Kalbi (Korean BBQ Short Ribs)


Kalbi (Korean BBQ Short Ribs)
Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (22 votes)
Author: umma
Date: 5-3-10
Servings: 15-20
Prep Time: 30 minutes
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Kalbi, or Galbi, is probably the dish that most people are familiar with when they think of Korean food and also seems to be the favorite food of a lot of people when they first get exposed to Korean food. Kalbi is shorthand for Kalbi Gui, or Grilled Kalbi.

The deliciousness of kalbi comes from marinating the meat well, grilling it at your table, then eating it fresh and hot, ssam style -- wrapping it up in lettuce leaves (or perilla leaves, or even thin rice skins), adding a smear of gochujang (hot pepper paste) and then stuffing it into your mouth. It's a nice dish to have when you entertain because most people seem to like BBQ.

It is a straightforward recipe, which probably everyone who makes has their own unique take on. In my recipe, I use Asian pear as the meat tenderizer, and I like to marinate it for a while. I also use the LA-style cut of short rib. I made a separate recipe for just the kalbi marinade, in case you want to use it with different types of meat and not beef short rib. And here you can read more about how to find the right kind of cut for your kalbi...

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 10 lbs beef short rib, flanken-style cut
  • Marinade ingredients:
  • 2 stalks of green onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • l/2 med size onion, chopped
  • 1 med size Asian pear, peeled and cut in small pieces
  • 1 tbsp pine nut (optional)
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 cup of soy sauce
  • l/4 cup rice wine or cooking wine
  • 2 tbsp of sesame oil
  • l/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 tsp black pepper

Recipe Steps:

  • Buy beef ribs, flanken-cut (cut ~l/4" thick). If you get thick cut (where the meat is wrapped around the bone -- this is also called English Cut for Tong Kalbi), you will have to thin out the meat (pound it out, you can use a rolling pin) and cut off the excess fat. You will also have to clean well so that all the small bone pieces are out. Paper dry and set aside.
  • To prepare the marinade: grind green onion, garlic, onion, pear, and pine nut (optional) in a blender adding 1 cup of water.
  • Empty the blender contents into a cheesecloth, squeezing out the juice -- it should amount to about 2 cups of liquid.
  • Add soy sauce, cooking wine, sesame oil, sugar and water (2 1/2 more cups) into this liquid and stir well.
  • In a large tupperware or storage container, place the kalbi. Pour enough sauce to cover and mix around. Marinate for at least 1 hour or its better to marinate overnight. Leftover marinated kalbi can be frozen for later use. Also leftover sauce can be frozen and used later.
  • Grill one side 5-7 min, or until it gets fully brown, and turn it over to grill the other side.
  • Best served with sangchu ssam (lettuce wrap), or you can also wrap with perilla leaves.

Serving Size: 15-20
Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (22 votes)
Comments (2)
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jean wrote 4 yearss ago

I love kalbi. A few thoughts:
1. The recipe can easily be cut down proportionately based on how much meat you have. For a full meal for two people (and a little leftover) I usually buy 3 lbs of meat.
2. Can also use apple if you don't have pear.
3. Use a large ziploc bag to hold the meat & marinade and you won't need to have as much marinade! You can also easily flip it around so all sides get marinated.
4. This might sound basic, but...taste the marinade before you go soaking your expensive meat in it! If you don't like the taste now, you're not going to like it 6 hours later on your meat. Adjust by adding more water, sugar or soy sauce. My earliest mistakes usually were in making it too salty...you should err slightly to the sweeter side vs. salty. Sugar and rice wine are your friends!

noodly wrote 4 yearss ago

i second the comment above -- make a bunch and then store it. you'll thank yourself later when you have yummy kalbi to cook for dinner.