Easy Korean Bulgogi BBQ Recipe

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korean ribs recipe

What’s Up, Hungry People

A few weeks back, I took advantage of the warmer weather to whip up a batch of Korean ribs on the grill. Seeing as the challenge that week was Korean, it only seemed appropriate to get super authentic with the BBQ sauce.

I picked up some Korean BBQ sauce a while back from Jungle Jim’s, so it’s the most authentic stuff I could get my hands on. Of course, what kind of recipe would this be if I just said to buy the sauce? Also called bulgogi, or “fire meat” in Korean, this marinade is renowned for its sticky sweet and spicy flavors, traditionally used on various cuts of beef or pork.

korean barbecue ribs with kimchi

I most certainly had to recreate it for myself, but I’m not gonna lie, the real stuff is goooooood. Based on the listed ingredients—at least the ones written in English on the bottle—this Korean BBQ sauce is made up of soy sauce, garlic, onion, sesame, sesame oil, and black pepper.

authentic korean bbq sauce

So I did a side-by-side taste test of the two—my creation and the bottled authentic sauce—for a BBQ-style taste-off.

And honestly, I think I got pretty close. I’m sure there are regional ingredients that make the final flavors taste different—perhaps such as the addition of MSG or the use of powdered versus fresh ingredients may have made a difference.

Either way, the flavor profiles were close enough for me that once they were all piled on the plate, it was hard to tell which was from the bottle and which were coated in my sauce. Plated with a little kimchi, we had ourselves a nice little backyard Korean bulgogi. Now I can’t wait for summer to return so I can make these ribs again!

basting with brush

Here’s What You Need

  • Soy sauce: Adds a salty, umami flavor to the marinade.
  • Garlic: Offers a strong, pungent taste that is key in many Korean dishes.
  • Onion: Provides a slightly sweet flavor that complements the garlic.
  • Sesame: Seeds add a nutty touch to the overall flavor profile.
  • Sesame oil: Gives a deep, rich aroma and rounds out the flavors.
  • Black pepper: Introduces a sharp, spicy kick to enhance the marinade.
bbq grilling with sauce

Let’s Cook

Start by grabbing a large bowl to mix your marinade. Whisk together all those flavorful ingredients—soy sauce, brown sugar, either type of garlic you prefer (powdered or fresh), onion, ginger, black pepper, and sesame oil. Get that blend nice and smooth.

Next, scoop out about half of this marinade and set it aside in another bowl; you’ll need this for basting the ribs later. Now, take your choice of meat—pork or beef ribs—and either lay them in the bowl with the marinade or slip them into a plastic bag and pour the marinade over them. Give everything a gentle toss to make sure the ribs are well coated. Then, pop them in the fridge to marinate. You can let them sit for an hour if you’re short on time, but for the best flavor, leave them overnight.

Firing Up the Grill

When you’re ready to cook, fire up your grill to a hot 425°F—yes, get it nice and hot! Lay those marinated ribs right over the flames. Now, the key here is not to just leave them be. Cook them for about 5-6 minutes on each side, but make sure you’re rotating them frequently to get an even cook. Every time you turn the ribs, grab that reserved marinade and brush it over. You’re aiming for a rich, dark glaze that just screams delicious.

grilled korean ribs

Bulgogi BBQ Tips

  • Marinade time: For best results, allow the ribs to marinate overnight. The longer the meat marinates, the more flavorful and tender it will become. If you’re short on time, a minimum of one hour will still impart a good flavor, but for that melt-in-your-mouth texture, longer is better.
  • Grilling temperature: Ensure your grill is preheated to exactly 425°F before cooking the ribs. A properly heated grill sears the meat quickly, locking in juices and creating a delicious char that’s signature to BBQ.
  • Fresh vs. Powdered ingredients: Using fresh garlic, ginger, and onions can significantly alter the flavor profile compared to their powdered counterparts. Fresh ingredients tend to provide a brighter, more vibrant flavor. Consider using fresh during the grilling season to enhance the natural flavors of the meat.
  • Basting technique: Keep the reserved marinade handy and brush it on the ribs each time you turn them. This not only adds more flavor but also helps achieve that desirable glaze. Be careful not to burn the sugars in the marinade; adjust the flame as necessary.
korean barbecue ribs recipe

Well, there you have it, Hungry People, your very own backyard Korean bulgogi feast. Who knew that with a few tweaks to the store-bought sauce and some patience with the marinade, you could grill up something so tantalizingly close to the real deal? And let’s be honest, any excuse to fire up the grill and enjoy some delicious ribs is a good one in my book. Whether it’s the sweet and spicy kick of the bulgogi sauce or the smoky char from the grill, these ribs are sure to be a hit at your next barbecue. Here’s to long summer days, great food, and even better company. Until next time, keep those grills hot and your appetites hearty!

easy korean bbq

Simple Korean Bulgogi BBQ

The Starving Chef
This Korean bulgogi BBQ recipe features a homemade marinade that brings the authentic flavors of Korea right to your grill.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 35 minutes
Marinate 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 35 minutes
Course Grill, International
Cuisine Korean, Marinade
Servings 4



  • Combine all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk until well blended. Then, reserve half of the marinade in a separate bowl for basting.
  • Add the meat to the bowl or pour the remaining marinade over the meat in a plastic bag. Toss gently to ensure the meat is well covered, then let it marinate in the fridge, covered, for at least an hour or overnight.
  • Preheat the grill to 425°F. Place the meat directly over the flames and cook for 5-6 minutes per side, rotating frequently, to ensure even cooking. Brush on the reserved sauce with each turn of the meat, until a thick, dark glaze has formed.
  • Let the ribs rest for a few minutes prior to serving. Serve hot alongside rice or kimchi.
Keyword BBQ, grill, marinade, pork
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