Kalbi – Korean Style Short Ribs

For those of you who don’t already know, I’m half Korean.  I’m a military brat who was born in Korea and spent a large portion of my adolescence there.  I LOVE KOREAN FOOD!  My mother taught me most of the recipes I use for the Korean dishes I make, but certain ingredients are considered “top secret”. I’ll let you in on MY secret.  I make the recipes all the time without her precious secret ingredients because they’re nearly impossible to find in the U.S. (unless you live in Los Angeles aka New Korea) or they’re insanely expensive.

My husband and I made this for dinner tonight and he said tonight’s version was the best to date. Even my infant daughter loves it (we rinse all the marinade off first, the wine gets cooked out). She has eight little teeth and literally eats all the meat from her little portion and then sucks on the bone.  Yes, it’s that good.

This cut of meat is often call “LA style ribs” or “Korean Kalbi”.  The kalbi cut is just short ribs cut crosswise, about 1/3 of an inch thick. If you can’t find it in the meat aisle of your local grocery store, you can ask the butcher to do it for you.  Three ribs can feed two people. You’ll want to ask the butcher to cut no more than four ribs across at a time.  Try to find kalbi without a lot of fat on it.  Butchers don’t typically put the leaner ribs out in this style cut. Maybe it’s just where I live, but like all cuts of beef, you want marbled fat.


1.5 lbs Kalbi (beef short ribs, 6-8 pieces)
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup white wine (chardonnay works best) or rice wine
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 TSP toasted sesame seeds

1. Mix all the ingredients (except the beef) in a bowl until the brown sugar is dissolved to create the marinade.
2.  Place the beef and prepared marinade into a ziplock bag and seal well.  Place the sealed bag into the refrigerator and marinade for a MINIMUM 24 HOURS. Flip the bag over half way through (at the 12 hr mark). We often marinade for 72 hours. It takes 24 hours for the wine to break down the proteins that make ribs chewy and sometimes tough.  It’s worth the wait, the meat absorbs the flavors from the marinade and will be very tender.
3.  Remove the ribs about an hour before it’s time to grill.  The beef needs to be close to room temperature.
4.  Heat the *clean* grill to medium high heat.  Once the grill is ready, place the ribs on the rack with space between each piece.  Cook about 3 minutes each side or just until cooked through.

***This recipe can also be cooked in the oven with a broiler. Be sure to use a broiler pan with a slotted top piece and a dripping pan beneath. Takes about 15-20 with a broiler set to high (depends on the oven).***


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  1. 1
    Madeline @ Food, Fitness, Family says:

    Thanks for the recipe! My husband is 1/2 Korean and I am slowly learning how to make his favorite foods. So far I have mastered bulgogi, fried rice, and yakimandu. Haha. Kalbi is next!

  2. 2
    Craft Crazy Mom says:

    @Madeline @ Food, Fitness, Family

    Have you been to Maangchi's website? AMAZING. She has videos and her recipes are actually really good. Her recipes taste just like it came from a Korean restaurant. My friend Sarah was even lucky enough to have her come and cook on her houseboat in Amsterdam! http://www.maangchi.com/