Korean Kalbi Short Ribs…

Back home in Hawaii, there are lots of Korean restaurants. Arguably the most popular dish in these restaurants is Kalbi. The sweet, smoky short ribs are everywhere. They’re the money makers in the restaurants.

It’s a very simple marinade as well. This one in particular has only five ingredients. There is also a dipping sauce, which is essentially four of the five ingredients too.

I’ve continued the trend and barbecued this weekend. Of course, kalbi is meant to be grilled.  Getting that char on the bones and beef is crucial to the smoky flavor.


If you buy your short ribs from the store like i did (bottom right rib), you’ll have to butterfly them in a way. I like to leave the bone on so it’s something to gnaw on, since there’s some meat on it. The middle rib is half-way done, and the top is done. I’ll try to explain this simply.

Take your rib and slice right up against the bone to separate virtually all the meat away from the bone; go about 95% down so don’t slice it into two pieces (this is the middle rib). Then slice the meat only in half away from the bone, making the meat fold in the opposite direction. Again, don’t slice all the way through. This is the top rib. So you’re unfolding the meat from the bone (like a book) then unfolding the meat into another book.

If you can’t manage this, just cut them into rectangular slices or buy it pre-sliced.

I had mine marinate overnight to really absorb the flavors. Rib meat is tough so I chose to let it sit longer and I also rotated the bag over a couple times to coat all of it.

As for the soy sauce, we’re looking for regular Kikkoman or Aloha soy sauce, not sweet soy sauce (thats thicker). And for the sesame oil, if you can, shell out the extra bucks for dark toasted sesame oil, or go with regular.

Korean Kalbi Ribs

3 lbs bone-in beef short ribs
1/4 cup sugar
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil (that’s right 1/4 cup)
2 t ground black pepper

Butterfly the ribs. Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well. The sugar needs a good mix b/c the ingredients won’t really melt it. Add sauce to ribs in a big ziploc bag and put in the fridge. Rotate bag every now and then to get all the ribs soaked.

Dipping sauce:

1 clove garlic, minced
2 T sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 t black pepper

Mix it up and keep in the fridge until use, then bring to room temperature for serving.

Preheat your grill for high (for me I moved the coal pan up higher to the grate). I used hickory chunks again, but smoke flavor isn’t needed.  Grill until well done, or if you can time it right, medium well.


My friend made pork chops. Just look at those juicy ribs.


We also had the chops, burgers, and rice. It was a carnivore dinner.  Arrgh! the dipping sauce makes an excellent rice topper as well.

*next up…coconut lime shrimp kabobs…*


One Response

  1. […] It would go perfectly with some Kal Bi. […]

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