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Monday, September 5, 2016

Bulgogi Sloppy Joes With Scallion Salsa

Sam Sifton
 Yield Serves 6

The dish is the Korean barbecue standard known as bulgogi — “fire meat,” is the literal translation — transformed into a sandwich filling, a sloppy Joe for a more perfect union. (File under “Blessings of Liberty.”) Fed to children with a tall glass of milk, the sandwiches may inspire smiles and licked plates, rapt attention and the request that the meal be served at least monthly — they are not at all too spicy for younger palates. Given to adults accompanied by cold lager, cucumber kimchi and a pot of the fermented Korean hot-pepper paste known as gochujang, they can rise to higher planes. 

Bulgogi sandwiches are a taste of the sort of home cooking that can lead to more home cooking. They serve as fragrant hamburger crushers, elegant vanquishers of pizza. They are an enemy of takeout.

To cook them, you can follow the instructions slavishly, as if working for Hooni Kim, the chef and owner of Danji, on the edge of the theater district in Manhattan. Bulgogi “sliders” are a hallmark of his menu and by far the restaurant’s most popular dish. This recipe is his.

Featured in: The Bulgogi Slider Is A Delicious Curveball.

For the bulgogi
1 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon peeled and grated garlic
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons mirin
1 Asian pear, peeled, cored and puréed in a food processor
1 small carrot peeled and sliced into julienne
1 medium white onion peeled and sliced into julienne
1 cup apple juice
2 pounds beef brisket, chilled slightly and sliced thin

For the spicy mayonnaise
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons hot chili sauce, ideally Sriracha

For the scallion salsa
½ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons gochugaru (Korean red-pepper flakes)
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 bunches scallions, cleaned, dried and sliced on the bias
 Unsalted butter
6 soft hamburger buns

For the bulgogi
1. In a large, nonreactive bowl, combine the soy sauce, sugar, garlic, sesame oil, sake, mirin, pear, carrot, onion and apple juice. Add the sliced brisket, stir to combine, cover tightly and place in the refrigerator overnight or for at least six hours.
2. Meanwhile, in a small, nonreactive bowl, combine the mayonnaise, soy sauce and hot chili sauce and stir to combine. Taste and adjust flavors, then cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
3. When you are ready to make the sandwiches, set one very large sauté pan (or two large ones) over high heat. Using tongs, lift meat from marinade in batches, allow to drain well, then cook, turning occasionally until the excess liquid has evaporated and the edges of the beef have started to crisp.
4. Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the salsa except for the scallions, then stir to combine.
5. Toast and butter the hamburger buns. Spread spicy mayonnaise on the buns, and using tongs, cover one side of each set of buns with bulgogi. Add a large pinch of scallions on top of each burger and drizzle with the dressing. Serve with cucumber kimchi (see recipe).

Adapted from Hooni Kim, Danji restaurant, New York
Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)
1084 calories; 77 grams fat; 15 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 18 grams monounsaturated fat; 8 grams polyunsaturated fat; 54 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 24 grams sugars; 38 grams protein; 157 milligrams cholesterol; 4370 milligrams sodium

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