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Chicken Bulgogi: How to Make the Best Korean BBQ Chicken

Dak Bulgogi or Korean BBQ Chicken is a traditional Korean dish you can easily make at home. Incredibly tender, marinated in sweet and savory bulgogi sauce, the chicken bulgogi recipe deserves more love!
Chicken Bulgogi: How to Make the Best Korean BBQ Chicken
Chicken Bulgogi: How to Make the Best Korean BBQ Chicken
Anna at SideChef
Content Specialist. Bitten by curiosity bug. Obsessed with words. Fuelled by coffee. Powered by Google. Love cheese, chocolate, and cherries. Don’t judge your taco by its price.
Love This Recipe?
Anna at SideChef
Content Specialist. Bitten by curiosity bug. Obsessed with words. Fuelled by coffee. Powered by Google. Love cheese, chocolate, and cherries. Don’t judge your taco by its price.

Dak bulgogi or Korean BBQ chicken has never gotten as much attention and hype as the famous beef bulgogi KBBQ classic. And we are about to put an end to this unfair disregard for the amazingly delicious Korean BBQ chicken recipe.

LUNCHLOW-CARB

Dak Bulgogi (Korean BBQ Chicken)

Korean Bapsang

If you are not a fan of red meat or just happen to be looking for an exciting new way to cook chicken, then the dak bulgogi recipe will not disappoint. It is a sweet and savory chicken dish with a distinctly Korean flavor and an unbelievably tender texture.

First things first:


  • Why is it "dak" when we are using chicken?

  • Why are we using chicken when bulgogi is made with beef?

What Exactly is Bulgogi?

Bulgogi is probably the first thing you associate with Korean BBQ. It's a traditional Korean grilled or roasted dish and is directly translated as "fire meat."

Yes, bulgogi is traditionally made of thin slices of beef or pork marinated in a flavorful sauce. Still, there are many more bulgogi options, and chicken bulgogi is one of them.

"Dak" means "chicken" in Korean, hence the name "Dak Bulgogi" (no actual ducks are used in this dish).

What Is Bulgogi Marinade or Korean BBQ Sauce?

Bulgogi Sauce is the Korean marinade for meat that gives it the signature texture and flavor we love. However, there's no universal recipe for a bulgogi meat marinade.

Traditionally the meat is marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, ground black pepper, and Asian pear (aka red apple).

The fruit in bulgogi marinade is used to enhance the sweet flavor and to tenderize the meat. Some chefs use pineapple or kiwi instead (both powerful tenderizing agents), and the more Americanized bulgogi recipes don't contain fruit at all.

You might see some bulgogi marinades using gochujang (Korean chili paste) for an extra kick. Green onions, pureed apple, onions or pineapple, and even mushrooms (especially white button mushrooms) are also common ingredients in bulgogi marinades. And you are welcome to customize yours as well.

Chicken is more tender than red meat, and we don't use strong tenderizing ingredients in our bulgogi chicken marinade. Instead, we add some lemon juice and rice wine (aka mirin).

How to Make Chicken Bulgogi Marinade

We use the traditional Korean bulgogi sauce base and tweak a few ingredients to make it best for chicken thighs or breasts.

You'll need:


  • Soy Sauce

  • Brown Sugar

  • Sesame Oil

  • Fresh Ginger

  • Black Pepper

  • Lemon Juice

  • Honey

  • Rice Wine

  • Sesame Seeds


The chicken bulgogi marinade is very easy to prepare - simply mix all the ingredients, and you are ready to marinate.

If you prefer to use chicken thighs, coat the pieces in the marinade and leave them in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

If you'd rather use white meat (chicken breast), then you can leave chicken pieces in bulgogi marinade for a little bit longer to make sure it tenderizes well. Don't leave it for too long a time, though; an hour is more than enough.

How to Cook Bulgogi Chicken

Korean "fire meat" is called that for a reason, so to get that authentic Korean BBQ char grill flavor and texture, you can cook the chicken over a BBQ grill.

But, this bulgogi chicken recipe will taste fantastic cooked on a cast-iron skillet or pan-fried.

If you're making this chicken using a skillet, transfer the chicken pieces together with the bulgogi marinade into your pan, and cook it over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes on each side.

Quick and easy!

What to Serve with Dak Bulgogi

This chicken turns out so flavorful and tender it doesn't need any complicated side dishes. Simply serve it over steamed white rice or lettuce leaves for a low-carb option.

WEEKNIGHT DINNERSLUNCH

Dak Bulgogi Korean Grilled Chicken

Chef's Opinion

You can also make Bulgogi chicken wraps (or low-carb lettuce wraps) for an easy and convenient lunch option.

But in case you would like a special side dish for your bulgogi chicken, you can try serving it alongside Korean-Style Mung Bean Sprouts (Sukju Namul), Sesame Spinach Salad (Sigeumchi Namul), or Pan Fried Tofu.

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