Skip the Korean BBQ buffets and make these Kalbi Korean Barbequed Flanken Short Ribs from scratch at home! This is one of the easiest Korean recipes to make even if you are a beginner in cooking. You can cook the flanken cut short ribs in the oven or on the grill. Whatever cooking method you choose, this recipe will never fail you!
If you are looking for a good Korean BBQ meat recipe, try these Kalbi Korean BBQ Flanken Short Ribs! You are going to love this recipe because these ribs are as good as those you'd find in a Korean restaurant but not too sweet.
These Korean short ribs just have the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and tangy notes. The meat is so tender and juicy. No pounding required! Absolutely delicious!
What's Beef Galbi or Kalbi:
Beef galbi is often referred to as "LA-style' for Korean barbecue that was popularized by Korean Immigrants in Los Angeles. It's also called "Flanken-style" at your local butcher shops.
What to Serve with Galbi:
What's Kalbi Made of:
These Kalbi Korean BBQ Short Ribs are made with flanken-cut short ribs, marinated in a soy sauce-based mixture.
Here's the list of ingredients for Kalbi:
- flanken cut short ribs
- soy sauce
- brown sugar
- mirin or rice wine
- Asian pear or apple
- yellow onion
- sesame oil
- fresh ginger
- kosher salt and black pepper to taste
What is Flanken-Style Short Ribs:
Flanken style of short ribs is cut thin across the rib bones, about ¼- ½ inch thick, and contains three or four pieces of bone per slice. This type of meat cooks quickly on the grill or in the oven.
You can find this cut of meat at Asian or Korean supermarkets. I personally bought mine from Ralph's for around $7.99 per pound.
Marinade Sauce for Kalbi
Soy sauce-based mixture. This sweet and savory sauce contains soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, Asian pears, onion, garlic, sesame oil, ginger, and black pepper.
Asian pear: It's a common ingredient in Korean barbecue marinades. It contains an enzyme called 'calpain' that tenderizes meat.
If you can't find any Asian pears, use Fuji apple or Bosc pear instead. Asian pears are available at Trader Joe's, Costco, Ralphs, Vons, and Asian grocers for around $0.99 - $1.99 each.
You can also use kiwi as a tendering agent, just be sure to use a small amount of it and don't over marinate because it will turn the meat mushy.
Mirin is Japanese sweet cooking rice wine and can be substituted with rice wine vinegar.
Now, let's talk about the preparation and cooking process.
How to Prepare Flanken Cut Short Ribs Before Cooking:
The preparation process is pretty simple and easy. Here's how to do it:
Step 1. Wash the Ribs
To start, you need to soak the ribs in cold water for about 10-20 minutes to remove blood. After that, wash the ribs at least a couple of times in cold water, scrubbing off bone fragments and other debris then pat dry with paper towels.
Step 2. Make Marinade
Peel and grate the onion, Asian pear, ginger, and garlic. Transfer the mixture to a bowl then add soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, water, salt, and black pepper, stir to combine.
Step 3. Marinate the ribs
Pour the marinade over the meat and mix well with hands or tongs. Make sure that the ribs are coated with the sauce.
Refrigerate and marinate overnight for optimal results or at least 12 hours before cooking. Important note: Don't marinate your short ribs for more than 24 hours!
How to Cook Flanken Cut Short Ribs:
You can cook the flanken cut short ribs in the oven or on the grill.
Option 1. Cook Kalbi Short Ribs On the Grill
These thin short ribs cook very quickly. Each slice of meat should take about 3-4 minutes per side on medium-high heat.
The outer part should be caramelized and lightly charred on both sides, and the inside should be cooked all the way through so the meat will fall off the bone easily.
Tips on Grilling:
- If you are using a small cast iron grill pan, make sure to work in multiple batches. Do not overcrowd the pan!
- Clean the pan after every cooking session to remove small residue between batches to prevent it from burning. I know it's a bit of a hassle, but a clean grill will cook and make food taste better.
Option 2. In the Oven
Broiling is an alternative to grilling. it's important to stay close to your food and monitor it so it does not burn.
- Place the ribs on a rack on a baking sheet.
- Transfer the rack to a roasting pan.
- Place under the broiler about 3 inches from the heat source.
- Cook ribs, turning once, about 3-5 minutes per side. You should always keep a close eye on the meat to prevent burning.
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Kalbi - Korean BBQ Flanken Short Ribs
- 2 pounds flanken cut short ribs
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup mirin or rice wine
- 3 garlic cloves, (minced)
- ¾ cup freshly grated Asian pear, (or about half an Asian pear) or use apple
- ½ cup freshly grated yellow onion , (from a small onion)
- ½ tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp water
- ½ inch fresh ginger, (grated)
- 1½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp kosher salt, (add more according to your liking)
- Wash the Ribs: Soak the ribs in cold water for about 10-20 minutes to remove blood. After that, wash the ribs at least a couple of times in cold water, scrubbing off bone fragments and other debris then pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
- Make Marinade: In a medium-size bowl, combine grated pears, grated ginger, grated onion, grated garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin/rice wine vinegar, black pepper, and water. Set aside.
- Marinate: Transfer the short ribs into a large bowl or sealable freezer bag. Pour the marinade over the meat and mix well with hands or tongs. Make sure that the ribs are coated with the sauce. Refrigerate and marinate overnight for optimal results or at least 12 hours before cooking. Do not marinate for more than 24 hours!
- Remove the meat mixture from the fridge, add kosher salt, and mix well. Let it sit at room temperature for up to an hour before cooking.
- Grilling: Preheat a grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate. Drain excess marinade off beef. Grill short ribs for about 3-4 minutes each side. The outer part should be caramelized and lightly charred on both sides, and the inside should be cooked through all the way through so the meat will fall off the bone easily.
- Serve with rice and Gojuchang! Enjoy!