Korean Bulgogi Burgers with Cucumber & Asian Pear Slaw and Spicy Grilled Scallion Aioli

Pairs well with:


Hard to pronounce yet easy to drink, this wine combines lychee fruit and white peach flavors with a hint of spice.

I’ve always loved Korean cuisine, especially Bulgogi- a grilled beef dish marinated in a savory and slightly sweet soy sauce-based marinade.With this dish, I’ve tried to recreate those delicious flavors in the burger patties as well as in the glaze that I baste the patties with. Pureed Asian pear is an ingredient that is typically used in Bulgogi marinade but in my version, I top the burger with a crispy cucumber and Asian pear slaw to add bright flavor as well as a delightful crunch. To complement the sweet and savory patties and tangy slaw, I complete the burgers with a spicy grilled scallion aioli infused with a little heat. I hope you enjoy my updated version of traditional Korean Bulgogi!


Cucumber & Asian Pear Slaw:

6 tablespoons rice vinegar

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 large English cucumber, julienned (about 2 cups)

1 large, firm Asian pear, julienned (about 2 cups)

1 shallot, thinly sliced

Spicy Grilled Scallion Aioli:

2 scallions

1 teaspoon canola oil

1 cup Asian Kewpie mayonnaise (can substitute good quality mayonnaise)

4 teaspoons Sriracha hot sauce

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


6 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons mirin

1 ½ tablespoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons sugar

2 scallions, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, crushed with a garlic press (or finely minced)

2 lbs. ground beef chuck (80% lean)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon black pepper


¼ cup reduced sodium soy sauce

¼ cup mirin

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon cornstarch

Canola oil for brushing grill rack

6 good-quality brioche rolls, split


Preheat a gas grill to medium high heat.

To make the cucumber & Asian pear slaw, whisk the vinegar and sugar together in a medium bowl. Add the cucumber, Asian pear and shallot and toss to combine well. Place in a bowl, cover and refrigerate.

To make the spicy grilled scallion aioli, brush the scallions with the canola oil and place them on the grill. Grill 2-3 minutes on each side until slightly softened. Remove from grill and slice. Mix the mayonnaise, Sriracha and lime juice together in a small bowl. Stir in the sliced scallions. Cover and refrigerate.

To make the patties, mix the soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, sugar, scallions and garlic together in a large bowl. Add the ground beef, salt, and pepper and mix to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat. Form the meat into 6 equal patties making a slight indentation in the center of each one. Cover and set aside.

To make the glaze, mix the soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, sugar, water and cornstarch together in a small, fireproof saucepan. Heat the mixture on the grill, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat.

Brush the grill rack with canola oil. Place the burger patties on the rack, cover, and cook 4-6 minutes per side, basting with the glaze, until desired doneness is reached. Place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling.

To assemble the burgers, place a patty on each bun bottom and top with equal portions of the cucumber & Asian pear slaw. Spread equal amounts of the spicy grilled scallion aioli on the cut sides of the bun tops. Add bun tops and serve.