Galbi 갈비 (Marinated Beef Short Ribs)

On my day off, I decided to “relax” by making my favorite Korean meat dish: galbi (marinated beef short ribs). This cut of meat is very popular in Korean BBQ joints and they have restaurants along every corner block in Seoul to prove it. These are best cooked on an outdoor grill over charcoal–especially great for special occasions with friends and family–but they also taste darn good pan-fried right off of the stove. As for the actual technique (or secret steps) to making great galbi is the marinade. Many people have their own variations, but the key ingredient, in my opinion, is the use of Asian pears (found at most Asian markets), which adds a natural sweetness to the meat. Also, Asian pears help tenderize the meat over time. Simply grate them or put them through a food processor and add to the marinade. You can also substitute or use in combination with drinks like 7-Up or Pepsi, which not only brings added sweetness, but the carbonation helps with tenderizing the meat even more. Lastly, make sure to marinate overnight and you will find yourself with some awesome beef short ribs that should turn out to be tender, savory, sweet, caramelized, and full of intense flavors.

 

Ingredients: Serves 4 people

  • 3 pounds beef short ribs
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 Asian pear (apple can be substituted)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 6 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced

Directions:

1. Soak the ribs in cold water for about an hour or until coloration of the water turns pinkish red. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
2. Combine soy sauce, pear, garlic, ginger, and onion into a food processor. Pulse until smooth.
3. In a large mixing bowl (the ribs will be added here later), combine all the sauce ingredients and mix well. Add the beef short ribs and coat thoroughly.
4. Cover the ribs with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
5. If using a grill, heat the grill to medium high. Remove short ribs from marinade and grill short ribs until slightly charred or until desired preference is achieved. Serve short ribs with white rice and kimchi.
6. If using a stove top, add the short ribs to a non-stick frying pan on medium-high heat. Cook about 5-7 minutes on each side or until slightly charred. Serve with rice and accompanying side dishes. Enjoy!

*Kalbi comes in two basic forms: 1) the more common L.A. Kalbi, where the meat is usually cut in this slices across the bones. 2) the more traditional restaurant cut called Wang Kalbi, where the meat is filleted away from the bone to form a thin layer of meat. In both cases, kalbi is generally cooked at the center of the customers’ table with either a gas or charcoal grill. 
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