Kate Heyhoe

Kate's Global Kitchen

by Kate Heyhoe


Seoul Mama Barbecue

Serves 4.

(also known as: Pulkogi Steak)

When I was a girl, my Korean mother used to have a great many festive dinner parties in Dallas. At that time, there were few Asians in Texas and absolutely no Korean restaurants. Well, one thing the Texans have in common with the Koreans is that they are both big on beef and barbecue—so needless to say, they consumed this dish like boll weevils do cotton. They would not let mama make anything else. She'd try serving something new, but they'd just smile politely, saying "That was mightyfine, Alma, but I shore do like that Ko'rean barbecue you do, honey." So for years, if I saw mama making pulkogi, I knew a party was not far off.

By the way, this marinade may also be used to grill thin slices of beef, which is the more traditional way of serving pulkogi, and on chicken, pork or fish. It is absolutely dynamite on lamb riblets and chops, particularly when charcoal-grilled.


  • 2 pounds flank steak or sirloin
  • 4 green onions
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or dry sherry

Score the beef on each side with intersecting cuts 3/4 inch apart to create a diamond pattern. Cut only lightly into the meat, less than 1/4 inch.

Slice the green onions on a diagonal slant into 1 inch lengths.

In a shallow dish or glass pan, mix all other ingredients. Stir in the green onions, then add the beef, making sure it is well coated with the marinade. Let sit for 30 to 60 minutes, turning once. (It is best not to marinate overnight, as the salt in the soy sauce will draw out the flavors of the beef and toughen the meat.)

Cook the beef as you would a steak. Barbecue it over hot coals, or cook in a preheated broiler 3 inches from the heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side for rare meat, longer if you like it more well-done. Whichever method you choose, the fire should be hot enough to lightly char the scored edges of the meat, making them crisp and crunchy, without overcooking the interior.

Serving Suggestion:
If desired, heat the remaining marinade in a saucepan till reduced and of syrup-like consistency. Serve the steaks with steamed white rice, and pour the sauce over the rice.

This page originally published in 1994 as part of The Global Gourmet Cookbook.

Copyright © 1994-2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.

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This page modified January 2007

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