Easy Korean Kalbi BBQ Short Ribs recipe for how to make amazing Korean short ribs in the oven. Classic Korean food with tons of flavor!
This easy Kalbi Beef recipe brings together familiar Asian ingredients with unique Korean flavors to create tender, succulent ribs that are synonymous with Korean BBQ. These tender beef ribs marinated in a tantalizing sweet savory sauce are sure to be a new favorite beef recipe. Korean-style Ribs are a great dinner to prep ahead and have ready to go for a busy weeknight. They can be grilled or baked, for the tasty rib dish all year long.
The homemade marinade, is a blend of brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, and aromatic spices, but it has a special ingredient to make the ribs even more delicious… pear! The delicate fruit helps break down the meat as it marinates overnight for the most flavorful, falling off the bone tender meat. The best part is once the meat is marinated, it only takes about 15 minutes in the oven or 10 minutes on the grill.
Korean-style Ribs a great dinner to prep ahead and have ready to go for a busy weeknight. Wow your friends and family at a BBQ with the most perfect beef ribs full of sweet, savory beefy flavor. Add a sprinkle of sesame seeds over the meat just before serving. They’re decorative and they also add a nice flavor to the dish. You can also top with chopped green onions for presentation.
Serve this Korean Beef Ribs recipe with classic Korean side dishes like kimchi and Steamed Rice. You can mix it up for a fusion style meal too. Go with Mac Salad for a classic Hawaiian meal, Chinese Fried Rice for an Asian food mashup, or serve over Mashed Sweet Potatoes for an American-Korean combo. No matter how you serve them, these bold, flavorful, tender ribs are sure to be a new family favorite!
What are Korean BBQ Short Ribs?
Korean BBQ Short Ribs, also known as Galbi or Kalbi, are a popular and beloved dish in Korean cuisine. They are typically made from beef short ribs that are cut thin across the bones, so that you can see three “eyes” or cross sections of bone. The ribs are marinated and then grilled or broiled, resulting in tender, juicy, and caramelized meat with a hint of smokiness.
What is the difference between Bulgogi and Kalbi?
Bulgogi is made with marinated thinly sliced beef, typically ribeye or sirloin. It is usually cooked quickly over high heat, either on a grill or a stovetop. On the other hand, Kalbi refers to Korean-style short ribs, that are marinated in a sauce similar to Bulgogi but also include ingredients like pear and onion. Kalbi is typically cooked over a grill or in the oven, for ribs with a characteristic cross-cut bone presentation.
How to make Korean Kalbi BBQ Short Ribs
- Marinate: Combine the soy sauce, grated pear, onion, brown sugar, garlic, sesame oil, and mirin in a shallow container with a lid. Add the meat to the marinade and mix to coat completely. Cover and refrigerate the meat for at least 24 hours.
- Prep for Cooking: Drain the marinade (or reserve to cook down into a serving sauce – see Variations section). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Cook: Spread ribs in an even layer on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 12-14 minutes. Turn to high broil on and once heated, return ribs to the oven to cook for another 1-2 minutes to caramelize and char.
- Grill: Preheat your grill to medium high. Brush grates with cooking oil. Place ribs flat on oiled grates in a single layer and grill for 4 minutes on each side.
FAQs for Korean Kalbi BBQ Short Ribs
Kalbi is made with flanken-style short ribs, which means the beef is cut thin, around ½ inch thick, and across the bone, leaving a few bones to each rib. Flanken ribs can be cooked quickly, which makes them best for for Korean Kalbi BBQ.
The homemade marinade is a pretty big part of this recipe not only to infuse these Korean-style short ribs with their signature sweet, savory flavor but to tenderize the meat. You want to aim to marinate at least 24 hours for fall-off-the bone tender beef Kalbi with lots of flavor.
You should plan on ½ – ¾ pound per person, more if you have some BBQ lovers because much of the portion is going to be discarded as bone or connective tissue. When planning for larger eaters you can actually do 1 pound per person.
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- Beef Short Ribs: It’s easiest to have the butcher cut them for you since this is a specialty way of cutting the beef. You can also find these specialty cut beef ribs at Asian markets, usually in the freezer section. Make sure to rinse your meat before cooking, even if you get it pre-packaged, because bone fragments tend to flake off the way the meat is sliced.
- Mirin: Mirin, a sweet rice wine, helps to tenderize the meat and adds a mild sweetness to the marinade. If you can’t find mirin at your grocery store, try replacing it with about ½ teaspoon of sugar per 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or dry white wine.
- Pear: Grated pear serves as a natural meat tenderizer due to its enzymes, helping to break down the proteins in the short ribs and resulting in a more tender texture. You can substitute the pear for kiwi in this kalbi marinade recipe.
- Aromatics: Grated yellow onion adds a subtle sweetness and grated garlic provides a distinct slightly spicy pungent depth of flavor to the marinade, each complementing the richness of the ribs.
- Sesame Oil: Sesame oil is a key ingredient in Korean cooking, imparting a distinct rich, strong nutty flavor and aroma. It has a very strong flavor, so don’t use more than 2 tablespoons or your dish is just going to taste like sesame oil.
Can Korean Kalbi BBQ Short Ribs be made ahead of time?
Yes, Korean Kalbi BBQ Short Ribs can be made ahead of time. It’s best to marinate the ribs for at least 24 hours, so you will want to prepare at least that far in advance, but you can marinate them for up to 2 days. This allows the flavors to develop and penetrate the meat, resulting in more flavorful and tender ribs when cooked.
- Spicy: Korean dishes are known for spicy heat, but this dish is pretty mild. You can add some heat though with gochujang paste (Korean chili paste), regular chili paste, red pepper flakes, or other hot sauce.
- Pear: You can use any pear variety you like, but for a more authentic flavor, use Asian pear. In Hawaiian-Korean Kalbi marinades they use kiwi so feel free to swap that in too, or try citrus fruit like lime or orange.
- Sauce: You can turn your leftover marinade into a dipping sauce but you MUST cook it first. Pour it into a sauce pan, bring it to a low boil and boil it for at least 5 minutes. If it’s too thick, add some broth as it’s boiling, just keep in mind it needs to boil for 5 minutes straight for it to be safe to consume.
Slow Cooker Korean Kalbi BBQ Short Ribs
- In a medium bowl, whisk together your marinade ingredients. Add short ribs to the slow cooker, and pour marinade on top.
- Turn the slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours.
- Remove short ribs from the slow cooker and serve with the sauce.
Instant Pot Korean Kalbi BBQ Short Ribs
- Marinate your beef in the refrigerator as usual, for at least 24 hours before cooking.
- Pour the whole bag (ribs and marinade) into the pot. Lock the lid and seal the pressure valve. Set on manual high for 5 minutes, then allow to release naturally.
- If you want your Korean kalbi to be more crispy, place them on a sheet pan and broil for 1-2 minutes, watching closely so they don’t burn.
How to Store
- Store: Do not leave Korean BBQ at room temperature longer than 2 hours. Stored in an airtight container, Korean Kalbi Short Ribs will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Reheat: You can reheat these leftover beef short ribs in the oven or throw them on a hot grill. To keep them from drying out in the oven, cover the baking dish with foil.
- Freeze: Cooked Korean BBQ will last in the freezer up to 1 month, wrapped in plastic wrap and foil to prevent freezer burn. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat on the grill.
- Mix all the ingredients together and marinate for at least 24 hours then drain from the marinade before cooking.
- Cook in the oven for 12-14 minutes at 400 degrees then broil for 1-2 minutes OR heat your grill to medium high and cook for 4 minutes on each side.
Photos used in a previous version of this post.