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Jul 14, 2007 09:13 AM

Korean BBQ: Marinade Question

I've been making the Cook's Illustrated recipe for Korean BBQ (which is really good, by the way).

I've got sliced and pounded beef shortrib meat marinating in a mixture of pureed pear, soy, rice wine vinegar, garlic, and sugar.

The recipes says to marinate 12 hours and up to 24 hours. I'm at hour 24, and now I can't grill until tomorrow (lunchtime).

QUESTION: Do you think the meat will be ruined going another 24 hours? (shortrib meat is pretty tough, anyway)

Or should I remove it from the marinade, wipe it clean, and just wrap it up until tomorrow?

Any advice?

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  1. not sure what the cook's illustrated recipe for k-bbq involves, but having had korean bbq all my life, if the marinade seasoning is ok (ie. not too salty/sweet, etc) then your meat shld be good no matter how long it's marinaded....typically, we mix the meat with marinade then pack it in bags/containers and put it in freezer til it's ready to grill. never had it soaking in marinade for very long as the way we do it the meat soaks up the marinade in a few minutes

    1. I've never pounded meat for Korean recipes so I'm not sure how that will affect the marinade process. I would put it in the freezer overnight and thaw in the morning.

      1. That recipe sounds interesting--is there a link to the recipe? Kal bi or bulgogi recipe?

        On your questions, I don't know how thick your meat is, but I have marinated ribs for over 1 day--works best for boned thicker meat cuts.

        When observed others making BBQ, the don't "wipe off" marinade. Nor have we done so at restaurants when we grill our own. But then again, its not "soupy" going unto to the flame. Hope this helps.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Ora

          That sounds like a pretty standard basic marinade. Here's a recipe I use that is similar:

          Kai bi

          Yield: 4 servings
          2 pounds of either: 1/4 inch flanken cut beef short ribs or 1 inch cross cut beef short ribs, seperated and butterflyed


          1/2 cup natural brewed soy sauce
          1 small onion
          1 small Nashi pear or semi sweet apple
          6 cloves garlic
          1 inch fresh ginger
          2 tablespoons brown sugar or 3 tablespoons honey
          4 spring/green onion
          2 teaspoons pure toasted sesame seed oil
          1 tablespoon rice wine
          1/2 teaspoon black pepper
          water as needed


          Mix Marinade:
          Cut onion, pear/apple, and ginger into small pieces and place in blender with garlic and just enough water to blend into a smooth pourable paste.
          Pour into medium mixing bowl.
          Trim root and top 1/8 inch of green onion, rinse in cold water, and finely chop. Add to bowl.
          Add all other ingredients. Mix well and let stand for at least fifteen minutes.
          Note: If marinade is very thick, you can thin it by adding water and soy sauce in a 1 to 1 ratio.

          Prepare Meat:
          1/4 inch flanken cut: (L. A. Style)
          Very lightly salt each slice on both sides and let stand for ten minutes.

          1 inch crosscut ribs:(Traditional Style)
          If your meat counter can not butterfly the ribs -
          Separate the ribs by slicing down the center between ribs.
          Next, with a small thin knife, slice into the "meaty" side at the center of the rib section, stopping just before cutting through the membrane. Turn your knife 90º (perpindicular or flat to the bone) right and carefully slice the meat at roughly 1/8 inch thickness outward until just short of slicing through, roll the loosened flap of meat away from the knife, and continue slicing until again just short of slicing through.
          Repeat until you reach the "end" of the meat. Do the same for the left side and repeat this with each rib section.
          Very lightly salt each section on both sides and let stand for ten minutes.

          Place meat into a bowl, pour in enough marinade to just cover the meat and mix well. (Any leftover marinade may be refrigerated for later use)
          Cover and place in refrigerator. Let meat stand in marinade for at least one hour.
          Meat may now be placed in zip lock style bags and frozen for later use. If not freezing at this point, let stand in marinade for 6 to 24 hours.


          Heat grill on high heat. Grill until well browned on both sides.(about two minutes per side)

          Serve with steamed white rice and ban chan.

          Kai Bi Sangjju Ssam (bulgogi in loose leaf lettuce rolls)
          Additional Ingredients

          4 bunches red leaf lettuce
          "sticky" rice (Link)
          6 cloves garlic
          5 fresh jalapeño peppers

          Ssam jang

          1 tablespoon Soy Bean Paste
          1 teaspoon sugar
          2 green/spring onion
          4 cloves garlic
          1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
          1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil
          4 tablespoon of soybean paste
          4 tablespoon medium ground red chili powder
          1 tablespoon soy sauce


          Prepare kai bi as above.

          While marinating:

          Mix the Ssam jang

          Finely chop the garlic and green onion. In a small mixing bowl, add all Ssam jang ingredients and mix well.
          Add a small amount of water if needed to maintain a mixable paste.
          Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

          Separate lettuce leaves, rinse, and drain. Gently pat dry and place on a serving plate.
          Thin slice the garlic and peppers, and place in separate small dishes.

          Cook the kai bi as above.

          Serve with one bowl of rice for each person.

          How to Eat

          Put one leaf of lettuce in one hand, add a little rice, a piece of kai bi (cut from the bone), some sliced pepper and garlic, a bit of kimchi, and a bit of the Ssam jang. Carefully close your hand, forming the lettuce into a ball around the "stuffing", and eat the whole roll in one bite. A little practice may be needed to get that "one mouth full" size right.


          1. re: hannaone

            This is CI's version. I've made other recipes, and this one's my favorite so far. The shortrib meat is so flavorful, and takes well to the marinade.

            Korean Grilled Short Ribs for Gas Grill—Kalbi

            If pressed for time, a 1-hour marinade will provide sufficient flavor, but it will not tenderize the meat as well as a longer marinade. Make sure to buy English-style ribs that have at least 1 inch of meat on top of the bone, avoiding ones that have little meat and large bones. Two pounds of boneless short ribs at least 4 inches long and 1 inch thick can be used instead of bone-in ribs. Alternatively, 2 1/2 pounds of thinly sliced Korean-style ribs can be used (no butchering is required; see step 5). For a spicier marinade, add 1/2 teaspoon or more hot red pepper flakes. Serve with steamed rice, kimchi (spicy pickled vegetables), and, if available, a spicy bean paste called gochujang. Traditionally, all these ingredients are wrapped in a lettuce leaf and eaten like a taco. In order to maximize heat on a gas grill, keep all burners on high and remain vigilant about flare-ups, spraying flames with water from squirt bottle if necessary.

            Serves 4 to 6
            1 medium pear (ripe), peeled, halved, cored, and roughly chopped
            6 medium cloves garlic , peeled
            4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
            1/2 cup soy sauce
            2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
            6 tablespoons sugar
            1 tablespoon rice vinegar
            3 scallions , green and white parts sliced thin
            5 pounds bone-in English-style short ribs , meat removed from bone, trimmed of excess fat, sliced widthwise at angle into 1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick pieces and pounded 1/4 inch thick (see illustrations below)
            Vegetable oil for grill rack

            1. Process pear, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, oil, sugar, and vinegar in food processor until smooth, 20 to 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Transfer to medium bowl and stir in scallions.

            2. Spread one-third of marinade in 13 by 9-inch pan or other suitable container that will hold ribs in 2 layers. Place half of meat in single layer over marinade. Pour half of remaining marinade over meat, followed by remaining meat and marinade. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. Marinate ribs for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours, turning meat once or twice to ensure that it marinates evenly.

            3. Turn all burners to high, close lid, and heat grill until very hot, about 15 minutes. Scrape cooking grate clean with grill brush and wipe with wad of oil-soaked paper towels, holding towels with tongs.

            4. Grill half of meat directly over burners, with lid down, turning 3 or 4 times, until well browned on both sides, 10 to 14 minutes. Move first batch of meat off heat onto platter and keep warm while repeating browning with second batch. Transfer second batch of meat to platter. Return first batch of meat to grill and warm for 30 seconds; transfer to platter and serve immediately.

            1. re: wittlejosh

              I must try these variations soon--can't wait. Thanks to both of you!

              1. re: wittlejosh

                I'll be honest, that rice vinegar sounds downright weird to me. I suppose since it's only a tbsp, it won't affect the flavor too much, but I would be more inclined to put a couple tbsp of rice wine instead.

                Also, to marinate the ribs, we usually have a shallow dish with all the marinade in it and then dip each rib to coat and place in separate dish. This seems to yield the exact amount of marinade necessary. You can save the leftover for another batch or use in a stir-fry.

                My mother always gives the ribs a good rinse in cold water before she does the marinating. And she does make the best galbi ever!

                ETA: To answer the timing question, we normally make a batch and use it for a couple days without detriment.

              2. re: hannaone


                For the Ssam jang recipe, you listed soybean paste twice. I'm guessing one of them is supposed to be gochujang?

                It sounds like a great kalbi recipe as are all the Korean recipes that you have posted here. If I can get my hands on some flanken cut meat I'm gonna make it this weekend.

                1. re: twj

                  I must have been tired when I posted this one -
                  should be 4 Tbs gochujang instead of 4 Tbs soybean paste.

            2. I've got this marinating tonight...can't wait to have it tomorrow!

              1. I don't think the meat will be adversely affected by another 24 hours in the fridge. I've had it in the marinade for a week and didn't notice anything different but hey maybe my tastebuds are shot, who knows. If it were bulgogi, I would have a different answer.

                2 Replies
                1. re: choctastic

                  Just cooked it and it was fantastic. No adverse effects at all. Yum!

                  1. re: wittlejosh


                    My family owns a Korean restaurant. It sounds like the marinade that you're using is a pretty good one. Korean pears and apples contain enzymes that break down the meat and tenderize it. Ideal time is about 24 hours.

                    Also, a lot of Korean restaurants will double marinate the meat, getting rid of the excess blood.

                    The first marinade, should only contain soy, sugar and water. It should have the same saltiness as your final marinade.

                    Marinate the meat overnight, drain the meat, and marinate again with all of the seasoning in it. This will result in a much cleaner tasting Kalbi.

                    Hope this helps!