{recipe} Bulgogi Sloppy Joes with Spicy Mayo

Sloppy Joes + Korean BBQ – how could I possibly resist? Answer: I couldn’t. Result: perfection on a bun.

The recipe is based on one I saw in the New York Times, but it’s a) behind a paywall now, and b) more complex than the recipe I actually made. A few notes to make your life easier: since you are supposed to puree the Asian pear, you might as well take advantage of the food processor for other parts of the prep. So I used the shredding blade to julienne the onions, carrot, and garlic first, then dumped those out and switched to the normal blade to puree the pear. This cut down significantly on prep time. The brisket can be tough to slice but it’s easier if you stick it in the freezer for about 30 minutes and sharpen your butcher knife well. And do make sure you get really good-quality buns.

I also cooked up most of the shredded carrots with the meat (they were stuck to it anyway.) This turned out to be a great idea because they got very dark and caramelized and added a lot of depth to the sandwich.

Last thing: you may think about buttering the toasted buns. In fact, I forgot to butter them but the sandwiches were still very rich and definitely not lacking for fatty goodness. I can’t believe I’m going to recommend this, but… I don’t think you need butter on these. I would skip it.

(Somewhere, a pig just flew. Probably through a very cold and ice-filled Hell.)

RECIPE: Bulgogi Sloppy Joes
serves 6


For the bulgogi: 

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tblsp sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 Tblsp sesame oil
  • 3 Tblsp sake (filtered)
  • 2 Tblsp mirin
  • 1 Asian pear, peeled, cored and puréed in a food processor
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 white or yellow onion, peeled and grated
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 2 pounds beef brisket, sliced thinly

For the spicy mayo:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tblsp soy sauce
  • 3 Tblsp sriracha

To serve:

  • 6 soft hamburger buns
  • 1 bunch chopped scallions, tossed with a dash of rice vinegar and sesame oil


For the bulgogi:

  • Combine everything except the brisket in a large bowl to make the marinade. Add brisket and mix to coat well. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on top so the brisket stays in the marinade, then put another piece of plastic wrap around the top of the bowl tightly. Refrigerate at least six hours or up to 24 hours.

For the spicy mayo:

  • Combine everything in a bowl. Cover and store in the fridge until ready to use. Can be made up to a day in advance.

To cook and serve:

  • Heat a large saute pan over high heat. Pull meat slices out of marinade with tongs, and cook, turning often, until liquid evaporates and edges are crisp. Cook in batches so the pan does not overcrowd.
  • Toast hamburger buns. Spread spicy mayo on buns and arrange bulgogi on bottom side. Top with scallions and other half of bun.


You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. mjskit says:

    What a great sloppy Joe recipe! I can see why you couldn’t resist it.

  2. Carole says:

    Hi Karen, today I’m collecting barbecue and grilling recipes Please drop me a line on ca4ole@gmail.com if you are ok with me linking to your post in my blog (Carole’s Chatter). Cheers