Spicy Pork Bulgogi (Jeyuk Bokkeum)
Pork bulgogi is a Korean spicy pork called jeyuk bokkeum. Thin slices of pork shoulder are stir-fried quickly with a spicy gochujang sauce. This Korean spicy pork recipe is easy and quick to prepare within 20 minutes. Check out my recipe tips on how to achieve the open flame taste of professional kitchen at home.
“This was so easy, and turned out WONDERFUL. Both boyfriend and I loved it. Thank you so much for this recipe! It’s a keeper!”mandalameg
Pork is a beloved animal protein in Korean cuisine. And this pork bulgogi, also known as Korean spicy pork stir fry, is perhaps the most popular Korean pork recipe of all.
What is Pork Bulgogi?
The Korean name for spicy pork bulgogi is Jeyuk Bokkeum (제육볶음) – Jeyuk means pork, and bokkeum means stir-fry. It’s a spicy marinated pork stir fry with the mildly sweet and spicy gochujang sauce. This beloved Korean BBQ pork, along with bossam (Korean pork wraps), is loved by many people around the world.
Some call it Dweiji Bulgogi. Dweji means pig in Korean. Every household cooks this delicious spicy pork stir-fry from time to time in their own kitchen in Korea because it is so easy and quick to put together, and it always tastes good even if you mess it up.
Why you should try this Korean spicy pork recipe
The beauty of this Korean pork recipe is that it mimics the taste of that sizzling smoky flavor that is cooked on an extremely hot flaming fire in a professional kitchen, which is not easy to achieve in most home kitchens. I will share my tips on how you can imitate that taste at home.
Unless you decide to marinate the pork ahead of time, this dish takes only a few minutes from start to finish. You’ll have a nice, spicy Korean pork stir-fry (jeyuk bokkeum) ready for dinner in no time!
It’s one of the quick and affordable Asian dinner recipes that can’t go wrong. Serve with rice and lettuce, and you are good to go.
How to use spicy bulgogi sauce for pork
The main ingredient for the spicy sauce is “gochujang (Korean chili paste).” This gochujang pork delivers a spicy yet gently sweet taste to the pork. Make sure your pork is thinly sliced so that it can adhere the sauce evenly.
You can adjust the level of spiciness with the amount of chili flakes. You can even skip the chili flakes if you prefer. We, as Koreans, like spicy things to be spicy, though.
If you want to try this spicy pork bulgogi sauce with a slightly different version, try my chicken bulgogi recipe. It’s equally tasty and everyone who tried that recipe have raved about it.
Ingredients for pork bulgogi
- Pork Shoulder (or Pork Butt): You need a certain level of fat in the pork to make it moist and tender. Pork shoulder would be ideal for this recipe. Make sure your pork is thinly sliced. You can find pre-sliced pork shoulder in Korean stores. Some use pork belly, but I found it to be too fatty for stir-fry cooking.
- Onion: Onion is the best companion for many savory dishes. It adds a natural sweetness to the dish.
- Asian Leek or Green Onion: Fry with the oil for 30 seconds at the beginning and you will taste the difference.
- Korean Chili Paste (Gochujang): Luckily it is widely available in many stores. If you have not tried yet, you are missing out on one of the greatest ingredients for your cooking.
- Korean chili flakes (Gochugaru): This adds extra heat to the dish which makes it “spicy” and delicious. Adjust the amount depending on your heat tolerance.
- Sugar or Honey It adds a sweetness and balances the spiciness of the dish.
- Other ingredients: soy sauce, rice wine, garlic, ginger puree, sesame oil, sesame seeds.
- Quick Caramelized Sugar: Let 2 teaspoon of sugar caramelize in hot oil to get the burnt sugar taste. The smoky flavor adds depth and mimics the flavor that is only acquirable from stir-fry done in flaming hot wok in a professional kitchen.
- Infused Leek (or Green Onion): Fry chopped Asian leek or green onion with burnt, sugared oil for 30 seconds at the beginning to infuse the flavor. The aroma will penetrate into the pork slices, adding a deeper flavor.
- Large skillet (wok) Over High Heat: You will need a large skillet that has enough room to stir around without being crammed. A high heat also helps the steam to evaporate quickly, otherwise the steam will be trapped inside and results in runny sauce. If your skillet (wok) is not big enough to stir-fry the entire batch of pork, divide the pork in half or in portions you desire. If so, you will need to reduce the amount of oil, sugar, and leek to caramelize per batch accordingly.
How to make Korean spicy pork (Jeyuk Bokkeum)
Step 1. Make the pork bulgogi sauce.
- Make the seasoning paste first: Combine gochujang, Korean chili flakes, soy sauce, sugar, rice wine, garlic, ginger puree, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and pepper; mix well.
- Pork shoulder (Pork Butt): Separate each slice and put them in a bowl. Add the seasoning paste and mix well. You can make this step ahead of time and let it marinate in the refrigerator up to 24 hrs. Or you can go straight to stir-fry without marinating at all.
Hint: Wearing a disposable food-prep plastic glove will be handy to mix the pork with the seasoning paste. It will protect your delicate hand.
Step 2. Caramelize the sugar: Heat 2 tablespoon of oil in a deep skillet or wok over high heat. Add 2 teaspoon of sugar and swirl the pan around. Let the sugar turn brown and caramelized.
Step 3. Infuse the leek (or green onion): Quickly add the chopped Asian leek (or green onion) and stir-fry for 30 seconds to infuse the oil.
Step 4. Add the marinated pork and onion: Add pork and onion. The meat should sizzle right away when you add it to the skillet.
Step 5. Stir-fry the pork: Stir-fry pork and onion until they are fully cooked and tender. Serve immediately with rice.
What to eat with spicy Korean pork bulgogi
Just like other stir-fried dishes, Jeyuk Bokkeum tastes best when it is hot. Try with lettuce and Kkaennip (Korean perilla leaves), and some rice. Most Korean households serve this pork bulgogi with Doenjnag Jjigae (Korean soybean paste stew) as an accompaniment, but that is totally optional.
More bulgogi recipes
If you like Korean bulgogi dishes, check out these recipes below. Also try other Korean dinner recipes for quick and easy meal ideas.
- Ground Beef Bulgogi (Korean Beef Bowl)
- Best Bulgogi Recipe (Korean Beef)
- Chicken Bulgogi (Korean Chicken BBQ)
- Crispy Bulgogi (Korean Beef)
- Spicy Pork and Squid Stir-Fry (Osam Bulgogi)
This recipe was originally posted in August 2012. I’ve updated the recipe with a few changes, new photos, and more information.
Spicy Pork Bulgogi (Jeyuk Bokkeum)
- 2 lb pork shoulder , or pork butt, very thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 Asian leek , or 4 green onion, chopped
- 1/2 large onion, sliced
- To make the seasoning paste for pork, combine chili paste, chili flakes, soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, garlic, ginger puree, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and black pepper in a small mixing bowl; mix well.
- In a large mixing bowl, separate each slice of pork and put them in a bowl. Add the seasoning paste and mix well (Wearing a disposable food glove is helpful). You can make this step ahead of time and let it marinate in the refrigerator up to 24 hrs. Or you can go straight to stir-fry without marinating at all.
- Heat 2 tablespoon of oil in a deep skillet or wok over high heat. Add 2 teaspoon of sugar and swirl the pan around. Let the sugar turn brown and caramelized.
- Quickly add the chopped Asian leek (or green onion) and stir-fry for 30 seconds to infuse the oil. Add pork and onion. Stir-fry pork and onion until they are fully cooked and tender, about 3-4 minutes. Serve immediately with rice and lettuce (if desired).
- Note: If your skillet is not big enough to stir-fry the entire batch of pork, divide the pork in half or in portion you desire. If so, you will need to reduce the amount of oil, sugar, and leek to caramelize per batch accordingly.