Campfire Bulgogi Bowls To Satisfy All Of Your Camp Cravings

Get creative with marinated flank steak and your favorite vegetables.

By: Brooke Bass

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There really is nothing quite like flame-licked flank steak grilled over a campfire. The crispy edges, the tender middle, and the meaty smoke that wafts from the fire...hungry yet? Making a hearty, flavorful bowl of bulgogi, a rich Korean flank steak that’s cooked over an open flame, is also easier than you think. It requires just a little bit of advanced prep - marinating the meat and chopping the vegetables at home - but once you arrive at your campsite, tired and ready to dig into something savory, you’ll be glad you did it.

I use grilled broccolini, bean sprouts, and eggs to round out the bowls, but this really is a choose-your-own-adventure kind of dish. Don’t love broccolini? Use zucchini instead. Prefer raw vegetables? Add in a handful of julienned carrots and cucumbers. I garnish mine with sesame seeds, gochujang, and cilantro, but the meat in the bowls is so flavorful that they can really stand on their own if the garnishes are too much for your planning prowess. Whatever you do, have fun and get creative. After all, that’s what adventuring is all about.

Photo: Brooke Bass

Recipe: Campfire Bulgogi Bowls

Serves: 4

Ingredients for the marinated flank steak:

  • ¼ cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • ½ cup of soy sauce
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 pound of flank steak

Ingredients for the toppings:

  • 3 cups of cooked rice
  • 1 bunch of broccoli or broccolini, tough stems removed and grilled
  • 1 handful of bean sprouts, served raw
  • 4 eggs
  • gochujang (or sriracha) sauce
  • olive oil, for grilling toppings
  • salt and pepper, for grilling toppings
  • cilantro, for garnish

Photo: Brooke Bass


The night before:

Cook the rice and, once cooled, store in an airtight container in your camp cooler or refrigerator. Combine the brown sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, shallots, garlic, sesame seeds, salt and pepper in a large re-sealable container or a sturdy zip-top plastic bag, making sure ingredients are well mixed. Add the flank steak and chill for 12 to 24 hours, either in the refrigerator or in your camp cooler. Slice all vegetable toppings and seal in zip-top plastic bags or small containers.

The day of:

Place grill grate over fire, making sure there is both a high and low heat side of the grate. Low heat will be your safe space if your meat or veggies start to cook too quickly. Remove the flank steak from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Place directly over the flames on the grate and cook to desired doneness. I prefer medium-rare, which is about 2-3 minutes per side depending on how high your flame is. Check the meat periodically—if you notice it start to burn, either flip the meat or move it to the low-heat portion of the grill grate. Set aside flank steak and let rest while you prepare your toppings.

Photo: Brooke Bass

You can opt to use the vegetable toppings raw or, for a more intense flavor, you could grill them, using the leftover marinade to baste with, or, even simply tossing them with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper before grilling. Some toppings, like cucumbers, carrots, and sprouts, should be used raw. Other toppings, such as the broccoli, can be cooked directly on the grill grate. And still others, like mushrooms and zucchini will require a skillet, heated through over the fire. For simplicity, I’ve used grilled broccolini, raw bean sprouts, and eggs fried over the fire.

While eggs are cooking, slice the meat into thin bite-sized strips. Spoon rice into bowls and top each with meat, vegetables, and a fried egg. Garnish with gochujang sauce and cilantro (optional).

Photo: Brooke Bass

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