How to Make Galbi

Galbi Galbi Image Courtesy of Korean Bapsang


No visit to Korea is complete without trying Korean barbecue that’s grilled in front of you over an open flame. If you can’t make a trip to Korea, you can also enjoy delicious Korean barbecue at home. Galbi (beef short ribs) is one of the most popular barbecue dishes in Korea, especially for special occasions and gatherings. Delicious Korean barbeque is all about the marinade, and it’s easy to prepare!

Beef short ribs come in two different cuts – English cut (ribs are separated and cut into short lengths) and flanken cut (ribs are cut thinly across the bones). Butterflied English cuts are classic for grilled galbi in Korea. The flanken cut is also known as “LA galbi,” supposedly named after the city where early Korean immigrants started to use this cut to make grilled galbi. The LA cut is convenient and increasingly popular in America and Korea.

  Short ribs are a tough cut of meat and need to be tenderized for grilling. Traditionally, grated Korean pear is used as a tenderizer. It also adds a subtle fruity sweetness to the marinade. You can certainly make galbi without a pear, but it takes the galbi to a different level. The key to creating delicious galbi is to find the right balance between saltiness and sweetness. Using generous amounts of garlic and sesame oil is important to create authentic flavors. The ribs should be marinated overnight for best results.


1.5 kilograms cross-cut beef short ribs (3/4-centimeter thick)

Marinade :

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup rice wine

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon Korean plum syrup (maesil chung)

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1/2 Korean/Asian pear, grated

1/2 medium onion,grated

2 finely chopped scallions

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

 Rinse the ribs to wash off bone dust and drain well. Pound the meat lightly with a meat tenderizer, or stretch it out with your hands. This step helps tenderize the meat.

  Mix all marinade ingredients well. Marinate the meat for 6 – 8 hours (overnight for best results). The thicker the meat, the longer you’ll want to marinate.

Preheat the grill over medium high heat. Grill the short ribs, turning only once, 2 – 3 minutes on each side. It’s best to grill over charcoal or wood charcoal, but a gas grill or a grill pan over the stove top works well too.

Galbi can be broiled in the oven. Set the oven to broil and preheat. Lay the meat in a single layer on a broil pan, and place it on the top rack of the oven. Cook until the ribs are slightly charred and caramelized, 5 – 6 minutes. Flip them over and cook for an additional 3 – 4 minutes. Watch closely not to burn them.

These ribs have a smooth balance of sweet and savory flavors! The best way to enjoy Korean BBQ meat is to wrap a bite size piece in a lettuce leaf with a dollop of gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) or doenjang (soybean paste).


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