Spicy Pork Belly Bulgogi

Crispy, fatty pieces of pork belly. Gochujang-based marinade. Spicy Pork Belly Bulgogi is the indulgent dish you’ll want to cook over and over again.

One day, my Korean grandmother (Halmoni) made Spicy Pork Belly Bulgogi for my husband. He loved it and couldn’t stop raving. She beamed in delight. I knew what would happen.

Sure enough, Halmoni made this dish whenever we visited. Each time, Paul ate it with gusto, scraping the plate clean. Even now, this is his favorite dish to order in Korean restaurants. And every time, he still comments, “It’s not as good as Halmoni’s.”

Back then, Spicy Pork Belly Bulgogi was Halmoni’s special dish. She marinated pork belly strips and broiled them in the oven, watching carefully so they didn’t burn. This wasn’t an everyday dish but more indulgent. Most pork bulgogi recipes use pork shoulder or butt. Halmoni’s version used pork belly, which is basically uncured bacon.

Now you can make this popular Korean dish at home. Make it for the people you love, the way Halmoni made it for Paul. Their bellies and hearts will be full!

spicy pork belly bulgogi on dark plate with rice bowl and lettuce on a plate


  • Pork Belly. Pork belly is uncured bacon. You can find fresh pork belly strips in most Asian grocery stores. Make sure to buy pork belly with lots of meat vs fat, like the pork belly pictured below. Also, pork belly without skin will taste best in this recipe, as the skin will be too chewy and rubbery for this particular cooking method. Read the packaging carefully — it should be clearly labeled “no skin.”
  • Gochujang. Gochujang is Korean fermented chili paste that everyone seems to be loving right now. Amazingly, you can order Gochujang on Amazon or find it in the Asian food aisle of most standard grocery stores. If not, a trip to the Asian grocery store should do the trick. Gochujang keeps forever in the fridge, like ketchup or sriracha. Just make sure to keep it well covered.
  • Asian Pear. Asian pear tastes like a crispy hybrid between an apple and pear. The skin is usually brown and thick. My recipe calls for 1/2 large Asian pear, as most are about the size of a large grapefruit. I eat the other half or feed it to my kids while cooking.
  • Onion + Garlic + Ginger. The essential aromatics!
  • Soy Sauce. For umami-richness and depth of flavor.
  • Gochukaru. Korean dried chili flakes. Adds a floral, smoky, spicy flavor and nice texture.
  • Sugar. To balance all the spicy heat!
  • Mirin/Mirim. Korean/Japanese sweet cooking wine.

How to Make Spicy Pork Belly Bulgogi:

1. Grate onion and Asian pear with a box grater. Or, whizz onion, Asian pear, garlic, and ginger in a food processor until pureed.

2. Add grated onion and Asian pear to a bowl with the rest of the marinade ingredients. Mix well with spoon.

3. Add long strips of pork belly and mix well. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes or refrigerate overnight.

4. Preheat the broiler for 10 minutes and reposition top rack so that it’s 3-4 inches from the heating element. Lay pork belly on a foil-lined baking sheet, making sure there’s a little bit of breathing room between each.

5. Broil for 5-8 minutes on each side until meat is cooked through and crispy on the edges with charred bits. You’ll have to watch the pork carefully so that it doesn’t burn too much. Also, rotate the pieces with tongs so they receive equal heat from the broiler.

6. Cut into bite-sized pieces and transfer to a serving platter. Serve immediately with rice, lettuce wraps, and Ssamjang or Gochujang Sauce. Enjoy!

spicy pork belly bulgogi on dark plate with rice bowl and lettuce on a plate

How to serve Spicy Pork Belly Bulgogi:

There are many ways to enjoy Spicy Pork Belly Bulgogi.

The classic Korean way: add lettuce wraps (green or red leaf lettuce), rice, and a classic Korean sauce such as Ssamjang or Gochujang Sauce. Korean BBQ at its best!

Or serve with rice and a fried egg. Simple and fast!

For a larger party, serve as a main course alongside LA Galbi and a big platter of Bibim Guksu to share. YUM!

dark plate of spicy pork belly bulgogi with grey napkin

What is Korean Bulgogi?

If you’re wondering why so many Korean dishes are called “bulgogi” that’s because it’s a catch-all term that literally translates to “fire meat.” Bulgogi generally refers to any kind of thinly sliced meat that’s cooked over a flame.

There’s Beef Bulgogi, the Korean classic that everyone knows and loves.

Bulgogi on a plate

Then there’s Chicken Bulgogi, an equally well-loved favorite, although somewhat lesser known.

chicken bulgogi piled into white bowl garnished with green onions

Also, Spicy Korean Pork is technically a bulgogi recipe, although I named it more generically. This recipe is good for weeknights or everyday eating because the meat is more lean (pork shoulder/butt vs pork belly).

Spicy Korean Pork, platter
spicy pork belly bulgogi on dark plate with rice bowl and lettuce on a plate

Spicy Pork Belly Bulgogi

The Subversive Table
Crispy, fatty pieces of pork belly. Gochujang-based marinade. Spicy Pork Belly Bulgogi is the indulgent dish you'll want to cook over and over again.
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Marinating Time 30 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course BBQ, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Korean
Servings 4


  • sheet pan



  • 1.5 lb thick cut pork belly strips


  • 1/2 large asian pear peeled and cored
  • 1 small onion peeled
  • 1/2 cup Gochujang Korean fermented chili paste
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp mirin or rice wine
  • 2 Tbsp Gochukaru Korean chili flakes/powder
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 inch fresh ginger minced


  • Grate onion and asian pear with box grater. (Alternately, you can whizz onion, asian pear, garlic, and ginger in food processor until pureed.)
    box grater in bowl with grated onion and asian pear
  • Add grated onion and asian pear to large bowl. Add remaining marinade ingredients. Mix thoroughly with spoon.
    half mixed meat marinade in stainless steel bowl with spoon
  • Add pork belly and mix with hands until thoroughly coated. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes. Or, marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
    raw pork belly with spicy gochujang marinade in stainless steel bowl
  • Position oven rack 3-4 inches from the heat element. Preheat oven to BROIL for at least 10 minutes. Line a sheet pan with foil for easier clean up.
    Add pork belly strips to sheet pan, making sure not to crowd the pan. Broil until crispy looking and browned, about 5-8 minutes for each side. Keep broiling until pork belly is cooked through with charred bits and crispy edges.
    You'll have to watch the pork carefully so that it doesn't burn too much. Also, rotate the pieces with tongs so they receive equal heat from the broiler.
    cooked spicy pork belly bulgogi in sheet pan
  • Cut into bite-sized strips and transfer to serving platter. Garnish with green onion and sesame seeds, if desired. Serve immediately with rice, lettuce wraps, and ssamjang.
    spicy pork belly bulgogi on dark plate with rice bowl and lettuce on a plate


*Fresh pork belly strips come in two options:  with skin or without skin.  For this recipe, choose pork belly WITHOUT skin.  The skin makes this dish too chewy and rubbery.  
Keyword Bulgogi, Pork, Spicy
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
All Recipes, Dinner with Friends, Gochujang, Korean, Main, Popular Recipes, Pork, Sheet Pan


  1. 5 stars
    This marinade is the best! I slow cook the pork belly first in foil for a couple of hours to render some of the fat. Then marinate overnight in the fridge. Next day, broil, slice and make pork belly tacos with pickled cucumber, red onion and jalapeno…and more marinade. A huge hit with everyone.

  2. 5 stars
    Another keeper! Used Costco pork belly and cooked on stovetop grill Korean BBQ style. Huge hit.

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve made this a few times, and my family loves it. I usually make a double batch of marinade because I get a big pack of pork belly from Costco (plus I get to use the other half of the Asian pear).
    I like to put the leftover marinade in a pot, and simmer it on the stove for a while so it’s safe, and add some to the meat after it’s cooked and chopped up. Yummy!

  4. Hi. This recipe looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it. Can you recommend a substitute for Asian Pear?

    • If you don’t have Asian Pear, a Fuji apple also works. In a pinch, I’ve also used a very ripe Bosc or Bartlett Pear. Technically, apple sauce should also work but I’ve never tried it? Good luck!

  5. Hi! Do you recommend broil on high or low?

  6. Th?y Giang

    5 stars
    Thank for your recipe, it easy to cook and dilicious

  7. 5 stars
    I made this using thin sliced pork belly because that’s what they had at the store. I marinaded it overnight and cooked in a cast iron pan and it turned out amazing. Even the people who don’t normally love spicy food couldn’t stop eating it.

  8. Tanika Byrd

    Can I use the thin cut rolled pork belly that’s found at the Asian market?

    • Yes you can definitely use think cut rolled pork belly but the cook time won’t be as long. It will also have a different texture. I’ve used this marinade with almost every cut of pork and it’s delicious! You may want to fry in a wok instead of using a sheet pan because it will cook very fast

  9. 5 stars
    I made this for my family and it was easy to make and so delicious! This has been great at home while we’ve not been able to eat in restaurants! Lis’ recipes are easy to follow and have brought Korean flavours into our meals. You won’t regret trying this at home!

  10. 5 stars
    This was so easy to make and really delicious, highly recommend!

  11. 5 stars
    I made this last night & my daughter said it was a restaurant quality dish. I served it with rice, lettuce leaves, chopped scallions & toasted sesame seeds as well as homemade pickled cucumber slices. It was fantastic! Definitely a keeper. Thank you.

  12. Angelica Ramon

    Instead of broiling can I cook in a pan?

    • Yes, you can cook this in a pan. Cut the pork belly strips beforehand in bite-sized pieces and cook in a hot wok or grill pan. If using a wok, it will be more saucy, like a stir fry.

      This dish is meant to mimic Korean BBQ. Typically, KBBQ is grilled over a smoking cast iron pan table side. Broiling is an easy substitute!

      Ive made this dish multiple times in multiple ways and they are all delicious, just different! Happy cooking!

  13. Pingback: Asian Collard Wraps + Spicy Peanut Sauce | The Subversive Table

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