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Chicken bulgogi

Grilled or broiled, this chicken bulgogi (Korean barbecue) is crisp on the outside, tender on the inside!

When we moved from the log house last year, we left behind our over-the-hill grill. Now that grilling season approaches, all I can think about is buying a new grill for our backyard, because dishes like this chicken bulgogi are calling to me.

I pressed the broiler into service to make this recipe for you, because I'm sure I'm the only person who doesn't already have a grill cleaned and ready to go. The broiler made truly crisp-juicy chicken bulgogi, so I don't hesitate to recommend this method. Korean barbecue is all the rage, and for good reason. While the outside of the salty-sweet meat crisps over (or under) the fire, the inside remains tender, thanks to the addition of Asian pear or kiwi in the marinade. An enzyme called calpain in the Asian pear or kiwi (both readily available in my regular grocery store now) does the tenderizing work; just be sure you don't leave your meat marinating too long, or it will turn mushy. Use a Microplane or the small holes of box grater to make quick work of the Asian pear, garlic and ginger. Adjust the sweetness to your taste, and add a pinch of hot pepper, if you wish. You might want to double, or triple, or quadruple this recipe, which is equally good made with beef.

Chicken bulgogi, sure to become your new summer grill favorite.

Chicken bulgogi 

From the pantry, you'll need: reduced sodium soy sauce, garlic, ginger root, dry white wine, granulated sugar, sesame oil.

This chicken also can be cooked on the grill, for approximately 3 minutes per side, or on the panini press, though for convenience I cooked it under the broiler. Serves 4; can be multiplied.


6 oz reduced-sodium soy sauce 
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp minced fresh ginger root
2 Tbsp dry white wine 
3 Tbsp granulated sugar (or sugar substitute)
2 Tbsp pureed peeled Asian pear (or kiwi)
1/2 tsp sesame oil
Fresh black pepper, to taste
1-1/2  lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (approx. 5 pieces), trimmed of large pieces of fat
Small pieces of romaine lettuce leaves
Sesame seeds for garnish (optional)


Position a rack in your oven approximately 6 inches from the broiler heat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and set aside.

Combine first 8 ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and stir together to combine.

Add the chicken pieces, and marinate for at least 1, but not more than 2, hours, turning occasionally to make sure the marinade reaches all parts of the meat.

When you're ready to cook, heat the broiler on high heat. Drain the chicken pieces and set them bottom-side up on the baking sheet.

Broil for 4-6 minutes on the first side, until the chicken begins to crisp on the edges. Flip the chicken pieces, and broil on the second (top) side for 4 minutes. Do not overcook.

Remove chicken from the oven, and when it's cool enough to tough, slice on the bias. Pile 2 or 3 slices in a lettuce leaf, and secure with a toothpick.

Serve warm or at room temperature, or chilled.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More chicken on the grill:
Grilled chile-lime ponzu chicken, from The Perfect Pantry
Grilled tamarind chicken, from The Perfect Pantry
Chicken satay, from The Perfect Pantry
Sriracha-glazed grilled chicken kabobs, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Grilled lemon Dijon chicken skewers, from Skinnytaste

Chicken bulgogi (Korean barbecue), cooked in the oven or on the grill.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


This sounds delicious! I love the idea of using a natural tenderizer for the chicken.

Kalyn, the recipe only uses a small amount of the Asian pear. I grated the whole thing, and froze the rest, so it was ready to use in my next batch. I can't wait to make this on my new grill!

This looks amazing!

Candy, it is! And so easy to make.

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