Korean BBQ Pork Kabobs are a quick, delicious dinner with easy cleanup. Just tenderize pork or your favorite meat in a simple Korean BBQ marinade, skewer it with your favorite veggies, and grill up a healthy melt-in-your-mouth dinner in less than 30 minutes.
The first place I ever had some delicious bulgogi was from a little place called Grunts in Key West. I ordered the Bulgogi Burritos, a brilliant cross between Mexican and Korean cuisine, and it was simply a flavor-packed handful of grilled deliciousness. I used the same basic flavors pulled from the Korean bulgogi in my own grilled concoction, these easy-to-make Korean BBQ Pork Kabobs.
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What are Korean BBQ Kabobs or Bulgogi?
Now you're probably wondering, what in the world is bulgogi. According to Wikipedia, it literally means fire meat in Korean.
Bulgogi refers to meat (usually beef, but can be chicken or pork) that is marinated to enhance its tenderness then grilled.
Korean BBQ Marinade
A classic bulgogi marinade recipe is super simple to make and comprised of very basic ingredients. It is usually a combination of soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, garlic and seasoning. It creates a sauce that imparts a flavor somewhere between sweet and salty.
Tip: Koreans add a grated Asian pear to their bulgogi marinade to help tenderize the meat. I just recently learned this little trick from reading about it on My Korean Kitchen. Since Asian pears are not readily found here in the states, a Bosc pear or apple can be substituted.
This is one of those easy recipes that you can adapt to fit your family's tastes. It's quick and easy and perfect for the summer grilling season. The kabobs can be made with beef, pork, or chicken and just about any veggies that your family likes.
How to Make Korean BBQ Pork
Gather the ingredients for the marinade and cut up the pork and vegetables.
- In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, minced garlic, sesame seed, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Add ginger for a nice little zing of flavor.
- Place cut up pork in resealable plastic bag and pour one-third of the marinade over it. Seal and place in refrigerator to marinate about 20-30 minutes.
- Place sliced vegetables in a resealable plastic bag and pour the remaining marinade over them. Seal and place in refrigerator beside meat for about 20-30 minutes. You can also opt to save a quarter cup of the marinade to pour over the skewers just before serving.
- Discard the marinade and skewer the marinated pork and vegetables onto skewers. If using wood skewers, soak them in water while the meat and vegetables are marinating.
- Grill Korean pork kabobs for 3-4 minutes per side. Remove to platter.
Just look at all that deliciousness. You'll find the meat tender and the vegetables grilled to perfection!
If you have any leftovers, they are great eaten over rice or turned into tasty lettuce wraps for the perfect lunch. Whatever way you serve these grilled pork kabobs, they're sure to be a hit. Enjoy!
More Summer Grilling Recipes
Grilled Asian Pork Tenderloin is an easy 30-minute dinner. Just marinate the pork in a soy-ginger sauce, apply a sweet smoky rub, then grill.
Mexican Chicken Burgers give a south-of-the-border twist to the barbecue. Lean ground chicken is mixed with taco seasoning, jalapenos and tequila then topped with grilled peppers, onions, and, of course, plenty of guacamole.
Easy Grilled Shrimp is one quick & easy dinner. Just marinate the shrimp with cajun seasoning and a twist of lime then grill. Dinner on in 30!
Korean BBQ Pork Kabobs (Bulgogi Kabobs)
- 5 Tablespoons soy sauce (use Tamari for gluten-free)
- 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 ½ Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 Tablespoons white sesame seeds
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground or fresh ginger (optional)
Kabobs (Ingredient suggestions, you can use more or less to suit your taste)
- 2 large boneless pork chops,, cut in medium-sized chunks
- 1 small zucchini cut in ¼" thick slices
- 1 medium onion, cut in wedges
- 1 large bell pepper (I used a combination of yellow, red & green)
- 10-12 mushrooms, stems removed
- Metal or wooden skewers
- In a small bowl, whisk all marinade ingredients together. Set aside.
- Using 2 gallon-sized ziploc bags, place pork in 1 bag and vegetables in the other.
- Pour ⅓ of marinade over pork and the remaining ⅔rds over the vegetables.
- Let marinate in refrigerator for at least 20-30 minutes.
- If using wooden skewers, place in pan of water while meat and vegetables marinate to prevent them from burning during grilling.
- Heat grill while you are assembling kabobs.
- Remove meat & vegetables from ziploc bags and discard marinade.
- Alternately skewer meat and veggies on skewers.
- Place on hot grill and cook 3-4 minutes per side.
- Serve with sides or over the top of a tossed salad.
This post has been updated with a how-to video, new photos, and clearer step-by-step directions. It was first published on May 22, 2016.