Korean Kalbi

January  6, 2011
6 Ratings
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

You don't post a picture of flanken cut short ribs and not expect a Korean BBQ recipe :) Actually, I was tinkering with a braised short rib recipe, but didn't have enough time to experiment, so I decided to go with the basic Korean Kalbi. It's simple and quick on the grill. What the recipe lacks in cooking time is made up in marinating time. I like to serve it with hot rice, flavored seaweed, and kimchi. - edamame2003 —edamame2003

Test Kitchen Notes

Fans of Korean barbecue, rejoice! Edamame2003 is here to show you how to make the real deal without a lot of sweat. The two-stage marinade -- featuring sake, pear or apple juice, Tamari, garlic and sesame, among other things -- is delightfully simple. After an overnight soak, the short ribs, sliced thin, cook in no time. Broiling worked well for us; despite the high heat, the meat still emerged tender and flavorful due to the long marinating time. The flavor is sweet, salty, a little boozy and a little nutty -- who could ask for more? – A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound beef short ribs, cut against the bone, lengthwise. 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1/2 cup asian pear juice (or apple juice)
  • 1/2 cup Tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1/8 cup honey powder or brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/8 cup sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • black pepper to taste
  1. lay out the ribs in a single layer and pour sake and juice evenly over each rib. Turn over and do the same. Cover or place in a ziploc and marinate for at least 2 hours.
  2. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour into the ziploc with the ribs.
  3. Lay the bag of ribs as flat as possible so that the ribs can marinate evenly. Leave in the fridge at least overnight. (Sometimes I freeze the bags of ribs and defrost when I want to eat them).
  4. Grill on medium heat, turning once. Or you can broil in the oven on both sides.
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I work in the entertainment business, and in my free time, I really enjoy growing my own vegetables, trolling my local farmers markets and trying to re-create yummy dishes I eat at my favorite restaurants. My son is a big influence on how and what I cook. He's my guinea pig and promises to try anything I make once. Luckily the recipes on food52 are bountiful and delicious.

37 Reviews

Sania October 7, 2016
Can i substitute cider vinegar for sake? And if yes then how much?
fosterOR January 29, 2014
Tried this tonight for the first time and really enjoyed it. We used the recipe exactly as described but with good quality skirt rather than ribs and also marinated it just 6 hours. No doubt the full overnight marinating time would boost the flavor even more. We'll do that next time with proper kalbi. Great recipe--thank you!!
Joleensta January 22, 2013
We've moved thousands of miles away from familiar asian stores and i'm not sure how to translate "flanken cut short ribs" into Dutch. Any suggestions on what cut to use so I can explain to the butcher here?
fosterOR January 29, 2014
Maybe show a photo to your butcher? Pic worth a thousand words and all that. :-)

BTW, kind of random but semi-related thought about these comment threads here on Food52. Interesting how discussions seem to stop after the initial flurry with many, like this one, not having any activity in more than a year. Odd given I'd guess many, like me, find all kinds of recipes here that aren't necessarily recent but work wonderfully even a year, two or more after they were originally posted.
Joleensta January 29, 2014
Great idea...though like the recent reader we just tried the recipe. Oooh mmmm!
This was an amazing recipe, thank you for sharing! We didn't have pear or sake, so had to substitute rice wine vinegar and mirin...which worked out quite well! We grilled our ribs over very high heat coals and it only took a few minutes before dinner was ready.
Brenzo December 11, 2011
This recipe sounded so good that I doubled the recipe. Turned out awesome, and I have lots of leftovers! =)
Thanks for the great recipe.
Angela @. March 8, 2011
Delicious, a hit with the resident teen. Note to self, buy ribs from Asian butcher because the ones I purchased were not cut evenly and in some cases were not thin enough. Asian markets are plentiful here so this will not be a problem.
mcs3000 January 17, 2011
Love, love Korean kalbi. Thank you!
Oui, C. January 15, 2011
As much as I love traditionally braised short ribs, I love the idea of having a dish like this that is so quick to prepare....and the flavors, oh yeah.
pdg725 January 14, 2011
I don't cook with alcohol (I have a family member that can't stand the taste), can I substitute with beef stock or some other liquid?
edamame2003 January 14, 2011
rice vinegar maybe? i think that should do it.
Delishhh January 14, 2011
You can substitute rice vinegar with sake get the same outcome.
littleclove January 13, 2011
Looks AMAZING! Yummy, yummy, yummy. Yet another one of yours printed and saved.
edamame2003 January 14, 2011
you know i try almost every one of your dishes little clove. the escarole and beans--i ate it for two days straight!
MyCommunalTable January 13, 2011
This recipe is saved and voted for! Love the use of sake and juice. Well deserved finalist! Congrats!
edamame2003 January 14, 2011
aw, thanks!
likestocooklovestoeat January 13, 2011
This looks wonderful - I'm looking forward to trying it!
edamame2003 January 14, 2011
thank you--great in the summer.
likestocooklovestoeat January 14, 2011
We've located short ribs cut appropriately at our local Asian grocery store - this weekend is Kalbi weekend!
Anna W. March 11, 2014
I found my short ribs at a Mexican Butcher, cut to perfection. My mother made these when I was a child and still does on occasion, your recipe is a little different, I will try because it looks delicious.and repost my thoughts to my mothers original recipe. I am always up to trying something new.
monkeymom January 13, 2011
Way to go edamame! I personally like my ribs with a bit more sugar. I think they caramelize nicely that way....also goes good with the kimchi. Congratulations!
thirschfeld January 13, 2011
Sshhh! monkeymom. I have to much to do and your making me crave kimchi and kalbi. I have been dying to make some kimchi
monkeymom January 13, 2011
arrrgh, I feel your pain! Looking at all these short rib recipes while I'm working is like torture! It is so cool you make your own kimchi.
edamame2003 January 14, 2011
thank you! kimchi--yummy right? i make daikon kimchi..great snack, or over a hot bowl of rice when I'm feeling too lazy to cook.
Delishhh January 13, 2011
Live in Korean for 5 years and love Korean BBQ but i prefer Bulgogi over Kalbi. In my opinion you have way too much sugar, and the sweetness comes from the Asian pear or you can also use mirin but if you have Asian pear and sugar/honey it comes out too sweet in my opinion. But it looks delicious.
edamame2003 January 14, 2011
bulgogi made with skirt steak--i like it! my friend from korea taught me how to make this and I actually had to decrease her sugar--by a lot! but I like my ribs sweet/salty.
Delishhh January 14, 2011
I am sure with lots of spicy kimchi it is delicious. . . i have been to some Korean restaurants and it is way too sweet, i just prefer less sugar. When i make it i just use Asian pear and a few tsp of mirin, but that is how i was taught in Korea many years back. No sugar at all.
thirschfeld January 13, 2011
I always make kale jim the Korean stew. I can't wait to make these.
thirschfeld January 13, 2011
Should say kalbi jim
edamame2003 January 14, 2011
thank you--kale stew? is it spicy? sounds great!
monkeymom January 8, 2011
so glad to see this! Your picture looks SO good.
healthierkitchen January 7, 2011
Saved! Are they as good out of the oven as on the grill?
edamame2003 January 7, 2011
i'm a grill girl, but my sister makes them in the oven and they are delicious. But without the char.
gingerroot January 6, 2011
Mmm...looks so good, love the addition of Asian pear juice (have never seen that-have to check my Asian grocery)
edamame2003 January 7, 2011
thanks! i have a juicer, so i juice myself. if you can't find it, you can always use apple cider/juice.
mikedalena September 27, 2017
This is the first recipe I’ve seen where the whole pear was replaced with pear juice and there is no Coke or 7up in the marinade. The pear juice is liberating as I don’t have to purée the beast (Kern’s Nectar is so obvious, why didn’t t I think of that before?) but why the omission of the soda (in lieu of the sugar as well)? It adds such a nice oomph and Coke especially acts as such a great tenderizer (7up not so much). Just wondering about your thoughts on the subject. Thanks!