KOREAN-STYLE SHORT RIBS II (KALBI)
The most difficult thing about recreating authentic Korean barbecue flavors at home is sourcing a couple of ingredients you might not be familiar with, starting with cross-cut beef short ribs. These are short ribs that have been sliced using a bandsaw through the bones into strips 6 to 8 inches long and about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. (Show your butcher the photo above if he/she needs a visual.) The second ingredient is a Korean red pepper paste called kochujang—sometimes spelled gochujang—which can be found in most Asian markets or online. If you can’t find it…no worries. Substitute a few drops of your favorite hot sauce. Serve with steamed rice.
- 5 to 6 pounds lean cross-cut beef short ribs, sometimes called flanken, Korean-cut, or L.A. cut
- One medium sweet onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
- One large fresh pear or Asian pear, cored and coarsely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
- One 1-1/2 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons dark (Asian) sesame oil
- 1-1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, plus more for serving
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 green onions, trimmed, white and green parts thinly sliced
- For serving: Leaf lettuce, Korean red pepper paste (see Note below), sliced fresh jalapenos, thinly sliced peeled fresh garlic, sprigs of fresh cilantro
Soak the ribs in cold water to remove any blood or bone dust or fragments; drain and repeat. Transfer to a large resealable plastic bag; use 2 bags if necessary.
Make the marinade: In a blender jar or food processor, combine the onion, pear, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, water, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, 1-1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, and black pepper. Blend or process until liquified. Pour over the ribs, massaging the bag to coat the ribs. Put the bag in a bowl or baking pan to contain potential leaks and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
Drain the ribs and discard the marinade.
Before grilling the ribs, assemble the suggested ingredients for serving attractively on a platter. Cover and chill until serving time.
When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to High and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Grill the rib strips for 3 to 4 minutes per side, turning once with tongs, until done. (Koreans generally like their ribs well-done, but you can cook them to taste.) Using kitchen shears, snip the meat off the bones and discard the bones. Transfer the meat to a platter and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions. To eat, put a smear of red pepper paste on a lettuce leaf, add other suggested condiments as desired, and roll up like an Asian taco.
Note: Korean red pepper paste, called kochujang or gochujang, can be found in the ethnic section of larger supermarkets or purchased online from www.amazon.com. We used the bottled and widely-available Annie Chun brand.