Killer Kalbi Recipe

A couple of weeks ago, Annie catered a lunch to thank all the volunteers who helped out at our church’s summer VBS program. She needed something that she could prepare in mass quantities ahead of time, cook fast, and please the Asian palates of the volunteers. She decided to make a big batch of kalbi.

The other day, Annie got this email from a friend of ours who had eaten some of Annie’s kalbi at the appreciation lunch. (The names have been blanked out to protect the guilty):

So… you ever have one of those dining experiences in which a particular food was so bad, it created a craving for a better version of that food? ****** just did that to me today. We went over today for a visit and to run an errand for her. She had some short ribs marinating for a bbq (I know, I know, it’s grilling, not a bbq) tomorrow and gave us some to cook at home.

We got home and I could already smell that the beef was beyond prime. Dutifully, I broiled them a little longer to kill off them buggers, but to no avail. We all tried eating a piece, and then we moved on to better things… like dessert. They tasted like they’d been sitting in the fridge since Monday. All along, the only thing I could think of was the heavenly kalbi you made for VBS. So now I’m bugging you for the recipe and I will not let you rest until I get it. =P You can place all the blame on ******.

Kalbi recipe.



Pretty please?

Lovingly from Annie’s Fan Club Member #84756

This killer kalbi recipe was given to Annie by our Pastor’s wife Sandy who, besides being a great friend and role model, is also an excellent Korean cook.

Sandy’s Killer Korean Kalbi

2 pounds of thin-sliced beef short ribs (We picked up our short ribs for kalbi for $3.99 / lb from the Kyo-Po Market on El Camino Real in Santa Clara. You should be able to find thin-sliced beef short ribs for kalbi at your local Asian grocery. If not, simply use regular beef short ribs.)

Rinse the ribs, pat them dry, and place them in a pan or dish large enough to hold all the meat and then some.

1/2 cup grated onions
2 Tbsp honey (or use 1 can of 7-up in place of honey)

Puree the onion in a food processor until it is almost liquid.

Pour the grated onion over the beef and add the honey (we used 7-Up instead). Turn each of the ribs so they are all coated. Let sit for 2-3 hours to tenderize the beef. Drain the pre-marinade liquid. You don’t have to scrape off the onion solids but just get rid of most of the liquid.

Kalbi marinade:

5 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp honey
4 Tbsp Chinese rice wine
2 tsp Korean toasted sesame oil
2 stalks green onion, minced
4 tsp chopped garlic (1 to 2 cloves)
2 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp ginger root, grated
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, then pour over the pre-marinated kalbi. Marinate ovenight.

Annie prepared the kalbi days ahead of time, so she put the short ribs in a large oven roasting bag, poured the kalbi marinade over the ribs, and put the roasting bag in the freezer. The day before she was going to grill the kalbi, she took the bag of kalbi out from the freezer to thaw and finish marinating.

Preheat your grill to high and clean the grates. Grill the kalbi very quickly, no more than 2 minutes per side.

Remember, these kalbi are very thin, and your grill is very hot. They will overcook easily and can turn from a mouth-watering, tender piece of beef into a tough, dry, burnt piece of jerky in a minute. It’s okay if the meat is still a little pink in the middle. It’s not okay to get distracted and forget to keep an eye on the kalbi. Be careful!

I call this a “killer” kalbi recipe because after you’re done eating, all that’s left will be a pile of bones. Many people have told us, and I agree, that this kalbi recipe is better than the kalbi you can find in most Korean restaurants. So try this kalbi recipe out for yourself and tell us what you think!

Aloha, Nate

This recipe was entered in the Monthly MingleGrill It! event.

38 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Kevin says:

    >That kalbi looks really tasty!

  2. Sig says:

    >Wow, I love love Korean short ribs, trying this one for sure…But 7-up in place of honey… hmmm… I am lost, can you elaborate please?

    BTW, thanks for sending this one for the Monthly Mingle…

  3. Meeta says:

    >Oh yes these I could sink my teeth into! But like Sig, I am lost with the 7-up thing!! Thank you for joining us at the mingle.

  4. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@Kevin – thanks.

    @Sig and Meeta – the 7-Up has sweetness but the soda also helps to tenderize the meat.

  5. Lesha says:

    >My Korean mother uses Pepsi. The reason for the soda is that the meat used is very tough. The acid in the soda will tenderize it while the extra sugar and flavor gives it a sweet caramalized glaze and added depth of flavor.

  6. Kevin says:

    >WOW looks Great!!

    When you say thinly sliced how thick are you talking? 1/4 inch? I am going to have to ask my butcher to do it.



  7. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@Kevin – thanks! I would say 1/4 inch is about right. Have fun making the dish!

  8. Jez says:

    >Wow.. Annie.. your kalbi looks great! I am going to try this recipe. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get short ribs in the city where I live. Majority of population is White and Latinos. I usually make trip to Korean supermarket in LA when I go there. Due to high gas I am stuck here for a while. Any recommendation for other meat part?

  9. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@Jez – You can use regular beef short ribs in this recipe.

  10. PetiteKitchen says:

    >Wow, 7Up in Kalbi! The recipe I learned from my mom uses sugar. Great idea to use it for tenderizing. You can also use asian pear juice.

  11. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@petitekitchen – yes, we know you can use Asian pear in this (you can also use kiwi). But we had 7-Up handy so that’s what we used. Do you grate your own pear for juice, or use bottled?

  12. PetiteKitchen says:

    >I usually just up a pear at the local asian market, just as I’m picking up the short ribs for the marinade. I have a juicer that is great for this. Whatever juice I don’t use I freeze in ice cubes for future batches. I’ll definately have to try the 7-Up. The ribs in the photo look so good.

  13. PetiteKitchen says:

    >Uh, I meant “I usually just pick up a pear”, not “up a pear”. I can’t type.

  14. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@PetiteKitchen – got it, thanks! Good luck with the kalbi recipe!

  15. Anonymous says:

    >Thanks so much for this recipe! Your blog is awesome. I have made this recipe with Boylans Cola instead of 7-Up and it still comes out amazing. :)

  16. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@Anonymous – thanks! I’ve never hand Boylan’s Cola. I love that it uses atural cane sugar instead of corn syrup.

  17. white on rice couple says:

    >I would call these Kick ASS kalbi! Thanks to you guys and Sandy! Korean food ROCKS.

  18. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@WoRC – you’re welcome!

  19. Cindy says:

    >Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! This was a hit at my party, and people kept asking me me for the recipe :-) I used 7-up, but I’d like to try it with coke next time just to compare.

  20. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@Cindy – you’re welcome! I hope you told them to come visit the House of Annie blog.

    I’d be interested in knowing if there’s a flavor difference between 7-Up and Coke (or even Dr. Pepper!). Whatever you do, don’t use Diet.

  21. Anonymous says:

    >I used Dr.Pepper 23 come out amazing :)

  22. Nobuta Power chun yuu says:

    >This recipe was the best!

  23. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@Nobuta – thanks for the feedback! Glad you liked it.

  24. Anonymous says:

    >this recipe looks good! I'll try it out. I have been using those jar ones, and they seem to be okay compare to going to Korean Restaurant. Those jar cost like 5 dollars and can marinate 5lbs of beef ribs.

  25. Kathleen says:

    >my gosh… even your picture of pre-marinated ribs had me drooling all over my office desk! LOL…

    I'm planning for a new year eve's BBQ and will definitely make this for my guests.

    Keep you posted.

    Thanks for the recipe by the way. yum yum…

    Kathleen (Kuching)

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My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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