Korean Kalbi traditionally is soy-marinated chuck flanken-style beef ribs, quickly grilled, and eaten with rice wrapped in lettuce cups.
Our Recipe: Korean Kalbi Cheater BBQ-style.
Why Make It: Kalbi is a fantastic meal for a dinner party. The exotic soy-ginger-garlic-sesame oil-marinated beef served in crisp iceberg lettuce cups with cooked rice and fresh vegetables knocks everyone out, every time. And today’s sushi-loving kids with adventurous appetites will love the self-serve, customized lettuce cups approach to the meal.
Notes, Photos and the Recipe: Our Cheater BBQ version of Korean-style Kalbi uses the same soy-based marinade for the beef, but instead of beef ribs we use a super easy beef chuck roast and cook it down like a stew in a slow cooker. Regular beef short ribs also work well. Their bones, which are longer than thin flanken cross-cut ribs, are easier to fish out of the meat after it’s cooked. The bones pull right out of the nice pile of shredded meat. By the way, we have lots of great meals like this in our book, Cheater BBQ, Barbecue Anytime, Anywhere, in Any Weather. Hit the link to amazon.com on our home page to check it out.
Here’s what you need to prepare the kalbi meat:
The soy marinade is dark and mysterious and it will inspire a second batch.
Combine it all in a crockpot and leave it alone. Go do something else. It doesn’t need you.
Cooking the meat a day or two in advance lets you remove the congealed fat from the refrigerated meat juice. See step #5 below.
Set the table taco-style with all the fixings, starting with a heaping platter of iceberg, red leaf lettuce, and the traditional perilla leaves to use as the cups. We like Korean kimchi, lots of cooked rice, sliced green and red onion, hot peppers, cucumbers, and radishes. Sprigs of fresh, well-rinsed cilantro and lime wedges are a must–for the nontraditional types.
- 1 1/2 cups soy sauce
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 12 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
- 6 green onions, sliced
- 3 pounds beef chuck roast or 4 to 5 pounds beef short ribs or flanken-style ribs
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Garnishes cooked white jasmine rice, iceberg lettuce cups, kimchi, chopped jalapeno peppers, green onion slices, sliced red onion, radishes, cucumbers, lime wedges, and fresh cilantro sprigs.
Combine all sauce ingredients--everything but the chuck roast and the sesame seeds--in a (at least 5-quart) slow cooker. Stir until well blended.
Add the chuck roast, chuck flanken ribs, or short ribs and blend well.
Cover and cook on high 5 to 6 hours or on low 8 to 10 hours. The meat should be fall-apart tender.
Scoop the meat out of the juice and onto a platter and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
Serve the meat with a platter of lettuce cups, white rice, kimchi, and your garnishes.
When cooking the kalbi a day or two ahead (recommended):
Separate the cooked meat from the juices in the crockpot and refrigerate. Pour the reserved juice into a separate container and refrigerate. After the juice has chilled, remove any congealed fat with a spoon and discard it. Makes 10 servings.
To reheat the kalbi for serving:
In a saucepan over medium-low heat warm the kalbi moistened with a little of the defatted meat juice. Or, warm the kalbi in the slow cooker, or in a covered roasting pan in a 350°F oven for 20 to 30 minutes.