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Kalbi Kui – Grilled Korean Short Ribs

19 August 2011


One of the very first things I wanted after arriving in the States on holiday from my home in Scotland was a nice, flavourful grilled piece of meat. Living a barbecue-less existence in the north has clearly taken it’s toll on me, and I wasted little time in dragging out the good ol’ charcoal barbecue from the depths of my parent’s garage and getting started on making these amazing Korean-style beef ribs.

Kalbi kui – also known as galbi kui – refers to a type of Korean cuisine in which beef chuck flanken ribs are marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, garlic and sugar, often with an assortment of other flavours, including rice wine, vinegar and sesame oil. The marinade is incredibly easy to put together, and should be made a day in advance to allow the meat to tenderize and soak in the abundance of intricate flavours. On the day of the barbecue, simply grill the ribs on each side for 3 minutes (for medium-rare) to 4 minutes (for medium), and allow to rest for 3-5 minutes before serving.

I was first introduced to these ribs by my lovely best friend Kendra at a barbecue several years ago. I have made them on a number of occasions and have always received heaps of praise for their unique flavour and remarkable tenderness. The recipe below originates from the July 2002 issue of Bon Appetit, and may be found at the foodie website Epicurious. Enjoy with a chilled Korean lager such as Hite Prime Max, or another Asian lager such as Kirin Ichiban (Japan) or Tsing Tao (China).

Note: A number of the ingredients listed below may be difficult to acquire in some areas. Mirin, rice vinegar and sesame oil are all available in well-stocked supermarkets as well as Asian specialty markets. Sweet sherry may be substituted for mirin, if unavailable.



Serves: 8

1 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine) or sweet sherry

1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar

1/4 cup sesame oil

1/4 cup minced fresh garlic (about 15 cloves)

2 large fresh green onions, chopped

5 pounds Korean-style short ribs (beef chuck flanken, cut 1/3- to 1/2-inch thick across bones; about 20 pieces total)


1.  Combine first 7 ingredients (through onions) in a medium, nonreactive bowl; whisk to blend well. Divide, and pour each half of mixture into re-sealable plastic bags. Add ribs; seal bags. Turn over several times to coat ribs evenly. Refrigerate overnight, turning bags occasionally.

2.  Prepare barbecue to medium-high heat. Drain ribs; discard marinade. Working in batches, grill ribs until browned and cooked to medium-rare, approximately 3 minutes per side. Let rest 3-5 minutes before serving.


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