An avid outdoorsman, Mike Rakun, owner and chef at Longtrees Woodfire Grill in Alexandria, looks for any opportunity to get into the wilderness.
Any given season, you can find him tapping into nature's bounty – foraging wild plants and mushrooms, picking up produce from local farmers or reveling in his favorite outdoor activity – hunting.
Everything from grouse up in the range to moose in the Yukon River Valley of Alaska, Rakun hunts, cooks and eats what’s in season. While Rakun likes to let the flavor of his meat speak for itself by simply seasoning it with salt and pepper and ensuring he doesn’t overcook it, his favorite recipe to wow even the pickiest of crowds is Bulgogi.
The best part is that this variation of a Korean BBQ is perfect for using up those tougher cuts of meat like the leg, rump roast or skirt steak.
Mike’s Wild Game Bulgogi
1 lb frozen game meat – venison, elk, wild boar, moose, etc.
Remove the meat from the freezer to partially thaw (20-30 mins). Keeping meat partially frozen helps allow you to cut the meat into thinner slices
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 to 2 tbsp red chili paste (chili garlic sauce, Sriracha or gochujang)
1 tbsp plain or toasted sesame oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp fresh peeled ginger or substitute 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp black pepper
Optional 1/2 cup grated or minced Asian Pear (any pear can be substituted, the pear helps tenderize the meat)
1 to 2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 bunch green onions
2 tsp sesame seeds
Combine marinade ingredients in a food processor until smooth or finely mince the garlic, ginger and pear and whisk together with the rest of the ingredients in a glass bowl, baking dish or gallon ziplock bag.
Now that your marinade is ready, slice the partially thawed meat against the grain as thin as possible and put into the marinade. Be sure your meat is evenly coated, then cover and refrigerate for 2-plus hours or overnight.
On high heat, add some oil to your frying pan, cast iron pan or our favorite, a pancake griddle. Working in small batches, sear the marinated meat on each side no more than 3 minutes per slice. Remove and cover to keep warm. Adding more oil as necessary, continue until all your meat is cooked.
Garnish your Bulgogi with sliced green onions and a sprinkling of sesame seeds over top. Keep it simple by serving it on warm rice or get creative and use it in lettuce wraps, add to stir fried veggies, or have Korean style tacos!