Galbi, Traditional Recipe (Wang-Galbi), Korean BBQ, Marinated Short Ribs
Galbi, also known as Korean BBQ, is my first choice of dish when I have an important guest over. It never fails to impress. This Galbi recipe reflects the traditional or classic style commonly seen at specialized Korean BBQ restaurants in Korea. The cut of beef used in this recipe is called Wang-Galbi, which means "King-Rib". Although the wang-galbi cut is the best in taste and presentation, you can use LA Galbi or other tender steak cuts if you wish. Also, the same marinade can be used to make delicious tofu or mushrooms steaks.
You can enjoy galbi simply with a bowl of rice and a salad of your choice. However, traditional galbi dinner includes rice, doenjang Jjigae (soy bean paste stew), kimchi and a few side dishes. Also, Koreans enjoy making "ssam" (wrap) when eating galbi or other meat. To make ssam, place a leaf of red leaf lettuce on your palm, layer it with a perilla leaf (optional), place meat and a dab of ssamjang (dipping sauce). You can also add sliced garlic and sliced green chili peppers. Then, close the lettuce and enjoy the eruption of heavenly flavors in your mouth.
Buy Galbi ingredients online here.
|1 lb 12 oz||Beef Short Rib, King cut (wang-galbi) 왕갈비 (includes bone weight, can use 600g of any tender meat without bones)|
for pre-seasoning (optional)
|½||Korean Pear 배 (optional)|
|1 tbs||Cheongju, Korean Rice Wine 청주 (optional)|
|¼ cup||Soy Sauce (regular) 왜간장|
|3 tbs||Sugar 설탕|
|2 tbs||Sesame Oil 참기름|
|½||Onion (Medium) 양파|
|1 tbs||Garlic (minced) 다진 마늘|
|1||Green Onion 파|
|¼ tsp||Black Pepper 후추|
|1 tbs||Sesame Seeds 깨(optional)|
|1 oz||Pine nut 잣 (optional)|
Optional Ingredients and Substitutions
Beef Short Rib - Wang-galbi cut: 800g of wang-galbi (4 pieces of wang-galbi) in the ingredients list includes the bone weight. The meat is about 600g. You can use LA galbi cut or other tender steak meat if you cannot find the wang-galbi cut. See detailed video of how to cut wang-galbi here.
Korean Pear: Korean pear is the best option but it can be pricy and difficult to find. You can use bosc pear instead if Korean pear is not available.
You can get away without using a pear but it adds a really nice flavor to the marinade. So, try not to omit it.
Cheongju (Korean rice wine): Try using Japanese cold sake or white wine.
Pine nut: You can omit it. You can also use sesame seeds as a garnish instead.
Sesame seeds: Very nice to have but you can omit it.
Sugar: If you are avoiding white sugar, you can use brown sugar, honey or pineapple juice instead. But, note that your marinade then will have the flavor of the substituted ingredient.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should I marinate the meat?
It depends on the thickness of the meat. For 5mm (less than ¼") thickness, 3-4 hours is good. If your meat is thicker than that, marinate 6 hours to overnight. If your meat is very thin and you would like to marinate the night before, add some water (equal parts to soy sauce).
Can I cook galbi in a pan on stove top?
Yes. If using stove top, cook both sides of the meat on high heat until outside is browned (3-7 minutes). Make sure to let the marinade drip off the meat before placing in the pan. If there is much marinade in the pan, the meat will be boiled instead of pan-fried and the meat will be less tasty.
Can I cook galbi in oven?
Yes, but cook on high heat (475-500 F) until it’s almost cooked and put it on broil on high heat in the last 5 min or so to brown the outside.
My meat was too tough. What can I do?
In general, ribs are pretty fatty so it tends to be pretty tender. If you are using other cuts or want your ribs to be extra tender, you can add some minced kiwi to the marinade. Don't put too much though (½ kiwi is good for 600-800g of meat). Also, make sure your meat is thin.
More questions? Please leave your questions below in the comments section. We will do our best to answer as soon as we can.
Ingredient amounts in the recipe instructions are for the default serving size.
Click to enlarge photos.
Ingredient amounts in the recipe summary are for the default serving size.
1. Soak ribs
Soak ribs in cold water for 30 minutes to an hour to remove some blood (OPTIONAL). This helps reduce the gamey smell or taste.
Soak ribs in cold water
2. Cut ribs
Cut ribs into thin strips (about 5 mm or a bit thinner than ¼”). Score both sides of the meat (make very shallow cuts at ½” intervals diagonally across the surface and repeat the same to create a diamond pattern. See detailed video of how to cut wang-galbi here.
Cut into ¼” thin strips
Score the meat at ½” intervals
3. Prep 1
Wash and peel ½ asian pear. Remove the core and grind it. Peel ½ onion and grind it. Grind 10g of pine nuts in an electric grinder (or put them in a ziplock bag and wrap with a cloth, then smash with a hammer. Be careful not to damage the working surface below).
Grind ½ pear
Grind ½ onion
Grind 10g pine nuts
4. Prep 2
Mince 3 cloves of garlic. Chop 1 green onion.
Mince 3 cloves of garlic
Chop 1 green onion
Mix the ground pear and 2 tablespoons of cheongju (Korean rice wine). If you don’t have cheongju, use white wine or sake. Rub the mix on both sides of the meat and leave them for 15-30 min in the fridge.
Rub the mix on both side of meat
In the fridge 30 min
6. Make marinade
Make a marinade by mixing 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, 3 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, the ground onion, chopped green onions, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of ground sesame seeds and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper.
Rub the marinade on both sides of the meat and massage it by hand for a minute. Keep the marinated meat in the fridge for 3-4 hours (for 5 mm thickness). If your meat is thicker, marinate for a longer time (ideally overnight).
8. Cook meat
Cook both sides of the meat on BBQ until the outside is nicely browned. If the heat is strong enough, it should only take 5-10 minutes altogether. You can brush the marinade remaining in the container on the meat while cooking for extra flavor and shine (especially if you didn’t have time to marinate the meat for a while). If you put too many at once, the liquid from meat may put off the charcoal fire. See tips above for directions on using stove top, or oven instead.
Flip to cook both sides
High Heat 10 min
You can serve the meat as it is and cut with scissors at the table, or you can pre-cut with scissors or a knife before serving. Sprinkle ground pine nuts on top of the meat (OPTIONAL). You can also sprinkle sesame seeds instead.
Sprinkle ground pine nuts
You can enjoy galbi simply with a bowl of rice and a salad of your choice. However, traditional galbi dinner includes rice, doenjang Jjigae (soy bean paste stew), kimchi and a few side dishes. Also, Koreans enjoy making “ssam” (wrap) when eating galbi or other meat. To make ssam, place a leaf of red leaf lettuce on your palm, layer it with a perilla leaf (optional), place meat and a dab of ssamjang (dipping sauce). You can also add sliced garlic and sliced green chili peppers. Then, close the lettuce and enjoy the eruption of heavenly flavors in your mouth.