Korean BBQ Short Ribs (Kalbi)

This post is dedicated to my friend Susan who, after months and months of promising to do guest posts of her family’s favorite Korean dishes, finally just sent me her mom’s Kalbi recipe so that I would stop harassing her while she was neck deep in finals and bar exam prep.  I still want to wrangle a guest post out of her (ahem, Susan are you reading this?), but since I got a delicious family recipe out of the bargain I’ll let it go…for now.

I’ve made this dish several times since I got the recipe, and it’s quickly becoming one of our favorite things to eat when we’re in the mood for Asian food. The salty-sweet marinade is tongue-ticklingly delicious, and not only tenderizes the meat but also infuses it with tons of wonderful umami flavor. When cooked over a grill, the sugar in the marinade caramelizes a little on the meat, and gives some bites an addicting salty-sweet crackle. Mmm mmm mmmm. So far, we like our short ribs best in lettuce wraps with rice and kimchi, but I can tell you that they’re equally tasty straight off the grill with a big steaming bowl of rice. Thanks for the awesome recipe, Susan!

Korean BBQ Short Ribs (Kalbi)
Recipe type: Entree
  • 1.5 lbs bone-in beef short ribs (I buy mine from the Korean store near me. It comes thinly sliced, like a rack of rib that has been sliced into pieces length-wise. Like this.)
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp sesame seed oil
  • Pinch of pepper
The night before:
  1. Mix together all your marinade ingredients.
  2. Lay your rib strips in a single layer in a shallow baking dish (I used a 9x13 dish).
  3. Pour marinade over the meat, making sure that each piece is evenly coated.
  4. Stick everything in the fridge to marinate overnight, flipping your meat at least once during this process.
The day of:
  1. When you're ready to serve these ribs, turn your grill on and set it to high heat.
  2. Grill each piece about 4-6 minutes on each side, or until meat is browned and the desired consistency/firmness is achieved. (Cooking time may vary depending on how you guys like your meat. Dan and I prefer our beef to be a little bit rare, so I under-cooked my ribs a little, about 2-3 minutes on each side. This gave them a nice medium-rare finish.)
  3. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut ribs into individual pieces, between each bone joint. (Optional - I just find it's easier to eat this way. When we eat this in wraps, I use scissors to cut the meat right off the bone in bite-sized pieces.)
  4. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately. (Susan recommends eating these in lettuce wraps/cups with rice, green onion, and either red pepper paste or soy bean paste.)
  5. Enjoy!

(Slightly adapted from Susan’s mom’s recipe)


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