Korean Beef Skewers

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Photography Credit: Sabrina Modelle

These grilled Korean beef skewers are a little sweet, a little spicy from the gochujang (which is a Korean chili paste), and full of umami. The best part is that you can have them on the table in about a half hour.

I’ll never forget the first time I ate Korean food. We were visiting my mom’s friend in Los Angeles and she took us out for Korean barbecue. My first taste of kimchi, banchan, and bulgogi and I was hooked.

Korean Beef SkewersI live in California where great Korean food is not difficult to come upon, but in 2012 I learned I would have to be gluten free for the rest of my life. Instead of saying goodbye to my favorite foods, I set about learning to make them at home. Korean food was one of the first cuisines I tackled.

I love serving these skewers with rice, kimchi, and some extra gochujang on the side. For a real treat, wrap everything up in a sheet of nori for a Korean taco, like in the photo below!

Korean Beef Skewers

Korean Beef Skewers Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 8 minutes
  • Marinating time time: Marinating time
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

These Korean beef skewers are best when cooked on a grill, but they are also great cooked on the stovetop. Use a very hot cast iron skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side.

If you can't find gochujang or you don’t like the ingredients in the store-bought stuff, use miso in the marinade instead or make your own. It’s an indispensable condiment in our house!

Ingredients

For the steak:

  • ¼ cup tamari or soy sauce
  • ¼ cup mirin
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang or light miso
  • 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak (flap steak or flank steak works well here, too)
  • Canola or other neutral oil

To serve (optional):

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • Cilantro or mint leaves
  • Kimchi
  • Extra gochujang
  • Cooked rice, optional
  • Nori (seaweed sheets), optional

Method

1 Whisk together the marinade: In a large bowl, combine the tamari (or soy sauce), mirin, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and gochujang (or miso) for the marinade. Whisk until the ingredients are well-combined.

2 Marinate the steak for 20 to 30 minutes: Cut the skirt steak into 2-inch wide strips. Add the strips to the bowl of marinade and stir until evenly coated. Marinate the strips of beef for 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature. If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 20 minutes.

Korean Beef Skewers

3 Preheat the grill for at least 20 minutes while the meat is marinating. The grill is hot enough when you can only hold your palm over the grill grates for a second or two.

4 Grill the beef skewers: Thread meat onto the skewers and brush with oil. Grill the skewers for 4 minutes. Flip and grill another 3 to 4 minutes on the second side, until the steak reaches your preferred doneness.

Korean Beef Skewers

5 Serve the skewers: Sprinkle the skewers with sesame seeds and cilantro or mint, if using. Serve with rice, kimchi, nori, and extra gochujang

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Sabrina Modelle

Sabrina Modelle started The Tomato Tart in 2010. Since then, recipes and photographs have been featured in media outlets, worldwide. The site features handmade, homemade, food that happens to be gluten free. When she’s not working, Sabrina can be found with her nose in a cookbook and a dog in her lap.

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Korean Beef Skewers

Showing 4 of 20 Comments

  • Marianne | Basil and Bubbly

    I seriously felt like I had gotten to the end of the internet looking for a korean beef recipes that actually had some flavor — all of the ones I’d found before fell flat. However, I made this last night and it was wonderful! I was too lazy to skewer, so I just cooked in my cast-iron like suggested. I’d never used ( or heard of ) the gochujang before — it was definitely that “secret ingredient” that our local restaurant uses that we could never reproduce until now. Thank you SO Much!

  • Alison

    I’m making these for a dinner party this weekend and trying to get a lot done in advance (as I have a newborn at home!) – is there any reason I shouldn’t/can’t marinate the meat for longer than 20-30 minutes? Like the morning of? Thanks!

  • Joy

    I made these but decided to just grill the skirt steak in pieces rather than put them on the skewers to save time. They were very tasty but I wonder if its worth the extra effort to skewer? Does it add more caramelization?

  • Phil

    One thing I like to do (having fallen in love with Bulgogi while attending high school in Seoul) is to make a Bulgogi marinade and marinating a pork roast for a day or so in the fridge, then smoking it with hickory on a charcoal fire… Great mix of tastes, and you don’t have to cut it all up into bite-size pieces.

  • Christine Winters

    Sabrina, I have not tried Korean food yet. A friend and I are going to a Korean restaurant on Wednesday and today I received this recipe in my email. Excited to try this recipe. And there is a Korean grocery store in the same plaza as the Korean restaurant. Thanks for sharing it.

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