Korean grilled short ribs are one of the most popular dishes in Korean Restaurants. The slightly sweet grilled flavor of beef, garlic, onion, and soy sauce is simply fantastic. There are two primary variations that are in reference to the way the ribs are cut. Traditional or “King” kalbi is a modified English cut where the ribs are cut across the bone about 2 inches in width. Each bone is then seperated and cut into a thin strip that leaves the bone attached at one end. The second type of cut is called LA style, where the ribs are cut crosswise in thin strips about 1/4 inch thick. With LA cut no further cutting is done.
Spelling variations: kalbi, kal bi, kaibi, galbi, gal bi, garbi, gar bi, karbi, kar bi, kalbee, kal bee
2 pounds of either: 1/4 inch flanken cut beef short ribs or 1 inch cross cut beef short ribs, separated.
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup natural brewed soy sauce
1 each small onion
1 each small Nashi (Asian) pear or semi sweet apple
6 cloves garlic
2 ounces fresh ginger
2 tablespoons brown sugar or 3 tablespoons honey
4 each spring/green onion
2 teaspoons pure toasted sesame seed oil
1 tablespoon rice wine
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
water as needed
Additional Ingredients for Galbi Ssanju Ssam
4 bunches red leaf lettuce
6 cups “sticky” rice
6 cloves garlic
5 ea fresh hot green chili or jalapeño peppers
4 tablespoons of soybean paste (Korean-doenjang/Japanese-Miso)
4 tablespoons medium ground red chili powder
1 teaspoon sugar
2 each green/spring onion
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
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Cut onion, pear/apple, and ginger into small pieces and place in blender with garlic and just enough water to blend into a smooth pourable paste. Pour into medium mixing bowl.
Trim root and top 1/8 inch of green onion, rinse in cold water, and finely chop. Add to bowl.
Add all other ingredients. Mix well and let stand for at least fifteen minutes.Note: If marinade is very thick, you can thin it by adding water and soy sauce in a 1 to 1 ratio.
1. ¼ inch flanken cut: (L. A. Style)
Very lightly salt each slice on both sides and let stand for ten minutes.
2. 1 inch crosscut ribs:(Traditional Style)
If your meat counter can not butterfly the ribs;
Separate the ribs by slicing down the center between ribs.
Next, with a small thin knife, slice into the “meaty” side at the center of the rib section, stopping just before cutting through the membrane. Turn your knife 90º (perpendicular or flat to the bone) right and carefully slice the meat at roughly 1/8 inch thickness outward until just short of slicing through, roll the loosened flap of meat away from the knife, and continue slicing until again just short of slicing through.
Repeat until you reach the “end” of the meat. Do the same for the left side and repeat this with each rib section.
Very lightly salt each section on both sides and let stand for ten minutes.
Place meat into a bowl, pour in enough marinade to just cover the meat and mix well. (Any leftover marinade may be refrigerated for later use)
Cover and place in refrigerator. Let meat stand in marinade for at least one hour.Meat may now be placed in zip lock style bags and frozen for later use. If not freezing at this point, let stand in marinade for 6 to 24 hours.
Heat grill on high heat. Grill until well browned on both sides.(about two minutes per side)
Serve with steamed white rice and ban chan.
Kai Bi Sangjju Ssam (Kai Bi in loose leaf lettuce rolls)
Prepare Kai bi as above.
1. While marinating:
Mix the Ssam jang – – Finely chop the garlic and green onion. In a small mixing bowl, add all Ssam jang ingredients and mix well. Add a small amount of water if needed to maintain a mixable paste. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Prepare Wrap Ingredients
Separate lettuce leaves, rinse, and drain. Gently pat dry and place on a serving plate.
Thin slice the garlic and peppers, and place in separate small dishes.
Cook and Serve
Cook the kai bi as above.
Serve with one bowl of rice for each person.
How to Eat –
Put one leaf of lettuce in one hand, add a little rice, a piece of kai bi (cut from the bone), some sliced pepper and garlic, a bit of kimchi, and a bit of the Ssam jang.
Carefully close your hand, forming the lettuce into a ball around the “stuffing”, and eat the whole roll in one bite. A little practice may be needed to get that “one mouth full” size right.