There are times when pit jockeys, such as myself, just mull around grill side, sipping a glass of inspiration while thinking about grilling something a little different, you know? We continuously look for new and different edibles that will simultaneously wake up and appease our taste buds. Well, reader, that day is upon us, as a flip through a random magazine put out by the fine folks at HyVee Stores inserted a single, fun-to-say word in my head that stuck there and ended up changing my day.
Bulgogi, I simply said to myself.
Bulgogi, I whispered to myself, with lips moving, head slightly nodding and eyebrows raised. I’ve found that these actions, when happening in harmony, generally signify approval.
So Bulgogi Beef Skewers it is, and as it turns out, as much as I love saying the word, it’s not near the excitement and satisfaction that I received by actually eating the Korean-inspired, marinated, quick-grilled beef.
I think that you’ll love it too. So let’s get after it, and grill up some bulgogi beef skewers, with a side of smoked chili-lime sauce.
The beef is an inside skirt steak, membrane removed. At a little over a pound, it was the perfect size and type of beef for this dish.
No preliminary rub needed, and the overnight marinade is as easy as a morning stroll along your favorite trout stream in the springtime. It consists of equal parts, give or take, depending on your specific likes and dislikes, of soy sauce, sesame oil, freshly grated ginger and garlic, sugar, and quality crushed red pepper. I added in a little more red pepper and a little less garlic, based on my mood at the moment, which was, I’d like more red pepper and a little less garlic!
Give it a good mix, getting it into a semi-paste that is thick, but loose, firm, but flowing, innocent looking, but packed with flavor…You get the idea.
Now dump all that luscious color into a resealable bag with the meat. Press out the air, seal it up tight, and let it work, turning occasionally for maximum surface coverage.
Meanwhile, the grill is prepped for a medium-high to high, direct cook over quality lump charcoal. You want it blazing for this recipe.
And if you want a side sauce, this is a good one, with equal parts (2 tbsp) smoked chili sauce and soy sauce, plus 1 tbsp each of lime juice and sugar. That’s it!
The beef and veggie skewers I built were your standard variety, consisting of what you like or have available. Just remember to keep the choices and pieces consistent so that everything can cook in about the same time frame. In this case, the 1/4 inch strips of marinated skirt steak were accompanied by red pearl onions, a favorite when grilling, sliced peppers and zucchini.
Now I don’t need to tell you how to arrange a skewer, but that’s the next step.
When they are all threaded and ready to go, lay them over the coals and get to grilling.
Keep rolling the skewers every few minutes until a nice char develops and the beef is a tender medium rare, only about 10-12 minutes or so total, but as always, it will depend on your fire.
If you see fit, and I did, spin a couple of tortillas on the grill shortly before finishing the skewers to warm and soften, because dang if these won’t slide nicely off the skewer right into that tortilla that’s clenched in your hungry little hand.
I laid those grill-warmed tortillas out, topped with the bulgogi beef skewers and drizzled a bit of the smoked chili-lime sauce on them, and it was almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
But pretty or not, it was time to eat.
Because Life Is Better Wood Fired