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Kalbi (Galbi) Beef Short Rib Recipes [split from Manhattan board]

After reading your question I decided to try and make the Korean short ribs since I can easily get the flanken ribs - but I'm finding SO many different recipes...brown sugar/white sugar; ginger/no ginger; sesame seeds/no sesame seeds; sake/rice vinegar; grated Asian pear/pulverized kiwi - help!

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  1. everyone has their own kalbi 'formula' so i would just try them out and see how it goes. you need the base of soy sauce (i like kikkoman), sugar, garlic (crush it in a garlic crusher for authentic taste), sesame oil, and the rest is up to the individual. for the sweet part, some people use brown sugar, others use Sprite, I personally like aji-mirin or mirin. the kiwi/pear can help as a natural meat tenderizer but isnt necessary. i dont think ginger belongs in it personally. sesame seeds are optional but fine too. a little vinegar/rice wine is fine too.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jeanki

      Sounds pretty similar to the approach I take. I add some scallion to the sauce when letting it soak overnight and then dust it with some finely chopped fresh chives right before serving, but that last step is more of a personal preference to have something bright and fresh to finish it with.

      1. re: captkenjeroo

        I like the kiwi part, and I make the marinade in the blender so its an even coating, but rub off most of the marinade when grilling, it's pretty intense: soy, mirin, brown sugar, white onion, kiwi, lotsa raw garlic. an overnight soak and . . . you've got some good eats.

    2. a side note-when cooking kal bi-it makes all the difference in the world on cooking method-the best is over live coals or even better hardwood charcoal-and even better kiawe wood charcoal (from Hawaii) yummmmmmy!

      2 Replies
      1. re: UES Mayor

        Good point. Fast hot grilling over coals is the best. Kalbi isn't one of those things you strive to cook medium rare. A little char on the outside is terrific.

        My marinade is one I learned from my buddies Korean wife:

        Soy sauce
        Brown sugar
        Sesame seeds
        Sesame oil (good dark Korean type, this is important)
        Garlic
        Green onions.

        Why do some add Kiwi? Is it for flavoring or is there some tenderizing going on?

        1. re: bkhuna

          you have to be very careful with kiwi in galbi marinade since a tiny bit goes a long way ie. about 1/4 of a kiwi smashed up in marinade for about 10 pounds of meat will tenderize the meat nicely but anymore can turn the meat into ground beef - i speak from experience!

          to be on the safer side, if i know that a particular cut of meat i have is not so tender, i'll use cornstarch mixed with the sugar and dredge the meat in this mixture before layering and adding the soy sauce/sesame oil/garlic/onion

      2. There are many variations of the marinade. Some things to think about -
        Kiwi has a distinctive flavor and is usually much sweeter than other fruits used (pear/apple), so you would use less sweetener. Some people prefer Kiwi, but quite a few think it overpowers the marinade.
        Asian pear or semi sweet apple has a mild flavor, and the pear acts as a tenderizer. Pear is used more often than other fruits.
        A small amount of ginger adds to the flavor profile, but too much can overwhelm.
        Sesame oil can be used in place of or in addition to sesame seeds.

        This recipe is one that was served in my former Korean restaurant;

        http://www.chow.com/recipes/11380

        1 Reply
        1. re: hannaone

          The last version we used was a combination of hannaone's recipe above and the CI recipe they put out in their News & Notes newsletter not too long ago. It went over very well with all concerned. The Asian pear, if you can get it, adds a nice touch to the marinade.

        2. Very one has a slight variation. Kind of like asking a recipe for BBQ sauce. There is usually a sweet component (suger, honey and/or mulyut aka corn syrup), salty component (soy sauce, I've also seen bit of fish sauce used with soy), ginger, garlic, sesame oil and then very thing else. Don't marinate too long. Over night is fine, longer than that it too much on the soy and too salty.

          All the variations are fine but the thing that really makes the difference is the meat. Buy a good cut of rib that is well marbeled and still on the bone. I use to love the flaken or the LA cut but I like more of the traditional shaped short ribs and I butterfly it.

          No oven or pans, but a grill works fine. I use gas but man does charcoal make it taste great. .

          5 Replies
          1. re: Soup

            You're definitely correct about the meat. There's a very good Korean BBQ place in NYC called Madangsui. I was so surprised that I preferred the plain one over the marinated one because the quality of meat was so high. The plain really showcased the meat.

            Growing up, my parents would take a hibachi grill to the beach and grill up some kalbi. We were the envy of everybody around us. You can't beat charcoal.

            1. re: Miss Needle

              Finally, more than a month later, I made these things! They were fabulous!

              Not sure how authentic everyone will think they are, but this is what I did:

              the recipe I used for the ribs was from Epicurious.com, the only one that mentioned Kalbi by name, it was something like Don someone "recipes from my mother". I chose this recipe because it was very simple and had most of the ingredients I could easily find, within reason:

              I went to an Asian market to get the dark sesame oil, used kiwi, brown sugar...the only variation I made was that I didn't want to spring for a bottle of sake I might never use again so for the "wine" component I used one-half dry vermouth (which is my go-to cooking wine) and one-half dry sherry.

              The other factor was the weather - had planned on the outdoor grill but at dinner time it was pouring rain so simply broiled them indoors - 5-6 minutes on one side, turned them over, shut off the broiler (I unfortunately use electric so there is a lot of retained heat) so just let the ambient heat cook the other side and then rest.

              Served it with jasmine rice, boiled up the excess marinade to dip and put on the rice, and made a sort of faux Asian slaw with broccoli slaw mix with a marinade/stew made of rice vinegar, ginger, soy sauce, brown sugar and again the dark sesame oil. Everything was fantastic. I don't even care to tweak it with different combinations because we really like the way this tasted.

              1. re: Eujeanie

                glad it came out well, I'm sure your alcohol swaps were very good; I like using vermouth for cooking as well.

                1. re: bigjeff

                  Wow, surprised to see this pop up again. Yes, I've made them twice now, both times with excellent results. Got my vermouth hint from an old Julia Child episode - if it was good enough for Julia (the spy!) it was good enough for me. And the sherry mellowed it out a little.

                  MMM...now I want to make it again.

                  1. re: Eujeanie

                    I'm glad that it worked out for you. Yeah, the sake thing is no big deal. My mom never used alcohol, and it turned out fine. Next time, you may want to try scoring the ribs (if it's a certain cut -- not LA sytle, though, as the cut is too thin). It makes the marinade penetrate a lot better and you get a more flavorful meat. And it tastes a lot better if you marinade it for a minimum of overnight.

          2. A lot of variation on the merinade. I've been doing less marinade last two time but it does require better cut of karbi (still search for good quality around NOVA). Small amount of seaseme oil, soy, sugar, wine, and pepper. toss with meat and let it sit just a couple of hours.

            Taste more of th meat. I've been doing it more traditional way for long time but I guess I got bored.