Kalbi is a classic Korean Barbeque Short Ribs dish, perfect for summer grilling, but perfectly suitable to make any time of year. This recipe has my Korean mama’s secret ingredient for extra tender short ribs!

Kalbi - On a Platter with Green Onion and Rice

As Korean food has become more and more popular in the US, this dish has played a huge part in paving the way to that popularity. It’s one of the main staples of Korean BBQ, and people rightfully go bonkers over how good it is.

Korean kalbi is a special-cut beef short rib (often labeled Korean style short ribs) that’s marinated in a sweet and salty marinade, and grilled until caramelized and deeply brown. It’s the food of my childhood and something my Korean mama has made for me for years and years. Every time my mom threw a party, there would always be kalbi. Always.

And sometimes my mom would decide that we just needed to make and eat lots of kalbi, and she’d call it a party. Even when no one else was coming over. Haha 🙂

Kalbi Beef - Stacked on a Platter with Green Onion and Rice

This recipe uses most of the standard ingredients for Kalbi, but also includes my mom’s secret ingredient, which helps tenderize the meat.

What is it? Kiwi!

But, she has also used pineapple. The secret to the kiwi and pineapple is the enzymes in them that tenderize the meat naturally. Just make sure not to leave the beef in the marinade too long, or the beef will be too tender.

How to Make Kalbi:

To get started, combine grated kiwi, grated asian pear, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, sesame oil, and black pepper:

Marinade Ingredients Including Grated Pear and Soy Sauce for Korean Kalbi Beef in Bowl

Mix this together, and then you have your marinade:

Kalbi Sauce - in Mixing Bowl with Spatula

Now it’s time to grab your beef! These are Korean-style short ribs. They have three bones on the top and a couple inches of meat below. These are actually a little bit skimpier than normal, but nevertheless, you can see how beautifully marbled the meat is:

Korean Style Cut Short Ribs on a Cutting Board for Kalbi

Combine the beef and marinade in a ziptop bag:

Kalbi in a Plastic Bag Marinating in the Sauce

Marinate this for 4 hours, and as long as overnight.

Now it’s time to cook the beef! The preferred method is to grill them, but when that’s not an option, I’ve found that the second best method is to broil them.

Set the marinated beef on top of a wire rack on a sheet pan:

Korean Kalbi Beef Ribs Laid on a Wire Rack Over Sheet Pan

Broil on high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, until they are deeply brown and caramelized:

Kalbi Ribs Cooked and Caramelized on Wire Rack

If that’s not an option either, you can pan-fry them, but they don’t caramelize as evenly. They’re still good though.

Kalbi Meat Served on Platter with Green Onion and Rice

Serve the kalbi with rice, or any desired Korean side dishes. For more Korean dishes, I recommend my mom’s Kim Bap (Korean Rice Rolls) and Korean Beef Bites.

Korean Kalbi Beef on a Platter with Rice

Korean Kalbi Beef

Kalbi is a classic Korean Barbeque Short Ribs dish, perfect for summer grilling, but perfectly suitable to make any time of year. It’s marinated in a sweet and salty soy sauce-based marinade that caramelizes beautifully as the short ribs cook.
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Ingredients

  • 1 Asian pear peeled and grated
  • 1 kiwi peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic pressed or minced
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds Korean style beef short ribs

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, whisk to combine the grated Asian pear, grated kiwi, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, sesame oil, and a few cracks of black pepper. Combine in a marinade bag with the beef, and let marinate for at least 4 hours, and as long as overnight.
  • Remove the beef from the marinade, and discard the marinade. Either grill the beef for 3-4 minutes on each side, or broil them on top of a wire rack set over a sheet pan, also for 3-4 minutes on each side. If those two cooking options aren't available, you can also pan fry them in a skillet. Cook them until they are caramelized and deeply brown on the edges. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 297kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 65mg, Sodium: 1156mg, Potassium: 533mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 16g, Vitamin A: 15IU, Vitamin C: 15.7mg, Calcium: 32mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.