World's 41st Favorite Food of 2011

Cooked KalbiCredit: SuzyQinOrlando

I was born in Seoul, Korea and raised in a western suburb of Chicago from the age of 4. I grew up in a mixed family: my mother Korean and my father, German and Bohemian. Although I became an "American", my mother raised me to appreciate Korean food. As an adult, I have tried to recreate the foods that my mother served to me while growing up. Of course, it doesn’t taste as stellar as hers did.

Preparation of a Korean food is painstaking but well worth the effort. One of my favorites dishes is Kalbi (pronounced kar-bee) a/k/a galbi. The name refers to several different Korean barbecue dishes in Korean cuisine made with beef short ribs marinated in Korean soy sauce but I have always known this rib dish as Kalbi. Not only was Kalbi popular in our home, it has also become popular with the world over the years and listed as #41 on the World's 50 best foods readers' choice compiled by CNN Travel in 2011.[1]

NOTE: I recommend that the Kalbi be made a day ahead to allow the seasonings to marinade and tenderize the ribs.


4-6 lbs. beef short ribs

1 1/2 cups soy sauce

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup sesame oil

5 cloves of minced garlic

2 tbsp. minced ginger

2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

1/2 medium yellow onion, slivered

3 large green onions, cut into small pieces


Step 1: Wash and pat dry each rib and trim any excess fat. Fillet each end of the ribs away from the bone by slicing through the meat close to the bone stopping about 1/4 inch from the end, flip the rib over and begin anther slice about 1/2 inch through the meat stopping about 1/4 inch from the end, and continue this process until the meat is a uniform, thin layer at each end of the rib. Place the meat in a large bowl.

Kalbi FilletedCredit: Wikipedia Commons Public Domain

This style of cut, called L.A. Galbi, permits the marinade to penetrate the meat faster. It also allows the meat to cook more quickly, creates a more tender cut…”[2]

Step 2:  Sprinkle the meat with the sugar and ginger and mix well with hands to evenly coat each rib. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or aluminum and let stand, in the refrigerator, for 1 hour to allow the sugar and ginger to initially tenderize the meat.

Step 3: Prepare the seasoning sauce, in a separate bowl, by combining the soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Mix well and set aside.

Step 4: Add the yellow onions, green onions and seasoning mix to the ribs and mix well, using your hands, to evenly coat each rib.

Step 5: Remove the meat from the bowl into an air-tight container and allow to marinade in the refrigerator overnight.

Step 6: Place KalbiCredit: Wikipedia Commons Public Domain - ayustety (a flickr user)the ribs in a single layer on the grill making sure that the filleted ends are flat on grill. Cook until the outside is brown turning the ribs over several times. Turning the ribs minimizes them burning. Broiling or baking the ribs in the oven is an option, but grilling is highly recommended.

Kalbi served at Korean restaurants is usually cooked by the customer at the table on grill that is inset in the middle of the table (or a free-standing grill placed on the table). It is usually served with leafy lettuce and used to wrap the meat, rice and a paste “made of fermented bean paste and red pepper paste. It is often accompanied by side dishes known as banchan.”[2]

Korean BBQCredit: Wikipedia Commons Public Domain

The serving of Kalbi, served at your favorite Korean restaurant, is usually small and expensive. By preparing this recipe, you will spend half the dollars and get at least four times the servings. In this case, more is more. Enjoy!

Try this delicious sauce

CJ Korean BBQ Sauce, Kalbi, 29.63-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 4)
Amazon Price: $34.80 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 13, 2016)

Grill your kalbi on