Time to break out the charcoal-fired grill to make this complex, smoky flavored LA Galbi or "meat on the bone." —INGRAIN, Summer 2019
RECIPE / Debbie Yoon
When I was growing up, my stubborn Korean mother insisted on pulling out her small, rusted, charcoal-fired Weber grill, even as I envied all of the gorgeous propane grills in my friends’ backyards. It’s only now that I understand why my mom refused to use a grill that wasn’t fueled by charcoal. You just can’t get that deep, complex smoky character from propane. It’s integral to Korean BBQ.
Galbi (aka kalbi) translates to “meat on the bone”; it typically refers to beef. The dish by the same name is marinated, grilled short ribs. You can purchase galbi marinade at any Korean market. Reach for the plastic bottle with a red top; it’s usually in the sauce aisle or on display near the meat section (galbi is different from bulgogi).
There are many theories as to how LA galbi got its name. One is that “LA” refers to the lateral axis because the meat is cut laterally (and why it is important to remove any loose shards of bone). Soaking the short ribs in cold water removes any blood (they should look pale). Remember to get some ssamjang (spicy dipping sauce), perilla leaves (can also be used to make a Perilla Smash cocktail), and plenty of banchan choices for serving while you’re at the Korean market picking up the meat. We recommend pickled vegetable options for some acidity with this meaty dish.
Serves 4 to 6
2 pounds LA galbi (Korean short ribs)
½ medium onion
½ medium Asian pear
6 garlic cloves
½ cup powdered honey (or sugar)
½ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
To serve: Lettuce leaves (red or green leaf) + perilla leaves + ssamjang + plenty of banchan
Korean oak wood charcoal (soot or sut), available at Korean markets, or use standard charcoal.
RINSE 2 pounds LA galbi well, then let soak in cold water for 20 minutes in the fridge. Once pale, drain water (do not pat meat dry). Pour marinade over meat, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
Meat and preheat a charcoal grill over medium-high heat. When grill is hot, cook meat until charred, about 5 minutes; flip and grill until meat is well done, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. The ribs should be well-charred, but keep an eye on them; they’re thin, so they cook quickly.
SERVE Ribs family-style with lettuce leaves (red or green leaf) + perilla leaves+ ssamjang + plenty of banchan.
PLACE 1/2 medium onion (diced) + 1/2 medium Asian pear (chopped) + 1/2-inch-piece ginger (peeled, finely grated) + 6 garlic cloves in a blender. Add 1/2 cup powdered honey (or sugar) + 1/2 cup soy sauce + 1 tablespoon (each) mirin + sesame oil + orange juice + 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Purée until creamy to make the marinade.
In the mood for more Korean food? Check out Gimme Ssam.