Guest Post: Feeding a Crowd with GF Local Beef Bulgogi

Today we have a guest post from Courtney at Maui Jungalow. She’s a local blogger who writes about life on Maui with a focus on Upcountry and rural settings. She’s also a friend of mine. So, let’s welcome my first guest blogger and her post for Beef Bulgogi!

Feeding a Crowd with GF Local Beef Bulgogi

This is a follow up to the Perils of Pauline Potluck post with tips on potluck planning.
What worked: The food turned out fine.
I had gone to a local packing house the day before and picked up 9 lbs of local beef. Most of it was frozen beef chuck, but it turned out great by using green papaya to tenderize the beef.
Secret tip: Green papaya has enzymes
which tenderize meat.
Then I marinated it in a Korean bulgogi sauce which I got from By the way, the “gogi” beef at the Eat Gogi food truck on Maui is also Korean beef bulgogi. I’m sure they use a proprietary recipe, but the main ingredients are similar to what I used.
Needed enough beef to feed what I thought might be oh, 30+ people. Ha ha ha. In my dreams. I adjusted the proportions to make 9 times the quantity in the recipe, and I wanted it to be gluten free for some gluten free friends.  Good thing I actually read the ingredients in the soy sauce label. I forgot that soy sauce is made from wheat which has gluten. Oh no!  I didn’t have enough Braggs Liquid Aminos to substitute, so I went to Haiku Grocery and looked for Braggs or tamari (wheat free soy sauce) which were pricey, but I did get a bottle of tamari. I also didn’t have enough sesame oil, and it was eye-openingly expensive, so I decided to fudge – a lot. It still wasn’t enough tamari to make what I needed so I ended up changing the recipe quite a bit.
Grilled beef bulgogi
The big fear was that the meat wouldn’t taste right. At the potluck, Suzanne’s husband did the grilling and I tried to not think about the beef. When the meat was served, I closed my eyes and took a bite. It was fine, no it was very good, no it was reallyono (delicious). Everyone ate a lot of meat, and seconds or thirds, and asked how to make it. Here it is!
This recipe is practically idiot proof. You can take the ratios and make them quite different, do a lot of substitutions, and it will still taste really good. And you can also use this on tofu, to make a vegetarian bulgogi. Remember, you can also just go to the original allrecipes version too, and make a much smaller amount (and you can certainly tweak it around).
Modified Gluten Free Korean Bulgogi for a big barbeque
9 lbs of beef
½ cup or more green papaya shredded, to tenderize the meat
½ cup Braggs + ¾ cup tamari
18 cloves of mashed garlic
1-2 cups of green onion, processed in food processor
8 Tablespoons sesame oil.
¼ cup of tahini, since I didn’t have enough sesame oil
6 tablespoons sugar – I didn’t want to use sugar, but didn’t have any agave syrup or alternative healthy sweetener. I also used quite a bit less sugar than what the original recipe called for. I did end up adding 1 tablespoon of honey since I had it and wasn’t sure it’d be sweet enough.
5 Tablespoons sesame seeds – if I had used the original recipe, I would have ended up with 18 tablespoons
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of pepper
Place beef in a shallow dish. Coat beef with shredded green papaya and let sit for at least an hour before adding the other ingredients. I ended up needing to use a large crock pot liner, it was the only thing big enough.
Mix other ingredients together and slather beef with mixture. Let sit overnight in the fridge.I’d actually prefer this recipe to be posted on GFree Maui’ssite, but haven’t talked with her about it, and she can’t vouch for the taste.

Shredded green papaya over local beef.
The rest of the event was fine too and very impromptu. We ate about half of the beef I had marinated, so I had a freezer full of Korean bulgogi beef  – down to 1 pound now. Nothing started when I thought it would, in a typically Maui fashion. I had called the event a Memory Lane potluck with a focus on photo sharing, but the focus started out with food.
Honey girls after tasting three kinds of honey.
We even had an impromptu honey tasting – one honey from Mark and Leah Damon’s farmup the road, tupelo honey from the South, and a creamed local honey. Then we finally got around to sharing (and guessing) photos from our childhood and of our parents. This actually turned out to be quite funny, especially when we figured out that one person forgot to bring any photos!  Nothing ended when I thought it would, in a typical Maui fashion. It would have taken forever if more than 9 people had showed up.  Informally, we’re planning a collage making potluck next month, and will see how well that works!
Thank you Courtney for sharing this delicious looking recipe, and for sharing your day with us. The original posting can be found here.

2 thoughts on “Guest Post: Feeding a Crowd with GF Local Beef Bulgogi”

  1. Hi, I am travelling to Maui in July and I have a gluten allergy (but also I am vegan). It makes it very difficult to find places to eat. Any ideas? Best grocery store, etc. We are staying at the Fairmont Kei Lani I think.

    1. If you’re staying at the Fairmont Kea Lani, that means you’ll be in Wailea. This is a nice area very near some very nice beaches, and is actually on the beach. It’s quite a beautiful hotel. Anyway, the nearest area with grocery stores is Kihei, about a 5-10 minute drive away. If you can get some cooking devices from your hotel you could always buy some of the wonderful fresh produce on offer at the open air markets, or at the grocery stores in Kihei (Times, Foodland, Safeway). There is also a health food store in Kihei called “Hawaiian Moons.” I’ve never actually been in there, but according to a friend who stayed in Kihei last fall, they have a pretty good selection of gluten free items. You could also check out Down to Earth health food emporium in Kahului (the town where the airport is, about a 25-30 minute drive from where you’re staying). It’s all vegetarian, and they have many gluten free items in their freezers and on their shelves. I wouldn’t trust ordering a deli item though, or eating from the hot bar. Whole Foods Market is also around the corner in Kahului. On Saturdays there is a huge farmers market behind the college in Kahului. It’s worth checking out for the wonderful produce.

      As I am not vegan, I can’t say which restaurants will be able to accommodate both gluten free and vegan needs. I’m terribly sorry. I suggest calling ahead.

      Enjoy your stay!

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