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Korean Barbecued Beef Short Ribs (Kalbi)

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Serves 6

  • Make the menu:
    Korean Barbecue at Home
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 123

Grilled short ribs are one of the most popular dishes in a Korean barbecue. Their marinade, redolent of garlic, soy, sugar, and sesame, infuses the meat with incredible flavor. The longer you marinate the ribs, the better they’ll taste; overnight is best. Asian pear is a common addition to the marinade, but apple is easier to find.

For the short ribs
  • 6 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 6 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 6 Tbs. apple (or Asian pear) juice
  • 1/4 cup Asian sesame oil
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 tsp. finely grated peeled fresh ginger (from a 2-inch piece)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lb. 1/2-inch-thick, cross-cut, bone-in short ribs (flanken)
  • Vegetable oil, as needed
For serving
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, both white and green parts (about 2 medium)
  • Big pinch of Korean chile threads or 2 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh long red chiles
  • 1 tsp. roasted sesame seeds
  • 18 lettuce leaves (such as green or red leaf), washed and dried
  • 4 cups cooked white rice, preferably short-grain
  • Ssamjang
Marinate the short ribs

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, soy sauce, apple juice, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the short ribs and, using your hands, massage the marinade into the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 and up to 12 hours.

Grill the short ribs

Prepare a hot (450°F) charcoal or gas grill fire. Clean and lightly oil the grill grate.

Remove the short ribs from the marinade and let any excess drip off; discard the marinade. Grill the short ribs, flipping once, until done to your liking, about 4 minutes total for medium rare. Transfer to a serving platter.

To serve

Garnish the meat with the scallions, chile threads, and sesame seeds. Serve with the lettuce, rice, and Ssamjang, cutting the bones from the meat with kitchen shears before eating.

To eat, put a small spoonful of rice inside a lettuce leaf, dab it with some sauce, and top with a piece of the beef. Wrap and eat.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with your choice of banchan (side dishes), such as Korean Spinach, Lightly Pickled Radish, Korean Bean Sprouts (Kong Namul), Spicy Scallion Salad, or Quick Cucumber Kimchi.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 410; Fat (g): fat g 14; Fat Calories (kcal): 130; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 4; Protein (g): protein g 21; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 47; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 810; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 35; Fiber (g): fiber g 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I made it exactly to the specs and found it a little too sweet. Next time, (and there will be a next time) I'll use less sugar. The flavors in this are wonderful.

We had this for a Father's Day FEAST-- the flanken-cut short ribs are expensive, but so flavorful and easy to cook. Husband raved about how delicious it was! I did cut back the sugar in the marinade a little, using teaspoons instead of tablespoons-- it was perfect.

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