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Korean Fire Chicken

Grilled Korean Fire Chicken With Cheese (Buldak With Cheese)


Cheesy, melty Korean fire chicken, adapted from a recipe found at

This recipe calls for at least 45 minutes of marinating but is even better if marinated overnight. Plan accordingly!


For the sauce:

  • 1/2 C chicken stock
  • 1/2soy sauce
  • 1/4 C corn syrup or honey
  • 1/4gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 1/4 C fine ground gochugaru (Korean chili powder), or other medium-spicy ground chili
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 large garlic cloves, minced
  • One (1-inch) piece of fresh ginger, finely grated—about 1 Tbsp
  • 2 fresh red Asian chili peppers, minced. If you want hotter fire chicken, add more of these. 
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1Sprite or other lemon-lime soda

For the Chicken:

  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 lb) (boneless, skinless can be used)

To Serve:

  • 6 oz low-moisture mozzarella, shredded
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Ingredients for Korean fire chicken


Prepare the marinade/sauce and marinate the chicken

  • Whisk the gochujang, chili powder, sesame oil, chicken stock, corn syrup/honey, and soy sauce together in a bowl. 
  • In a medium saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and ginger in the hot oil until very fragrant, about half a minute. 

Sautéing the ginger and garlic

  • Add the minced chilies and black pepper. Sautee another half minute until those ingredients also become fragrant. (You might want to run a vent for this part—the air can get a little spicy.)
  • Add the gochujang mixture as well as the Sprite. Stir to combine and to scrape up any cooked-on bits from the bottom of the pan. 

Making sauce for buldak

  • Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook to reduce by about half. You should end up with a sauce that can easily coat the back of a spoon, and that should be about 1 1/2 cups of liquid. 
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  • Meanwhile, debone the thighs by making an incision along the bone, then sliding the knife under the bone. Cut the ends of the bones free from the meat. Don’t worry about getting the bones super clean and meat-free, they will be grilled up, too. 
  • Once the sauce is reduced, cool it to room temp. 
  • Place the chicken and bones in a gallon zip-top bag. Pour half of the sauce, about 3/4 C, into the bag with the chicken. 
  • Mix the sauce and chicken until everything is well coated. 

Buldak in a bag to marinate

  • Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes or up to overnight. Cover the remaining sauce and refrigerate, as well. 

Grill and finish the chicken

  • When ready to cook, light one chimney full of charcoal. When it is well lit, pour it into your grill, heaping it somewhat so that one half of the grill is hotter than the other half. 
  • Preheat the broiler in your oven. 
  • Place the chicken, skin side down, on the hotter half of the grill. Place the bones on the cooler side of the grill. 

Grilling buldak fire chicken

  • Cook until well charred on the first side. Flip over and continue to cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Check the temps frequently with your Thermapen ONE.
    • Also, be turning the bones every so often to give them nice char and to cook them fully. 
  • Once the chicken reaches 165°F (74°C), use kitchen shears to cut each thigh into pieces that are too big to fall through your grill grate but small enough to eat comfortably in one bite. Cut them right back onto the grill. 

Temping fire chicken

Cutting fire chicken into pieces

  • Use a silicone brush to baste the chicken and bones with the remaining sauce. 
  • Cook a couple more minutes, checking temps with your Thermapen ONE. When the pieces reach 175°F (79°C), remove them to a cast iron pan. Put the bones in the pan, too. If there is any sauce left in the container, pour it over the chicken now. 

basting the fire chicken with more suace

  • Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the chicken evenly and broil it for about 3–5 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and browned. Keep a close eye on it while broiling!

Broiling buldak with cheese

  • Top with sesame seeds and scallions. 
  • Serve! People can use forks, but I enjoyed just going at this with my fingers. 

Cheesy buldak