Slow Cooker Korean Beef
Korean slow cooker meat is absolutely full of flavor and has the most delicious aroma while cooking! The tender pieces of beef are slowly simmered in a dark and delicious spicy and sweet sauce with pieces of fresh pear. Served on a bed of jasmine rice, it is a fantastic alternative to fake night.
Slow Cooker Korean Beef (
One of Korea’s most famous dishes is Bulgogi, which literally translates to “fire meat.” It is made with strips of beef steak that are covered with a highly seasoned and sometimes seasoned marinade and then cooked over a barbecue.
Since then, this dish has been developed into grilled and stir-fry variations, and is often referred to simply as “Korean meat.” So it seems only fair that there is also a slow cooker version, and here it is!
The highly aromatic marinade for Korean meat is common in all Bulgogi recipes. Its base flavors are soy, ginger, garlic, sugar, and sesame, and some variations include fresh pears and other spices.
In my recipe I add chili flakes to heat and also a Korean paste called Gochujang. This pasta is a combination of soy, brown rice, salt, red pepper and chili and has an incredible depth of flavor that really intensifies the sauce.
I also like to include fresh pear in the recipe as it softens beautifully in the slow cooker and provides contrast against the heat of chili and pasta
This is one of my favorite things to cook for the fake night in the slow cooker, we eat it too often. The smell that permeates the house during the day is simply divine, and I hope to eat it all day, it tastes so good!
Ingredients in Korean slow cooker meat
Here’s what you need to make it
- – A cut of marbled beef works best. I use Bavette steaks (also known as skirt or flank) as the meat is always tender without disintegrating! I keep the strips cut thickly so that they retain the shape.
- Gochujang Pasta – Thick, deep red with a little heat and a lot of flavor – this pasta is a must for the most amazing sauce. After trying numerous types, my favorite is this one from Chung Jung One, which has a lovely spicy touch.
- Red Wine Vinegar – A dark, fruity vinegar that helps balance the sweetness of sugar and pear.
- Soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger – all help create a deeply aromatic flavor base.
- Chili flakes – An optional addition if you want extra heat.
- Sugar – The soft brown sugar makes the sauce dark and almost syrupy in texture, perfect with the spices and heat of chili.
- Pear – Asian pears are typical in Korean dishes as they contain an enzyme that helps tenderize meat and also taste great against the salinity of soy. They are different to the varieties we have here in the UK in that they are larger and much crunchier in texture, almost like an apple. They’re also harder to get here, so in this recipe I substitute them for a lecture or blushing pear (or sometimes a mild-tasting apple like pink lady or golden delicious).
- Onion – To intensify the flavors
- Apple juice – A small amount to make the sauce, also helps keep the meat tender
- Cornmeal – Acts as a thickener for the sauce.
How to make Slow Cooker Korean Beef
Follow these six easy steps to make delicious Korean meat in the slow cooker.
- Marinada – Mix ginger, sugar, pasta, soy, vinegar and garlic. Add the chili flakes now if you want it to be hot!
- Prepare the meat – Cut the meat into 3cm strips. When making Bulgogi on the grill it is typical for the steak to be finely cut. However, larger pieces of meat work best with this amazing sauce, trust me! Mix the meat in the marinade and leave on for about 2-3 hours. The spices will impart a lot of flavor to the meat and the vinegar will start the softening process.
- : peel both, cut the onion and cut the pear into pieces. Put them in the slow cooker and sprinkle over the cornmeal.
- Thicken – Mix the cornmeal with the pear and onion to make sure everything is evenly covered.
- Add the meat – Place the meat in the slow cooker and be sure to scrape the bowl, don’t waste any marinades!
- Apple juice – Adding apple juice is not typical in Bulgogi, but I do it here because it is necessary for the slow cooker to keep the meat pleasant and soft. It also gives you a spicy and sweet sauce to serve with any accompaniments like rice or noodles. Pour it into the pot, stir and simmer for 6-7 hours or high for 5 hours.
Add the onion and pear
Serve slow-cooked Korean beef with freshly steamed jasmine rice. For an extra crunch, add some chopped scallion and a pinch of sesame seeds.
It also tastes great when served with freshly cooked noodles, udon works particularly well. Mix the noodles in the meat and sauce before serving so that they are well covered and glazed.
On the other hand, you can also serve some kimchi, which is a traditional Korean dish of salted and pickled vegetables. Although it is not of Korean origin, I also like to serve some crispy vegetable spring rolls or gyoza dumplings.
If you want to add vegetables to the sauce, I like to add red or green peppers (pepper) or carrot strips, these should be served quite crispy. To help vegetables retain their shape and texture, cut them into pieces and add them to the pot halfway through the cooking time.
Vegetables will always release varying degrees of water while cooking, so the sauce will be thinner. Adding some extra cornmeal at first can help with this.
What can you do with leftover Korean meat?
This recipe will serve four with rice and a side dish. If you have some leftover meat, why not try one of these ideas?
- Store and reheat and then serve with rice or noodles.
- Shred and then reheat served on paper with crispy lettuce and scallions! This makes it a great choice for lunch.
- A fresh and delicious alternative is to serve it on top of an Asian-inspired salad with red onion, grated carrot, cucumber, edamame beans and sesame seeds.
Tips for Korean Meat in the Slow Cooker
- The Cut of Meat – It’s All About the Meat! Large juicy chunks that fall apart as you eat them is the goal here and to achieve this you can’t use the leaner cuts. They will end up hard after being cooked slowly. Bavette steak is perfect for this recipe, and the best part? It turns out to be one of the cheapest cuts!
- Pasta – Gochujang pasta is gaining popularity here in the UK and several brands are becoming more common on supermarket shelves. However, they have different levels of spices and aroma. The one I use is particularly aromatic and has a medium level of spices, so if you use a different brand, you may need to adjust the soy (salinity) and chili (heat) to suit your personal taste.
- Heat level: I include chili flakes in the marinade for the dish which are then cooked for the entire duration because I like this hot dish. Cooking chili peppers intensifies their heat, so if you prefer less kick of fire, leave them all together or add them at the end. Also keep in mind that even the smallest pinch of chili can add serious heat, so add small amounts.