Korean Beef Skewers

Korean beef skewers are ideal for a backyard barbecue, or for a weeknight dinner. The sweet and salty marinade transforms the beef into pure deliciousness when it hits the grill. Be sure to allow time for marinating the beef and if you are using wooden skewers, to soak them in water for 30 minutes before use to ensure that they don’t catch fire on the grill.


Korean Beef Skewers


  • 1 Asian pear, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ½ cup soy sauce, preferably dark
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half, any green center discarded
  • 2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 1 inch strips


  • ½ pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch lengths (if the carrot is fat, cut it in half lengthwise first)
  • 1 large bunch asparagus, trimmed (see Kitchen Tip) and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces, stem ends discarded


  1. Prepare the marinade: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the Asian pear and onion until finely chopped. Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame seed oil, black pepper, and garlic and pulse to combine.
  2. Pour the marinade into a very large zip-top plastic bag (for extra sturdiness, put the bag in a bowl). Place the meat into it and refrigerate for 3 hours and up to 12 hours.
    When you are ready to cook, soak 12 bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes while you prepare the vegetables.
  3. Place the carrots into a microwave-safe bowl with 2 tablespoons water and microwave on high until they are soft in the center (the time this takes will depend on your microwave and the size of the carrot pieces). Set aside.
  4. Prepare a cast-iron grill pan, or heat your grill to high, until it is very hot.
  5. Remove the meat from the bag and put it into a small bowl, discarding the marinade (see Kitchen Tip).
  6. Thread a scallion, a piece of meat, a chunk each of asparagus, carrot, and scallion, another piece of meat, and so on, onto the skewer until you get to 1 inch from the end (you should have about 4 pieces of meat per skewer). Place a few skewers on the grill and sear for about 2 minutes, turn, and cook on the other side for an additional 2 minutes, for very rare, or until it is as cooked as you like. Serve immediately. These are great over simple steamed rice.

Kitchen Tips

  • To prepare asparagus, first snap off the rough, woody ends—you’ll find the natural breaking point. Discard the ends. With a vegetable peeler, peel the remaining stem ends, and proceed with the recipe.

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