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Korean Barbecued Beef Short Ribs (Kalbi)

Scott Phillips

Servings: 6

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

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 410
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 130
  • Fat (g): 14
  • Saturated Fat (g): 4
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6
  • Cholesterol (mg): 35
  • Sodium (mg): 810
  • Carbohydrates (g): 47
  • Fiber (g): 3
  • Protein (g): 21


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.

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.


Rate or Review

Reviews (4 reviews)

  • paintmonger | 06/14/2020

    This is sooooo good and very easy to make. In my town it’s hard to find flanken style ribs so I just call the grocery store the day before to order them.

  • User avater
    chinamoon | 07/22/2017

    This was delicious! It does have a lot of sugar but the taste is balanced. I am sure you could cut back on the sugar and still get something delicious.

  • user-3022385 | 11/15/2013

    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.

  • User avater
    Pielove | 06/16/2013

    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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