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Published October 2, 2023. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This Korean-style short ribs recipe known as Kalbi is marinated overnight in a tasty sweet fruit marinade and grilled to perfection. You will quickly fall in love with how delicious these are.
Korean Short Ribs
Korean short ribs, better known as kalbi or galbi, are often referred to in America as Korean short ribs, which make up the specific way the short ribs are cut, as well as the traditional marinade that is in the recipe.
It translates from Korean to English as “rib.” Kalbi is said to have been created in the 1700s when a Korean king allowed for the banned butchering of a cow to help feed a large mass of people who were helping construct an important structure. The ribs were thrown into a soup and then later, someone suggested they should be roasted.
Kalbi beef is a special cross-cut short rib where the rib is cut longways using a band saw, making it a thin cut of meat. The cut bones are exposed along the bottom and if you were to line up the beef together, you would easily recognize that it comes from the short rib.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Onion – You will need a combination of yellow onions and garlic cloves. You can substitute with a red, white, or sweet onion.
- Ginger – Freshly grated peeled ginger will brighten up the flavor of the ribs. You can substitute with a 1/2 teaspoon of dry ground ginger.
- Water – Regular tap water is fine and is used to stretch the marinade.
- Soy Sauce – Any good tamari or shoyu soy sauce will work.
- Brown Sugar – You can use light or dark brown sugar.
- Wine – Mirin or sweet rice wine is best to use. Nonetheless, you can substitute with sweet sherry, sake, or regular rice wine like Shaoxing.
- Honey – Regular or raw honey will work. You can also add one teaspoon of salt and two tablespoons of regular sugar to make the marinade more intense in flavor.
- Sesame Oil – This will enhance the flavor of the ribs, but you can substitute it with a neutral flavored oil.
- Sesame Seeds – You will need regular white sesame seeds.
- Asian Pear – These pears can be easily found at a local Hispanic market if you cannot find them at your preferred grocery store. Use two Fuji apples if you can’t locate this.
- Fuji Apple – These are the best apples because they are the sweetest. However, you can use a Honeycrisp or gala apple.
- Kiwi – A regular fresh green kiwi is what you need. You can use a golden kiwi as well.
- Green onions – This is used in the marinade and as a garnish.
- Black Pepper – Plain ground black pepper is perfect to help season the Korean rubs.
- Ribs – You will need beef cross-cut Korean-style short ribs.
How to Make Kalbi
- Make the marinade and pour it into a deep casserole dish, plastic bag, or plastic container.
- Add the beef ribs or kalbi to the marinade and make sure to submerge completely.
- Transfer the marinated ribs to the refrigerator and marinate for at least 12 hours or overnight. I like to move the marinated ribs around in the bag every 4-6 hours to make sure they are getting exposed to the marinade.
- Remove from the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before grilling.
- Add the ribs to a preheated grill between 450° and 550° and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until dark grill marks have formed.
- Remove from the grill and garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.
Reheat and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make these up to 1 hour ahead of time. Keep them warm, covered in foil, and in the oven at low temperatures, between 200° and 250°.
How to Store: Store these ribs covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The ribs will actually freeze well covered for up to 3 months. See the reheating instructions above.
How to Reheat: To reheat the kalbi, simply place them back on a hot grill for just a few minutes per side to heat up.
chef notes + tips
- You can also add one teaspoon of salt and two tablespoons of regular sugar to the marinade because it will make it more intense in flavor.
- Don’t marinate them for more than 24 hours.
- Kalbi is traditionally served with lettuce, leafy vegetables, and perilla.
- The marinade will last up to 4 days if you choose not to marinate the short ribs right away.
More Awesome BBQ Recipes
- Smoked St. Louis Style Ribs Recipe
- BBQ Smoked Chicken
- Pulled Pork Shoulder
- Country Style Ribs
Authentic Kalbi Recipe (Korean Short Ribs)
- ½ peeled yellow onion
- 5 large garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, trimmed
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup soy sauce
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons mirin
- ¼ cup honey
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 1 peeled and seeded Asian pear
- 1 peeled and seeded Fuji apple
- ½ peeled kiwi
- ¼ cup sliced green onions
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 3 pounds kalbi cut short ribs
- Add all of the ingredients except for the ribs and green onions to a blender and blend on high speed until smooth.
- Transfer the mixture to a plastic zip bag and completely submerge the ribs in the marinade.
- Marinate in the refrigerator for 12 hours or overnight.
- Add the ribs from the marinade to a hot grill between 450° and 550° and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until dark grill marks have formed.
- Remove from the grill, garnish with optional additional sesame seeds and sliced green onions, and serve right away.