Let’s Cook! Kalbi

September 15, 2011

As this year’s Epcot Food & Wine Festival approaches, I was glad to see that Korea would once again be one of the included booths. I love Korean food, and when it was announced that South Korea was to be included in the festival last year I was a bit concerned about how well the food would be presented, and would be accepted. Fortunately, the food was very good, and the guests took well to the offerings.

So while thinking of tasty Korean eats, I happened to run across a recipe in the July issue of bon appetit for Kalbi, and so inspired, the following recipe came forth…

Kalbi, and it’s cousin Bulgogi, is Korean barbecued beef. Both use basically the same style of marinade with Bulgogi being very thinly sliced tender beef (usually rib-eye) while Kalbi uses fatty, cross-cut beef short ribs.

The marinade features the usual Korean flavors of soy, sesame, green onion, garlic, ginger and sugar. I’ve been told by a Korean friend that each good Korean mother has her own variation on the basic flavor profile, and the tastes in each home are slightly different. If you peruse several recipes from books or online you will see several different additions and proportions of ingredients.

Let's make a marinade...

The recipe below is a good starting point – feel free to improvise if you like!

So now, with some great Korean food in mind, Let’s Cook!

Kalbi (Korean Barbecued Short Ribs)


2 Lb (give or take)  Cross-Cut Beef Short Ribs (length-wise cut short ribs with oblong rounds of bone – usually cut about 1/4″ thick or a bit more… you can find these in Asian markets for sure, but also at many grocery stores – even our Sam’s Club carries this cut)

1/2 cup  Soy Sauce

2 Tbl  Water

1 1/2  Tbl Sugar (or Brown Sugar)

1 Tbl  Finely Minced Garlic

2 Tsp  Sesame Oil

2 Tsp  Grated Fresh Ginger

1/2 Tsp  Ground Black Pepper

1/8 Tsp  Crushed Red Pepper

1/2 Cup  Chopped Green Onions (scallions)


For the marinade, whisk together all ingredients except the beef and onions. Stir in the green onions.

The marinade

Put the beef into a large zip-lock bag and add the marinade. Refrigerate (overnight preferably), turning and massaging your meat now and then to get the marinade in touch with all the beef.

Bring the meat out of the ‘fridge an hour or so before cooking to bring to room temp.

Ideally you’ll be cooking this on an outdoor grill, so prep your grill as needed for a med-high to high heat (I used my trusty Big Green Egg at about 600 degrees). If you must, you could use your oven broiler – it will still be good…

Going on the grill...

Cook 2 (maybe 3) minutes per side – remember this is a thin cut, so it won’t take long…

turn me over baby...

Remove from the grill and let rest for a few minutes – serve with rice and some kimchi… sprinkle with some minced green onions and sesame seeds if the mood so strikes… don’t feel bad about wanting to pick up the little pieces of bone with your hands and gnawing the last bits of meat off… cause you’ll want to!

This marinade would also be great on a full-thickness piece of beast – try it on a skirt steak or rib-eye… yum… meat…

Time to get back to the kitchen, there’s more Food & Wine inspired preview eats to be had… maybe more Korean, and certainly some Indian-inspired eats…

See you soon!

2 Responses to “Let’s Cook! Kalbi”

  1. […] Pork and Kimchi Slaw (which has been the most popular recipe I’ve shared on the blog) and Barbecue Short Rib (aka Kalbi) with Rice and Kimchi. Barbeque Short Rib with Rice and Kimchi […]


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