Maekjeok (Doenjang Marinated Pork)

This doenjang marinated pork is another great option for your Korean BBQ. The salty, savory doenjang adds a deep umami flavor to the pork without overpowering it.  Dwaeji Doenjang Gui recipe1 - Maekjeok (Doenjang Marinated Pork)

The blog finally has a new look. I wanted a warm and clean look with user-friendly navigation and a recipe index with images. It’s getting there! While undertaking the makeover, I went with something I had long avoided – switching the blog host to WordPress from Blogger. I’m not tech savvy, so I didn’t want to change anything that’s complicated. But I learned some of the features I wanted to add to the blog (such as the recipe index with images) were easier to do with WordPress.

Now let’s talk about today’s recipe. This doenjang (된장) marinated pork is another great option for your Korean BBQ this summer. Doenjang is Korean fermented soybean paste.

No doubt the pork dish marinated in a spicy gochujang sauce — dwaeji bulgogi (aka jeyuk bokkeum) is more popular these days. But this preparation, which is also known as maekjeok (맥적), dates back to early Korean history long before chili peppers were introduced to Korea. Maek refers to people of Goguryeo (고구려), one of the three ancient Kingdoms, and jeok means skewered meat. 

Maekjeok evolved over time, and it’s believed to be the origin of today’s bulgogi.  Over 1000 years later during Joseon Dynasty, it was served in Royal Court as seen in the famous Korean drama Daejanggeum (대장금), if you watched it.

Dwaeji Doenjang Gui recipe 2 - Maekjeok (Doenjang Marinated Pork)

Pork butt (aka Boston butt) is the best cut of meat for this dish. Pork loin works well too. The salty, savory doenjang adds a deep umami flavor to the pork without overpowering it. I added a little bit of acidity in the marinade to brighten the doenjang taste and bring the flavors together. 

Doenjang flavored pork pairs well with buchu (garlic chives). I served it on a bed of stir-fried garlic chives and minari (water dropwort). These vegetables are in season and can be found in Korean markets. Serve with red or green leaf lettuce, in which to wrap the meat, along with ssamjang.  

For more grilling recipes, visit 10 Korean BBQ Recipes to try.  

Dwaeji Doenjang Gui recipe 9 - Maekjeok (Doenjang Marinated Pork)

Have you tried this doenjang marinated pork recipe? Please rate the recipe below and leave a comment! Stay in touch by following me on YouTubePinterestTwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Dwaeji Doenjang Gui recipe 9 350x350 - Maekjeok (Doenjang Marinated Pork)

Maekjeok (Doenjang Marinated Pork)

4.29 from 14 votes
Main Course
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Print Recipe


  • 1 pound pork (Boston butt or loin), thinly sliced (about 1/4-inch thick)

For the marinade:

  • 1.5 tablespoons doenjang, 된장, Korean fermented soybean paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine or mirin or other white wine
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey, rice syrup (jocheong, 조청), or oligo dang (올리고당) or Maesil cheong (매실청), green plum extract
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • pepper to taste

Optional vegetables:

  • 4 ounces buchu garlic chives, (or mix with minari)
  • If unavailable, substitute with 1 medium  onion, thinly sliced
  • salt to taste
  • oil for stir-frying

For the wraps:

  • 1 or 2 heads of red or green leaf lettuce
  • 10 to 15 perilla leaves (kkaennip, 깻잎) - optional
  • crown daisy (ssukgat, 쑥갓) - optional

Ssamjang (sauce for wraps) - mix everything well

  • 1 tablespoon gochujangKorean red chili pepper paste
  • 2 tablespoons doenjangKorean soybean paste or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • If the sauce is too thick, use a tablespoon of water or soda to thin it.


  • Thinly slice the meat (about 1/4-inch thick), if not pre-sliced.
    Dwaeji Doenjang Gui recipe 3 - Maekjeok (Doenjang Marinated Pork)
  • Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
    Dwaeji Doenjang Gui recipe 7 - Maekjeok (Doenjang Marinated Pork)
  • Add the meat, and mix well until evenly coated. Marinate at least for 30 minutes.
    Dwaeji Doenjang Gui recipe 6 - Maekjeok (Doenjang Marinated Pork)
  • Cut the optional vegetables into 2 - 3 inch lengths. Heat a skillet with a tablespoon of oil, and briefly stir-fry the vegetables until slightly wilted. Salt to taste. Transfer to a plate.
    Dwaeji Doenjang Gui recipe 5 - Maekjeok (Doenjang Marinated Pork)
  • Heat a grill pan or a skillet over medium high heat and add the pork slices. Immediately lower the heat to medium. The marinade will burn if the heat is too high. Cook until the pork is cooked through and slightly caramelized, one to two minutes each side. Turn over a couple of times to prevent the marinade from burning.
    Dwaeji Doenjang Gui recipe 4 - Maekjeok (Doenjang Marinated Pork)
  • Serve on a bed of the optional stir-fried vegetables along with the vegetables for the wraps and ssamjang.
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