It’s standard to see giant platters of frozen pork belly shingles or beef brisket curlicues at Korean BBQ joints. These thinly sliced, non-marinated meats cook up fast and are wildly popular, but can be hard to source for home cooking unless you live near a specialty butcher or Asian grocery store.
That’s why marinated meats like bulgogi are commonly made at home—and they’re equally as delicious. You can easily slice the meat and marinate it to pack tons of flavor and veggies into your standard Korean BBQ.
If you’re looking for a next-level recipe for your next Korean BBQ, try jeyuk bokkeum (spicy pork bulgogi)! Also known as dweji bulgogi, jeyuk bokkeum is sliced pork marinated in a spicy sauce. Jeyuk means “pork” and bokkeum means “stir-fry” in Korean.
The pork only takes 30 minutes to marinate (and if you’re pressed for time, you can skip it altogether), making for an easy weeknight dinner. It can be grilled on a grill pan or stir-fried in a skillet. Either way, it cooks up super fast and is tender, juicy, and with just a bit of a spicy kick.
Even if you aren’t hosting a Korean BBQ, jeyuk bokkeum is great as an easy weeknight meal. Top rice with a heaping portion of the pork—a fried egg for extra credit—and mix it up for a super tasty and hearty meal.
What Cut of Pork To Use
You can also use any cut of pork you have on hand, though I reach for pork shoulder or pork butt with a bit of fat for maximum flavor. It holds up to the strongly-flavored marinade, while the fat helps to keep everything juicy and tender.
Freeze the meat for about 30 minutes to make it easy to slice. But don’t worry too much about getting perfectly thin slices—bite-sized pieces of any shape or size will work just fine!
As an alternative, look for thinly sliced pork labeled “for bulgogi” at your local Asian grocery store, or ask your butcher to slice it for you. If you’re prepping at home,
The Spicy Marinade
The marinade for jeyuk bokkeum is made by processing Asian pear, onions, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and gochujang. It’s the perfect balance of spicy and sweet. The Asian pear helps break down the meat and the gochujang gives it a deeply flavorful spice. I like to use a mix of granulated sugar and honey for a savory sweetness. This sauce is super versatile too: sub the pork for beef ribeye to make a spicy beef bulgogi, or use chicken to make dak galbi!
I add thinly sliced onions to the marinated pork. You could add other veggies, like thinly sliced or chopped cabbage, or greens like broccoli rabe or bok choy, when you cook the pork.
How to Serve Jeyuk Bokkeum
Korean barbecued meats are most often eaten wrapped in lettuce leaves, called ssam or “wraps” in Korean. Look for red leaf or green leaf lettuce—gently pull the leaves so that they don’t tear, wash, and dry them well. I also love to source perilla leaves from my local Asian grocery store (a larger, more vegetal cousin of the shiso leaf) for an extra special ssam.
You can build your ssam any way you’d like: start by placing a small spoonful of rice on a lettuce leaf, top with a few pieces of jeyuk bokkeum, and perhaps some thinly shaved scallions or kimchi. Fold the leaf around the filling and enjoy!
Slice the pork:
Thinly slice the pork into bite-sized pieces, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Place the pork in a zip-top bag or a glass container and set it aside while you made the marinade.
Make the marinade:
In a food processor, combine the pear, onion, garlic, ginger, and green onion, and process to a purée. Add the soy sauce, sugar, honey, sesame oil, gochujang, and black pepper, and pulse until combined. Pour the sauce over the pork and mix to coat. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours, in the refrigerator.
Cook the pork:
When you’re ready to cook the pork, heat a cast iron pan or Korean BBQ grill pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork along with the thinly sliced onion, working in batches so that the meat doesn’t overlap and create steam, and cook, turning often, until the meat is cooked through and slightly charred, about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a large platter.
Top with sesame seeds and green onions. Serve with lettuce and/or perilla leaves to make wraps, or over rice.
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