Cooking With Fire: Korean BBQ Short Ribs

Jan 25, 2019

Credit Justin Cary

Contrary to popular belief, barbecue is a not a purely American culinary art form. In fact, if you look at barbecue as anything cooked over an open flame, then you start to see where many other culinary traditions pop into view.

Take for example the cuisine of South Korea.

While the country is known for many dishes, including kimchi, sticky rice cakes, bibimbap, and bulgogi, my favorite Korean dish is LA Galbi — or, short ribs cut on the lateral axis.

Korean Barbecue Short Ribs are an incredible dish that, when prepared correctly, not only packs huge amounts of flavor, but simply melts in your mouth.

Short ribs themselves don’t come from the top rib cage of the cow, but down on the plate, which is the area where the ribs wrap around to their belly. It is here that the brisket connects to the rib cage, so the meat has that fibrous texture that you would associate with a brisket, with that extra layer of fat that any mammal tends to carry on their belly.

The lateral cut is also important, because cutting on the lateral means the meat is very thin as it slices across the bone. This creates a perfect cut for marinating because the meat fibers need to be broken down a bit before cooking.

So I challenge you, the next time you’re at the grocery store or butcher, ask them if they have any short ribs cut on the lateral axis. It’s a meat that, in my opinion, more Americans should cook, and I’m sure you’ll love it.

Here's a recipe that Chef Tom developed for tasty Korean BBQ Short Ribs. Enjoy!

Korean BBQ Short Ribs (LA Galbi)

Ingredients

  • 3 lb thin (LAterally) cut beef short ribs
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup mirin 
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 cups Asian pear (or Bosc pear), diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced

For the Ssamjang:

  • 1/2 cup gochujang
  • 2 tbsp doenjang
  • 1/4 cup green onions, green parts only, minced
  • 1 serrano pepper, stemmed, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • water, as needed

Instructions

  1. To make the Ssamjang, mix all ingredients. Thin with water to desired consistency.
  2. To make the marinade, whisk together the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, mirin, and black pepper in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Combine the Asian pear, onion, garlic, sesame oil and ginger in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  4. Add the pear mixture to the soy sauce base and whisk to combine.
  5. Submerge the short ribs in the pear marinade. Marinate under refrigeration for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
  6. Build a hot coal bed in your charcoal grill, and set the grill up for direct grilling.
  7. Remove the ribs from the marinade and wipe excess marinade from the surface. Grill on both sides until charred and tender. 
  8. Serve with the ssamjang dipping sauce.
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