Galbi Gui (Korean Beef Ribs) and Grilling Tips

Galbi Gui | www.kimchimom.comYou know it’s a special occasion when my mom fires up the grill. Rain or snow, she will grill up pounds of meat for platters of glistening galbi gui. Galbi gui, or more commonly referred to as galbi, uses rib meat. Galbi literally means “rib” in Korean. The meat is marinated in a soy-based marinade with hints of sweetness. And of course, each family has its own “secret” recipe.

A popular cut of rib is called L.A. galbi which is flanken cut into 1/4″ thick slices (see below). This cut purportedly makes the rib easier to eat and more tender. It can be found in your local Korean market. Traditionally (and what my mom does) the English cut is butterflied resulting in a 1/4″ thick cut unfurled from the bone. When I don’t have time to drive to HMart, I’ve bought boneless short rib at my local grocery store and cut it into 1/4″ thick slices at home (see below again). If you opt to do it this way, place the short rib in the freezer for about 20 to 30 minutes to firm them up a bit. Careful not to freeze the beef; you just want to firm up the beef to make it easier to cut into thin slices.


10 pounds of L.A. cut galbi.

Kalbi |

Cutting boneless short rib into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Grilling the beef is ideal, but it can also be broiled in the oven. If you’re using the broiler in your oven, broil the first side for about 5-7 minutes and the other side for about 2-3 minutes for medium doneness. Just keep an eye on the beef so that it doesn’t burn.

Galbi is typically served with red leaf lettuce, perilla leaves, or other leafy vegetables to wrap the meat, and smeared with a dab of ssamjang (sauce made up of fermented bean paste and red pepper paste). I include a recipe for simple ssamjang below, but you can also buy the “bottled” version of the sauce at your local Korean market. Happy grilling!

Galbi Gui |

Galbi Gui

Yields about 4-6 servings

3 pounds beef rib meat
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons sake

1 – In a food processor or blender, add the onion and garlic with about 1/4 cup of water. Pulse until pureed.

2 – I prefer to marinate the beef in a gallon-size plastic storage bag, but a bowl or a flat storage container will suffice.

Tip: If you’re using a bag, place the bag in a tall container to make mixing the marinade easier and without having to add another dirty dish to the pile in the sink.


After you’ve selected your marinating vessel, mix together the onion/garlic puree, soy sauce, 1/4 cup of water, brown sugar, and sake. Add the beef and make sure every every inch is coated. Marinate for at least 2 hours, and overnight if you have time.

3 – Heat the grill on high. Grill for about 5-7 minutes on each side for medium doneness.

4 – Serve and eat right away!

Simple Ssamjang

2 Tablespoons dwaenjang (fermented soybean paste)
2 Tablespoons gochujang (fermented red pepper paste)
2 stalks green onions, sliced thinly crosswise
1 Tablespoon sesame seed oil

In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients together until combined. Add more sesame seed oil if desired. The consistency should be that of a really thick batter.


I missed an awesome grilling workshop sponsored by Land O Lakes®, but here are a few grilling tips that they shared for the grilling season. I need to work on NOT micromanaging my grill!

Grilling DO’s and DON’Ts


  • Start with a clean grill. Meat is less likely to stick to clean grates.
  • Apply nonstick spray before turning on the grill or coat with a light coat of olive or canola oil.
  • Use a meat thermometer. Take the guesswork out of grilling foods to the right temperature.
  • Take food off of the grill a few minutes before it reaches the desired temperature. Food will continue to cook after it is taken off the grill.
  • Choose the best ingredients for the grill.


  • Puncture or press on the meat. You’ve all seen people flattening burgers with a spatula—don’t do it! This squeezes all the juices out.
  • Micromanage the meat. To get the best char marks, flip just once. Also, let the grill do its job. Don’t open the lid too often. If you’re looking, it’s not cooking!
  • Leave the grill unattended. A lonely grill is an unsafe grill.
  • Allow children and pets near the grill. It’s fun to grill as a family, but maintain adult supervision and allow them to watch from a safe distance.
  • Dispose of hot coals. Let them cool completely before disposing in a metal container.
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  • Miss Kim @ behgopa

    Yummy! So may I ask what the special occasion was? Someone’s bday? Anniversary? Special announcement? Hehe..just curious.
    The weather has been so warm and lovely lately…perfect for grilling outside. I bet you make your neighbors drool when grilling Galbi. I know mine always do.

    • kimchi_mom

      This time around, a friend of mine from college visited us. I hadn’t seen her for years and we did a lot of catching up! She is also on a GF diet so this meal was perfect for her!


    It looks terrific! Your delicious marinade sounds perfect for pork too. I can already imagine preparing beef ribs for my husband and pork ribs for me… It would be a fantastic feast! I have never had ssamjang, but I have all the ingredients and I think I have fallen in love even without tasting it 😉

    • kimchi_mom

      I didn’t even think about pork, but yes, I bet pork ribs would be delish also!

      I could eat rice alone with the lettuce and a schmear of ssamjang! I actually just added a spoonful to my ramen today! :-)

  • Joseph C. Kim

    Love the tips. Beef, chicken, or pork. Love it Korean style!

    • kimchi_mom

      Yeah! Me too! :-)

  • Ann

    My family loves bbq Korean short ribs. We often find that the ribs are a bit tough despite the marinade and proper cooking techniques. Do you think adding soda or grated asian pear would help. My friend suggested kiwi. I know that kiwi will “mush” the texture of the meat so I haven’t tried it yet. Your comments are much welcome. Thank you.

    • kimchi_mom

      I’ve never tried soda or Asian pear, but have seen recipes with these ingredients. I think for proper tenderization, you need a mildly acidic ingredient. The pear will certainly work or you can use apple juice if you can’t find Asian pear. I’ve included sake in my recipe which serves as the “tenderizer”, as well as the acid from the onion.

  • Nancy

    Great grilling tips, Ames. Tony and I love to bbq but we unfortunately need a new grill, which gives me the sads. We’ve had many good memories, ol’ Weber ‘n I. I can never get enough of Korean short ribs. Whenever I go to a BBQ and see a giant pan-ful, I’m all over it. Thanks for your recipe – I can’t wait to make it this summer. I see many pounds of tasty grilled meat in my future!

    • kimchi_mom

      Hey Nance! Well, I hope you get a new grill soon otherwise it will be a sad sad summer! You can have these ribs using your broiler also. Let me know how it goes.

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