HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Utimate Kalbi/Galbi Recipe needed!

  • k

I've been making galbi for awhile now but I usually order it already marinated from our best Korean market because hers is just so much better than mine. But this weekend I have been asked to bring galbi to a potluck event for a group of Korean families. I am not Korean, so I can't just use my family recipe and it would just feel wrong not to make it myself.

I put soy sauce, ginger, kiwi, Asian pear, green onion, garlic, mirin, raw sugar, pepper, salt and sesame oil in my marinade and it is good, it's just not as good as hers!

I'm looking for any advice or recipes you can offer. Maybe my ratios are off or perhaps I'm missing a key ingredient. I'm willing to try anything!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I use rice wine instead of mirin , it should be sweet enough from the sugar. the rice wine has a specific taste that i like in my kalbi.

    My recipe uses green onions, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, black pepper and rice wine.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MVNYC

      Thanks - I just returned from the store with some rice wine.

    2. Will that travel well and is there a grill or were you going to cook before? I was at a party last Friday and a Korean neighbor brought a huge platter of ChapChae. People descended on that like vultures and I was one of them. The donor owns a Korean Restaurant and was very surprised I knew the name of the dish and had made it in the past. Yummy stuff. She had her chef make it but it is not difficult at all and was really appreciated.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Candy

        I am concerned about how well it will travel, but my assignment is very specific. Someone else is making Chapchae and I agree that it is the PERFECT potluck dish. It is fabulous at room temperature and I've found that everyone, particularly children, loves it!

        My plan is to grill the kalbi at home just before we depart and to bring a disposable chafing dish (it is a very casual event) to try to keep it warm. I would prefer to serve it on a platter but I'm afraid that it will be too cold to enjoy.

      2. 3lbs. beef short ribs, cut into 3/8" slabs or flanken.
        1/2 C. Soy sauce 2tsp. toasted sesame seeds
        1/4 C. pure sesame oil 2-4 cloves, garlic, minced
        1/4 C. sugar salt to taste
        2 green onions, minced 1/4 tsp. pepper
        Combine soy, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, sesame seeds and pepper in a saucepan. Heat till sugar is dissolved. Cool.Add green onions. Make sure all bone fragments have been washed from flanken, sinew and fat trimmed. Add beef and marinate at least 4 hours to overnight in fridge.I use my Food Saver cannisters. Faster. BBQ using charcoal is the best.

        1. use equal amounts of granulated sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil (for about 4 pounds of short ribs) and mix well. add 6 cloves crushed garlic, 1 bunch of green onions cut on a bias (1 inch in length), pepper to taste and about 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds. and then the secret ingredient: one bottle of Cola.

          That's right. Cola. But it's gotta come from the glass bottle, usually found at Mexican/Latino shops because it's made with sugar cane, NOT corn syrup.

          The acid in the soda tenderizes the meat (the kiwi in the recipe i used to use disintegrated the meat) and the sugar adds flavor.

          Sounds odd, but my mother learned it from a friend of hers and showed it to me. I refused, but learned better.

          3 Replies
          1. re: wasabi

            OK, I'm fascinated by your recipe, but I don't think that I am going to have the opportunity to seek out the glass bottled Coke in time to start my marinade. I will absolutely try it in the near future!!!

            1. re: Kater

              oh for the 4 pounds of meat, i usually use one cup of sugar, soy, and sesame oil. the quality of oil is key, and my consistent fave is Kadoya. do let me know how it turns out for you!

            2. re: wasabi

              i usually use a dark soda(never root beer) with sagogi dashida, minced onions, carrots, soy sauce, and sesame seed oil. try it, i learned it from my half sister(she's Korean)

            3. Doesn't the marinade have goguchang (sp?) in it?

              2 Replies
              1. re: C. Hamster

                When I make bulgogi, I put gojuchang in but that's been an improvisation and the recipes I've found don't include it. When I looked for galbi recipes none of them included it so I'm afraid to add it and make an inauthentic dish.

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  no gochujang in kalbi. but you can use it in a myriad of other marinated meat dishes. try adding half a cup of gochujang to sugar, sesame oil, and soy (about 1/2 cup each as well). a handful of toasted sesame seeds and sliced white onions goes into the mixture and massage this into some thinly sliced pork. let it marinate for a few hours or overnight and sear it/grill it on super hot surface. killer with nothing but white rice.

                2. No, gojuchang is definitely not added to kalbi or bulgogi. There is a pork dish that uses it.

                  Try adding about 1/2 onion, grated to the marinade. Also, a soy sauce such as Kikkoman should be used, not any Chinese brands.

                  1. Thank you so much for all of the advice. I also got some coaching from the owner of the market. I was very pleased with my kalbi, and although I made a huge quantity it went very quickly!

                    I didn't have a chance to find the coke, but on the advice of the market owner I used Sprite! I made sure that I had good Korean soy sauce and I bought some rice wine. Oh and I also used a little bit of honey, which was another tip I got from the market.

                    So all told I used: soy sauce, Korean raw sugar, Korean soy sauce, sesame oil, Sprite, rice wine, garlic, green onion, sesame seeds, black pepper, honey and one Korean pear.

                    I was really happy with the outcome but I want to try to Coke version. I was shocked at the proportion of sugar, but my 'dry run' using an amount of sugar that seemed sensible to me was a real flop! So if anyone is making this for the first time, YES you really do want to put all that sugar in there!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Kater

                      Ah yes, Sprite. One of my mother's friends used it in her kalbi. That takes me back.

                      1. re: Kater

                        That is EXACTLY how my mom makes it with the KIWI and the COKE well Sprite now that Coke isn't sweet enough. That is the authentic Korean style. My mom learned from her mom and wayyy back. PERIOD! WOW...i thought I was the onyl one! :D

                      2. I love kalbi, never made it though. Your marinade sounds really good. Would you mind posting the proportions you used with the meat amount? Thanks.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Ora

                          As you've read, it wasn't hard to make and it always goes over really well. Now that I've successfully made my own, I won't be ordering the marinated stuff from the market anymore.

                          Possibly the most difficult thing is to find the meat, if you don't have a Korean market nearby. The cut is called flanken, and it's cut across the ribs. For this party I actually use the boneless version and ordered special quality meat. But for outdoor picnics I love to serve the flanken cut because you can use the little cross sections of bone kind of like a handle.

                          I had about 10 pounds of meat and here are approximate quantities:

                          2 cups good soy sauce
                          1&1/2 cup sugar (I was told that Korean sugar or brown sugar is traditional)
                          1/2 cup honey
                          1/2 cup good sesame oil
                          1/3 cup sprite
                          1/3 cup rice wine
                          10 cloves garlic
                          1 bunch green onion
                          1 Korean pear (pulverized in processor)
                          A good tablespoon black pepper
                          handful sesame seeds

                          I marinated it for just about 24 hours and was very happy with the result. The meat was very tender, but not falling apart. It stayed very juicy on the grill, it was a little bit sticky on the outside, and the flavors had penetrated the meat nicely.

                          1. re: Kater

                            Sounds very good indeed, thanks. I must try this soon. Would someone care to post the marinade for the BBQ version as well??

                            1. re: Kater

                              fantastic recipe Kater. was kinda skeptical with the proportions of ingredients but it came out tasting great. very similar taste to what you'd get outside at a restaurant!

                              1. re: Kater

                                Bumping this old thread because I finally made a version of galbi, using Kater's marinade as my guide. Made a half recipe, and decreased the amount of soy sauce.
                                Turned out great! Glad my chowsearch turned up this recipe ;-)

                                1. re: phoenikia

                                  It does sound like a lot of soy sauce...i would add soy to taste.

                                  Instead of chopping, I like to throw everything into a blender and get a good buzz going before marinading. Oh, and I also throw in a little onion and ginger into the mix for fun.

                                  I think I could drink that marinade..

                                  1. re: joonjoon

                                    That is so weird! Just a couple of weeks ago my husband wanted kalbi for dinner but didn't tell me until that morning! Because it would have less time than usual to marinate I threw everything in the blender. It was certainly easier and the marinade did penetrate the meat reasonably well in that short time!

                                    Also my recipe has changed a bit over the years. I've added lots of carrot to the marinade, started using palm sugar and decreased the soy but added a little salt.

                                    Also I serve it with romaine leaves, steamed rice, seasoned bean paste and kimchi. You just fold it and eat it like a taco.

                            2. This is for braised kalbi, not the BBQed one. I actually prefer this to the BBQ. This is a great recipe. He even talks about aging his shortribs as well.


                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                use a mixture of sprite and coke... not too much coke otherwise the phosphoric acid will break down the meat more than you want... similar to what pineapple/papaya will do to the meat

                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                  OH - I also notice that he washes the beef. I was urged to wash my kalbi before marinating it to get the 'blood taste' off of it. I am in the habit of washing poultry but never beef - but I did perform that step since it seemed to be important to the spirit of the dish even if it doesn't really affect the end result!

                                  1. re: Kater

                                    You should wash it anyhow just to remove stray pieces of bone.

                                    If there's any Canadians here, Loblaw's (Real Canadian Superstore) sells the ribs in the proper cut.