is made from marinated meat. This is typically beef, pork or chicken. The name bulgogi means “fire meat” because it is usually grilled or made over a barbeque. My version, well actually a friend from Korea version, is made using marinated pork.
This is an incredible easy recipe that is so simple to make. If you make a mistake, it will still taste amazing and no one will know.
What does bulgogi taste like?
The main flavors of the pork bulgogi come from the Korean red pepper flakes paste, gochujang. The recipe is packed with garlic and has a bit of sweetness from the maesilaek or Korean plum extract. Of course, there is also the addition of mirin and soy sauce.
Tips for making bulgogi
The Best Ingredients. While there are ways to replace these ingredients, if you want the very best tasting spicy pork bulgogi, you will want to make sure to use the originals.
Gochuajang. This is a fermented spicy Korean chili paste. While it is spicy, it is also made with a umami, smoky flavor. You can find this at your local Asian market or you can get it online. If you can not find it, a good substitution is sambal oelek. Another option, that should be in your regular grocery store, you can use sriracha sauce.
Korean Maesilaek or plum extract. This is a sweetener that adds a unique flavor to the bulgogi. You can find this at your local Asian market or you can get it online. If you can not find it, you can use sugar, honey or even omit it if you want to cut back on the sweetness.
Minced Garlic. I highly suggest that you mince your own garlic for this recipe. The pre-minced garlic in a jar just does not have the same flavor. To mince the garlic, peel the cloves and then use a sharp knife to chop them into tiny pieces.
Marinate. Let the meat marinate for at least 30 minutes, but overnight is best.
Add in. This is the basic recipe, but you can add in other things in order to add more flavor or more texture. I like to add things like sliced onions, mushrooms or carrots.
Grill or Stove Top. While the traditional way to cook bulgogi is over an open flame, you can easily make this dish on your stove top. If you want that smoky flavor, you can use a cast iron skillet or grill pan over high heat.
Don’t Crowd the Skillet. It is really important to give the meat room to cook. You want to cook on a high heat in order to get that nice char. If the skillet is too crowded, you can’t get the char you are looking for.
Toppings. The traditional way to eat bulgogi is with rice and kimchi. You could also serve it with lettuce wraps.
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What type of meat to use
Pork tenderloin is the most common type of pork used for bulgogi. It is lean and has great flavor. Pork shoulder or pork butt can also be used but it will have more fat. If you use pork shoulder, make sure to trim off any excess fat. You could also use chicken or beef for this recipe.
Since you want to slice the pork thinly, a tip to make cutting easier, place it in the freezer. You want to leave it in there for about 15 minutes or so. No more than 30. This is to help the meat be a little more firm and that makes it easier to cut.
How to change the spiciness
The gochujang paste will make this dish spicy. If you want to cut back on the spice, you can reduce the amount used. Start with 1 tablespoon and then add more if you want it spicier.
If you want to make it even less spicy, when adding in the gochujang paste, add in 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. This will help to cut down on the spice a bit.
Another way to make it change the spice level, is to use a milder gochujang paste. There are different levels of spiciness when it comes to the gochujang paste. If you can not find a milder paste, you can also add in 1 tablespoon of ketchup to help cut down on the spice.
How to serve spicy pork bulgogi
Once the pork bulgogi is cooked, you can serve it a couple of different ways. The most common way is with rice and kimchi. You could also place it in lettuce wraps or over a salad. Rice paper is another option. Use a garnish with green onions and toasted sesame seeds. Other ideas for side dishes would be potato salad or coleslaw. Want to add a twist, you can often see bulgogi served with purple rice.
How to store
You want to store the spicy pork bulgogi in an airtight container. Keep it in the refrigerator when it is not being served. Once it has cooled, place it in the container and place it in the refrigerator. It will last for up to 4 days when stored properly.
How to reheat
If you have leftovers, they reheat really well. I like to reheat mine in a skillet over medium-high heat. You could also reheat it in the microwave.
Can I freeze it?
Yes, you can freeze it. It will last in the freezer for up to 3 months. I like to portion mine out into individual servings so that I can just grab one serving when I want it. That way, it does not require defrosting the entire batch.
This dish is packed with flavor and is so easy to make. The next time you are looking for something new to try, give this Spicy Pork Bulgogi a try, I promise you will not be disappointed.
How many Weight Watchers points in Spicy Korean Pork Bulgogi
This is going to be one of those meals that are a delicious cheat. When you make this recipe exactly as written, it comes in at 9 points on my Personal Points Plan. There are a few things that can be changed up to make this recipe less points.
Use less oil. You can use a little less oil when making this recipe, and if you decrease it from 2 tablespoons to 1 tablespoons, you can save a point. This brings it down to 8 points per serving.
Reduce the sugar, or use sugar substitute. Also, reduce the gochugaru down to 3 tablespoons. This brings it down to 7 points on my plan.
Of course, you can also change the pork. Changing the pork to chicken breast and following the same recipe, you can reduce the points in this recipe. When I make the above changes AND use chicken breast, the points are 5 points on my plan per servings.
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Get the full list of ingredients, with measurements, and step-by-step instructions at the bottom of the post in the printable recipe card.
- Gochugaru; Korean chili flakes / paste
- Soy sauce
- Maesilaek; Korean plum extract or apricot jam
- Pork belly or pork loin
- Cooking oil
- Sesame seeds
How to Make Spicy Pork Bulgogi Recipe
Combine gochugaru, mirin, soy sauce, maesiaek, sugar, black pepper, and garlic in a large mixing bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes. Gochugaru will absorb the moisture from the sauces and will become thick pasty sauce.
Add sliced pork and mix well with your hand. Let it marinade at least 30 minutes to overnight. Thicker the meat, longer marinate time.
Heat a large skillet over high heat, add cooking oil. Add marinated pork and fry until pork is fully cooked and crispy about 10 minutes. Cook the slices in batches. This is the best way to cook them evenly and it’s also great grilled!
Serve topped with sesame seeds and on a bed or rice.
More Asian Inspired Recipes
- Asian Cabbage Salad with Peanut Dressing
- Chicken Satay with a Peanut Sauce
- Roasted Asian Shrimp
- Crockpot Skinny Orange Chicken Recipe
- Asian Pork Chops Skillet Meal
Spicy Pork Bulgogi
- Combine gochugaru, mirin, soy sauce, maesiaek, sugar, black pepper, and garlic in a large mixing bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes. Gochugaru will absorb the moisture from the sauces and will become thick pasty sauce.
- Add pork and mix well with your hand. Let it marinade at least 30 minutes to overnight. Thicker the meat, longer marinate time.
- Heat a large skillet over high heat, add cooking oil. Add marinated pork and cook until pork is fully cooked and crispy about 10 minutes. Cook the slices in batches. This is the best way to cook them evenly and it’s also great grilled!
- Serve topped with sesame seeds and on a bed or rice.