This is another one of my favorite recipes from my childhood. I still remember the first time we ate it at a relative's house. I think I was in elementary school at the time. One of my distant relatives had been stationed in South Korea and had brought this recipe home to share with family. I remember thinking it was a real treat to make my own lettuce wraps and eat with my hands. It's been a family staple ever since and is now one of my 3 year old's favorite meals. Seeing him make his own lettuce wraps is the cutest thing.
Bulgogi translates to "fire meat" in Korean and is typically cooked over an open flame. The meat in this recipe isn't prepared traditionally but it's the way I've always eaten it and it is delicious! Plus, it's super simple to make. If you get the meat marinating the night before, you can easily whip up the whole meal in 20 minutes on a weeknight. I also like to make a couple batches and freeze the marinated raw meat in freezer zippered bags.
Bulgogi is traditionally made with beef but it works great with wild game as well. Follow a few simple rules for this recipe, and you'll be good to go!
1. Slice the meat thin. Really thin. This is important for many reasons - it absorbs more flavor from the marinade, cooks quicker, and is more tender.
2. Make sure the meat has time to marinate really well.
3. Add something spicy (sriracha, sambal oelek, gochujang, etc.)
4. Don't be afraid to eat with your hands!
Venison Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps
- 1 ½ lb venison bottom round roast (or other roast or steak cut)
- 6 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoon sugar
- ½ cup sliced green onions
- 2 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 head green leaf lettuce
- 5 cups cooked sticky rice (short grain white rice)
- hot sauce (sambal oelek, gochujang, sriracha, etc.)
- Cut meat into thin slices. The meat is much easier to cook if you don't thaw it fully. Place meat slices on a paper towel lined plate. Refrigerate for a couple of hours to let the paper towels soak up juices as the meat thaws the rest of the way.
- Combine remaining bulgogi ingredients in a medium bowl. Add in sliced meat. Stir to combine. Marinate for at least a couple hours, preferably overnight. Stir the meat at least once to redistribute the marinade at least once sometime during the marinating time.
- Add meat to a large skillet on the stove. Heat over medium-high heat until mixture starts bubbling. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 15-20 more minutes.
- While meat is cooking, wash lettuce and prepare rice according to package directions.
- To prepare lettuce wraps, add rice, meat with sauce, and a little hot sauce to a piece of lettuce. Wrap it up and enjoy! This recipe is meant for each person to dish up rice, meat and lettuce make their own lettuce wraps as they eat them.
- This recipe also freezes very well if you make an extra batch or 2. After adding the sliced meat to the marinade, place it in a gallon-size zippered bag and freeze flat. Thaw and cook by following instructions above.