On my half day off, I decided to “relax” by making my favorite Korean meat dish: kalbi (marinated beef short ribs). These are tremendously popular in Korea BBQ joints and they have restaurants along every corner block in Seoul. These are best cooked on a grill (especially great for special occasions with friends and family) but they also taste darn good pan-fried off of the stove. As for the actual technique (or secret steps) to making great kalbi is the marinade itself. 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 unique sweetness to the meat. Simply grate them or put them through a food processor, or you can do it the old-school Korean ajumma way: crush them by hand. You can also substitute or use in combination with drinks like 7-Up or Pepsi, not only bringing that extra sweetness, but the carbonation supposedly helps with tenderizing the meat as well. Then make sure to marinate overnight and you will find yourself with some awesome marinated beef ribs that should turn out to be tender, savory, sweet, and full of delicious flavors.
Ingredients: Serves 4 people
- 3 pounds 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
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!