BBQ Shortrib [Korean Tong Kalbi Style]

Our absolute favourite meat over the past couple of years has been Korean style barbeque short ribs.  The only problem is that whenever we order it at a restaurant, it’s so expensive!  We decided to save money, we needed to learn how to do it ourselves.

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This post doesn’t have us making our own marinade, as we’ve found that we can buy a bottle of pre-made marinade for cheaper than it would cost for us to make it ourselves (only $3.99 when its on sale, and good for 2-4 servings!)  I will include a quick and dirty guide for making your own though, as it isn’t really hard.

Ingredients for marinade:

  • Soy sauce
  • Sugar (I prefer brown sugar)
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Garlic
  • 2 Green Onions
  • 2 Asian Pear (super important!)
  • Sesame Oil
  • Rice Wine

To make the marinade, combine equal parts soy and sugar in a large flat bowl.  Generally 1/2 a cup of each works well.  Mince the garlic, onion, and green onions, and stir in.  Finely grate the pear, and add 1/2 of it to the marinade.  Use the other half as a dry rub for the short rib.  Add in a splash of sesame oil and rice wine, and that’s it!

How to cut the shortrib:

At most non-Asian super markets, they’ll sell shortrib as stewing ribs.  It is unlikely they will sell the L.A. style cut, which is where they cut long thin strips through the bone, as seen in the picture below.

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(note this is from a different time making kalbi.  This cut will not turn out like this!)

This is the cut of meat you will most likely be able to find at your local grocery store:

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We’ll need to butcher each piece of meat so that it is nice and thin so that it can soak up all of the marinade. There are 2 main ways of doing this: Slicing the meat using over/under cuts, or slicing the meat while continually rolling it out.

Over/Under Cut Method:

Start cutting from the bone, and do a straight cut down, almost to the edge of the meat, however making sure not to cut through it.  Flip it over, and from about 2 mm from the cut, perform another straight cut down, being super careful not to cut the meat fully through.  Continue doing this until you are at the very end.

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You’ll notice there are distinct ridges on the ‘under’ cuts when you do this method.  While not the prettiest, it does work, and is slightly easier.

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Continual Cut Method:

Once again, start directly next to the bone.  Slice down until almost reaching the bottom.  Angle your blade and piece of meat so that you can continue cutting an even 2 mm slab of meat, effectively ‘unrolling’ the meat.

This method requires a bit more practice, but yields a more uniform slab!

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As shown above, score a cross-hatch pattern into your meat, so that the marinade will penetrate every last bit of it.

For best results, clean away all of the excess cartilage and chewy sinewy stuff from the bone.  It’s not easily edible.

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Place all the meat in a large container and marinade overnight.

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Toss the container around every couple hours for better results.  By next morning, most of the marinade should have soaked into the meat.

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I prefer grilling these on a bbq, and getting a nice char and smoke on them.  Place then diagonally against the grills to get a nice pattern on them.  They don’t take long to cook as they are thin.

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Take them off the grill and serve immediately!

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Ta da! there you have it! some Korean style bbq shortribs made from an English cut of meat!  Jax and I can quite literally live off of this every day!



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