One of the things I love most about Korean food is how similar it is to American southern food. The flavors are definitely different, but the soul of the food is the same. It’s comfort food in every sense of the phrase: Food that has been fine-tuned by generations of tradition and adaptation that makes you feel at home regardless of where you are.
This venison bulgogi is a simple and quick dish that hits all those feel-good vibes with a dash of imported flavor. The venison is sliced thin and marinated in a savory mix of sesame oil, chili paste, and soy sauce then grilled over high heat. This bit of smokiness and char paired with the touch of sweetness from the brown sugar reminds me of sticky BBQ ribs, but with a little less richness and a bit more umami.
Pair this bulgogi with rice and classic bonchan sides for a Korean-style feast, or wrap with lettuce for a bright appetizer. The sticky, savory, sweet marinade will work with just about any meat, and is a great dish any time of the year, but it shines in the summer, when the days are long and the garden is in full bloom.
- 1½ pounds of venison top round, bottom round, or backstrap
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp. ginger, minced
- 2 tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. gochujang
- Sesame seeds
- Scallions, sliced
Also works with
- Trim venison of all connective tissue, then place the venison in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to firm up before slicing. Slice across the grain into ⅛ inch slices.
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix. Reserve about ⅓ of the marinade, and pour the rest over the sliced venison and mix until evenly coated. Wrap and refrigerate overnight or for 4 hours minimum. Tip: If you’re in a rush, you can vacuum seal the marinated meat. This speeds up the marinade process, and you can use it in under an hour.
- Preheat your grill to high heat. Using tongs, quickly place the slices of venison on the grill grates. They only need a minute on each side. Rotate the slices as soon as they show some char, and cook for another minute maximum.
- Once all the meat is cooked, pour the reserved marinade over the cooked meat and toss to evenly coat.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions, and serve with rice, kimchi, and any bonchan sides, or with lettuce to wrap up into hand rolls.