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Jan 14, 2012 09:48 AM

How/where can I learn how to cut beef short ribs traditional Korean style (wang galbi, king style, not LA style)? [moved from San Francisco board]

I'm getting into Korean BBQ and I want to learn how to cut beef short ribs traditional Korean style. My butcher can cut it L.A. style, across the bone, bue I want it traditional/king style (aka, wang galbi), with the meat filleted out from the bone into a very thin strip. See for details. I doubt my butcher would do this, because he probably wouldn't know how, and even if he did, I doubt he'd be willing to spend the time doing it. Besides, the local butchers are not consistent in terms of how thinly they slice the meat, and I want it extremely thin. I know I could probably buy wang galbi at a Korean market, but I want to use grass-fed beef, and grass-fed beef is not available at my local Korean market (in Oakland, California). Any suggestions as to how I can learn how to cut this meat myself? I looked on Youtube, Amazon, and Google, but I couldn't find anything. Thanks in advance for your help!

Bonus question: Does the meat cook/taste better king-style, in your opinion, compared to L.A. style?

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  1. Go to a good butcher where you can get grass fed beef, like 4504 meats or similar, and ask for what you want. I'm sure they'd be into it, i.e., into something a little different.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ML8000

      i agree. Bring your wiki requirements and give Local Butcher in Berkeley a try. They might be amused by the challenge. Of course this means $$$$

      Or ... ask a Korean butcher how much it would cost for them to cut up some meat you brought in.

      1. re: rworange

        You guys are probably right. It's just that different butchers seem to have different interpretations of what it means when I say "as thin as you can possibly cut it, like a tenth of an inch, not a quarter of an inch like you often see Korean BBQ, but as thin as humanly possible." Sometimes they give me 1/10 of an inch. Sometimes they give me 1/2 of an inch. Even if they seem to understand in person, something seems to get lost in translation/transcription/delegation on the phone, and I prefer to phone in the order so I don't have to wait a long time. That's why I'm tempted to do it myself.


      It's not complicated, but you'd need some pretty precise knife skills to get it really thin.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Thanks so much for the link! Finally, instructions on how to cut it. I'll give it a try :)

      2. Here's something you can try. Just ask him to cut the ribs, what, 3 inches thick, instead of flanken style, and not to separate the individual ribs. Then you lay them out flattened with a weight on top and partially freeze. Then slice thinly.

        3 Replies
          1. re: damian

            I'm not sure that freezing is a good idea for this cut, since it would tend to crack at the turns.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I agree. That would only work if I decide not to butterfly, just to cut small slices (my preference is to butterfly).

        1. I just found a photo of what I'm looking for:

          Do you think that was done by hand? If so, I'm extremely impressed.

          2 Replies
          1. re: damian

            I can't imagine how it could be done other than by hand. Note how those were also scored. I wonder if they might have been pounded a bit to make them more consistent?

          2. I saw Steve Raichlin do it on his Primal Grill show a few seasons back.

            recipe with directions here


            Place a short rib on a work surface meat side up. Cut the meat off the rib by running a sharp knife between the top of the bone and the fleshy part of the meat. Youll wind up with a rectangle of meat. Starting at a long end, thinly slice the meat sharply on the diagonal with the grain. The idea is to cut slices of meat that are 1-1/2 to 2 inches wide, 2 to 3 inches long, and about 1/8 inch thick. Set aside the bone, which will have a little meat attached to each side. Repeat with the remaining short ribs.

            4 Replies
            1. re: rasputina

              Odd, the picture on that page is of the butterflied cut damian is asking for, but the instructions are for something else entirely.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Good eye, Robert. I noticed that too.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Kaibi gui means grilled rib meat.
                    The recipe on that page is just a variation of kaibi prep and includes the fixin's for kaibi ssam - rib meat wrapped in lettuce.
                    It looks like they may have taken the meat completely off the bone and cooked both on the grill.
                    This is another variation of the kaibi prep.