Korean BBQ is something I could eat every meal, every day, forever and be just as happy as the first day I ever had it. My favorite is the short ribs (Kalbi or Galbi in Korean) – a finger licking, sweet dish that never disappoints.
I recently came to realize that I’m about to be 38 years old and I have never once attempted to actually make Kalbi, my most favorite meal in the world, myself. And by make, I mean buy plain short rib meat and create the marinade from scratch. Why? Well having a 100% Korean mother who still prepares all the traditional dishes plus living in Southern California where you can stop by any Korean grocery store to pick up pre-marinated meat that you just throw on the grill has definitely spoiled me. And to be honest, when the pre-marinated short ribs are the exact same price of the un-marinated short ribs, then why would I bother to go through the trouble of making it myself?
The answer is simple. Because now matter how good you think that pre-marinated stuff from the store is, I promise you that when you make it yourself with this recipe, you’ll never be satisfied with the store’s version again! Besides, I tend to forget that while I might be spoiled in what’s available to me, YOU guys may not be so lucky. I have met so many friends over the years mention how they had Korean BBQ “that one time” and loved it but never had it again because the restaurant was not local to them or whatnot.
And that makes my heart hurt. No one should be deprived of this deliciousness – especially when the ingredients are so common and its very simple to make!
If you try only one recipe all year, try this one. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without it :) You’ll notice the recipe calls for quite a bit of brown sugar. DO NOT SKIMP on this!
- 3-5 pounds Korean style beef short ribs
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup Coca-Cola
- 1/8 cup soju or sake (rice wine)
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup asian apple pear OR any american pear, chopped
- 1/4 cup black plum, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- pinch black pepper
- 2 green onions, diced
- roasted sesame seeds
- Place meat in a large bowl and rub/mix brown sugar over each to coat.
- Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes while preparing marinade.
- In a blender (I use a Bullet), blend remaining ingredients (except green onions and sesame seeds) until smooth.
- Transfer beef into a large sealable freezer bag (you may need 2).
- Add marinade, remove excess air from bags, and seal.
- Turn bag over several times to ensure beef is evenly coated.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight. (If you are really hungry or did not plan well, you can BBQ after only 30 minutes, but do yourself a favor. Let it sit overnight - it makes a world of difference!!)
- Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium-hot.
- Place short ribs onto grill and discard excess marinade.
- Grill to desired doneness, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. TIP: This tastes best when cooked well done and the marinade has caramelized. Even if you normally like your meat on the rare side, DON'T DO IT for these. Cook them well, where the edges begin to char.
- *DO NOT LEAVE UNATTENDED!* The high fat content make these puppies susceptible to catching fire.
- Garnish with green onions and roasted sesame seeds.
- Serve with sticky white rice. Add lettuce and samjang to make authentic Korean Tacos!
- NOTE: Korean-style short ribs can be found at most Asian markets. The cut, also known as "flanken," refers to a strip of beef cut across the bone from the chuck end of the short ribs. Unlike American and European-style short ribs, which include a thick slice of bone-in beef, Korean-style short ribs are cut lengthwise across the rib bones. The result is a thin strip of meat, about 8 to10 inches in length, lined on one side with three 1/2-inch thick rib bones. The thin slices make for fast cooking on the grill.