Sometimes when I visit the city I stop by a Korean supermarket to get bulgogi to go (uncooked and already marinated) so I can grill it when I get home after the long drive. There’s of course the standard beef bulgogi, but my favorite is the spicy pork bulgogi. The sweet, salty, and spicy is just irresistible!
But I don’t get to go to the city that often so I thought, why not try it at home? I found this recipe of Dwaejibulgogi (돼지불고기) by Maangchi and decided to take a crack at it!
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Pork belly can be hard to find unless you have a butcher, farm, or upscale grocery store nearby, but pork shoulder can be fairly easy to find so I opted to use pork shoulder.
The recipe says to slice the pork belly into “½ inch x 2 inches and ⅛ inch thick” but that doesn’t sound right to me. ½ inch width is quite small and would essentially be like slicing the belly thickness in half. The picture in the recipe also does not correlate with the measurements. Sometimes I see Dwaejibulgogi as being one huge pork belly piece about a ¼-inch thick, 2-3 inches wide and a foot long that has been crosshatched. The crosshatch really gets the flavor in there and it helps with tenderizing the belly which can be tough and chewy. It’s also much easier to grill when it’s one big piece because you won’t get little pieces falling through the grill. After grilling, cut it up and serve.
What I ended up doing for the pork shoulder was slice them into roughly ⅛-inch thick slices and not cut them up any smaller than necessary. Again, it’s sad when precious pieces of meat fall through the grill over charcoal, which is my favorite method of cooking bulgogi. Half-frozen meat is much easier to slice so if you have a big pork shoulder, place it in the freezer for a few hours before slicing.
This recipe is super simple, and it can be adjusted to taste. I added more gochujang because I like it spicy, and added lots of green onion too.
Aside from the meat slice size discrepancy in the recipe, the marinade is very delicious! Now I don’t have to wait until my next visit to the city to have this!