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Grilled Korean Kalbi Short Ribs

My mother-in-law once took me under her wing to teach me her secret recipe for a kalbi short rib marinade, and in typical Korean mom fashion, she provided no quantities nor did she recite the ingredients slowly enough so I could write them down. So I went back to the drawing board for this recipe, relying on flavor memories and lots of tasting to get it right. My Korean-American husband gives it two thumbs up!

Grilled Korean Kalbi Short Ribs

Grilled Korean Kalbi Short Ribs

Grilled Korean Kalbi Short Ribs


3 1/2 to 4 pounds "LA kalbi" (short ribs cut across the bone) or bone-in short ribs
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup cola
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 Korean pear or 1 Bosc pear, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
White rice, lettuce leaves, perilla leaves, hot bean paste (ssamjang), and sliced raw garlic, for garnish (optional)


  1. Wash the ribs: In a large bowl, soak the ribs in cold water for about 20 minutes. Pour out the water, then wash the ribs in several changes of water, scrubbing off bone fragments and other debris. The ribs are ready when very little blood shows up in the water. Drain, and set aside.
  2. Make the marinade: Combine remaining ingredients (except garnish) in a food processor or blender and purée. Place washed ribs in a deep dish or casserole. Pour the marinade over the meat, and mix it with your hands to combine. Make sure the beef is well coated with the sauce. Refrigerate and marinate overnight for best results but at least one hour.
  3. Light a gas or charcoal grill on medium-high heat. Lay each short rib strip on the grill for about two minutes per side. The outside should be caramelized and charred, and the inside should be cooked all the way through (medium rare meat will be difficult to remove from the bone).
  4. With kitchen shears or a knife, cut each rib strip between the bone segments to get three pieces per rib. Serve with white rice, lettuce leaves, perilla leaves, hot bean paste (ssamjang), and sliced raw garlic.

Serves 8 to 10.

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