Make Korean Barbecue in Your Backyard With This Galbi Recipe (2023)

Galbi, Korean for short ribs, is the epitome of Korean BBQ. Many western cultures consider short ribs to be chewy and tough, requiring a long-cooking process such as braising to become tender. However, galbi can be enjoyed cooked over the grill because the meat is sliced very thin.

What's the Difference Between Galbi and Bulgogi?

The main difference betweeb galbi and bulgogi is the cut of the beef. Bulgogi is mainly made with thinly sliced beef (like cheese steak cuts) and is only marinated for a short period of time (about 30 minutes). Also, in most cases, bulgogi is cooked on a stovetop, often with vegetables. Galbi only indicates short ribs which are typically grilled. That said, you can use the galbi marinade for bulgogi.

What Cut of Beef to Use for Galbi

The Korean version of galbi is a three to four-inch-long short rib that has been butterflied, and then scored in a diamond pattern that further lengthens and tenderizes the meat, a laborious task.

The version we see in the US is known as L.A.-style galbi, as it was the Korean immigrants who settled in Los Angeles who found the thin short ribs cut laterally across the bones were much easier to source and took much less time to achieve tenderness. This short rib cut was exported back to Korea for its ease of use but the same delicious taste. Despite the different look of the cuts, one thing remains the same: the sweet and savory marinade!

Kimbap (Korean Seaweed Rice Rolls)

What Ingredients Are in Galbi?

This recipe is a blend of two recipes in my cookbook, Everyday Korean. I modified the recipe and created a truly easy version, using ingredients that can be found in just about any grocery store in America.

Koreans use fruit—mainly Korean pears or apples—to add sweetness in a lot of recipes while using less sugar but also achieving a more dynamic layered sweetness.Here, we use ripe bosc pear to tenderize the meat and add layered sweetness along with the sugar. Then we add usual suspects of Korean flavors like soy sauce, garlic, and sesame oil. To make life easier, I use a blender to mix everything together.

I have a fond memory of L.A-style galbi when I first moved to the US (East Lansing, Michigan) when I was 11. I spoke little English, but I still remember all the kids in the neighborhood congregating near our apartment when my mom started grilling galbi. She cut the galbi using scissors along each bone.

We all rushed to pick it up by the bone and bit off the tender yummy, slightly charred galbi. With mouthfuls of delicious meat, we all grinned with grease all over our lips and licked our fingers. After that evening, the parents of the kids who feasted on galbi brought us homemade cherry pie and wine as a thank you. It was one of my very first moments witnessing how delicious food can bring people together.

How To Cook Galbi in the Oven

To cook galbi in the oven, preheat the oven to 475 F and then switch to broil. Place a rack on the second highest setting. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the galbi on the sheet without crowding. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until the surface has lost most of the red color.

Flip the meat. Place the rack on the highest setting. Cook for another 5 minutes. Make sure you pay attention for the last 2 minutes, because all ovens are slightly different. Cook a few minutes more to achieve the doneness you like. I like the meat to have a slight char.

Tips for Making Galbi

  • Scale it up — This recipe can be doubled or tripled for large parties. Just make sure not to marinate the meat over a day. Because the short ribs contain bones, the blood from the bones can be released into the marinade and can change the flavor. The marinade can also cause the meat to become mushy if left too long.
  • Save the marinade — The remaining marinade can be strained and boiled to create sauce to be brushed on the galbi or for a different use afterwards. The reason for boiling is to remove any bacteria and straining is to remove any chunky bits to create a thick luscious sauce. I find that galbi doesn't need extra sauce on it, because it has been marinated. So I save the thickened sauce in a jar in the fridge and brush it on when I make grilled vegetables, tofu, or chicken. Do not brush it on before cooking the vegetables or protein, because it will burn. I recommend warming up the sauce a bit and then brushing it on in the last few minutes of cooking or on the finished product for enhanced flavor. Another favorite application of this sauce is to drizzle over simple egg fried rice.
  • Boneless short rib tip — Costco has boneless short ribs. I find them a bit too thick to use as-is. The best approach is to slice them in half to achieve about 1/4 inch thickness, and then tenderize the meat with the back of the knife or a meat tenderizer.
  • How to select short ribs — When I select galbi meat I look for bones that are flat and long oval shaped vs. thick and wide bones or small and circular bones. In Korea, galbi meat from rib bones 4, 5, and 6 are considered the most delicious.
  • Not all soy sauce is the same — In terms of soy sauce, I cannot emphasize enough that not all soy sauces are made equal—using soy sauce from the country of recipe origin is crucial. In this case, I recommend using a low-sodium version from Korea or Japan (this recipe was tested with Kikkoman low-sodium soy sauce). If you have a difficult time finding the low-sodium soy sauce, dilute it with 2 parts soy sauce and 1 part filtered water.
  • Make ahead — You can make the marinade a day or two ahead of time.

"The ribs were easy to prepare, and the flavors were a perfect balance between savory and sweet. To serve, cut the ribs into crosswise pieces. Bring the other ingredients to the table and let your family or guests build their own stuffed lettuce leaves. Garnish with scallions and black sesame seeds if you like." —Diana Andrews

Make Korean Barbecue in Your Backyard With This Galbi Recipe (2)

A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 large ripe bosc pear, 1 medium apple, or 1/4 kiwi peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped

  • 2 medium scallions, coarsely chopped

  • 5 to 6 medium cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup light brown or granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon fish or oyster sauce

  • 1 tablespoon mirin, optional

  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 pounds flanken-cut short ribs

  • Cooked white rice, for serving

  • Lettuce leaves, for serving

  • Perilla leaves, for serving, optional

  • Kimchi and other banchan, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Make Korean Barbecue in Your Backyard With This Galbi Recipe (3)

  2. Make the marinade. Add the pear, scallions, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, fish sauce, mirin, if using,sesame oil, and black pepper to a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth.

    Make Korean Barbecue in Your Backyard With This Galbi Recipe (4)

  3. Place a large resealable plastic bag in a large bowl. Pour the marinade into the bag. Set aside.

    Make Korean Barbecue in Your Backyard With This Galbi Recipe (5)

  4. Tenderize the beef by using the back of the knife or a meat tenderizer to gently pound the meat around the bones. Flip the meat and repeat until the meat appears to have doubled in size.

    Make Korean Barbecue in Your Backyard With This Galbi Recipe (6)

  5. Place the meat in the marinade. Massage the marinade into the meat to coat evenly, seal the bag, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or up to 20 hours.

    Make Korean Barbecue in Your Backyard With This Galbi Recipe (7)

  6. 30 minutes before cooking, take the meat out of the fridge and remove it from the marinade, allowing excess marinade to drip off.

    Make Korean Barbecue in Your Backyard With This Galbi Recipe (8)

  7. Preheat the grill to about 500 F, or prepare a hot charcoal grill fire and cook the meat, flipping frequently, over direct heat until it is done to your liking, 15 to 18 minutes. It should be well-browned and lightly charred in spots.

    Make Korean Barbecue in Your Backyard With This Galbi Recipe (9)

  8. Serve with rice, lettuce leaves, perilla leaves, if using, kimchi, and other banchan to make it a true Korean BBQ experience.

    Make Korean Barbecue in Your Backyard With This Galbi Recipe (10)

How to Store

Galbi is best eaten the day it is made, but you can refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Wrap them in foil and reheat in a 350 F oven until heated through.

Recipe Variations

  • The marinate is absolutely versatile—I have used it in marinating skirt steak, flank steak, chicken thighs, and thinly sliced pork steaks.
  • If you don’t have pears, you can use apples, too. If you find Korean pears, definitely use those. My mother used kiwi, because it contains enzymes that tenderize meat. But be aware NOT to use more than 1/4 kiwi, because it can really disintegrate the meat into pasty mush.

Manul Changachi: Korean Pickled Garlic

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
34g Fat
21g Carbs
39g Protein


Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 34g43%
Saturated Fat 14g72%
Cholesterol 142mg47%
Sodium 486mg21%
Total Carbohydrate 21g8%
Dietary Fiber 2g9%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 39g
Vitamin C 3mg17%
Calcium 63mg5%
Iron 6mg32%
Potassium 623mg13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Recipe Tags:

  • galbi
  • kalbi
  • short ribs
  • soy sauce

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What is Galbi sauce made of? ›

The marinade for so-galbi-gui (소갈비구이; "grilled beef ribs") typically includes soy sauce, sugar, minced garlic and scallions, ginger juice, ground black pepper, toasted and ground sesame, and sesame oil.

What is the difference between kalbi and Galbi? ›

Galbi ⇢ You may hear both of these terms used interchangeably because they're essentially the same! Galbi is the Korean word for “rib” – it's another way to refer to Korean kalbi. Kalbi vs. Bulgogi ⇢ The difference between these two dishes is the type of meat that is used.

What cut of meat is best for Galbi? ›

"Galbi" translates to English as "ribs," and at Korean-style barbecue restaurants in the United States, the term has become overwhelmingly synonymous with beef short ribs cut through—rather than parallel to—the rib bones into long, thin pieces.

What is Korean BBQ marinade made of? ›

The marinade can vary from region to region, but the most common ingredients are soy sauce, sugar, ginger garlic, pepper sesame oil, and scallions. The mixture is more soy sauce-based when talking about Bulgogi, but other marinades include pear and fruits like pineapple.

What is the difference between galbi and bulgogi sauce? ›

The type of meat is the primary difference between kalbi and bulgogi in Korean cooking. You make kalbi with short ribs and bulgogi with ribeye, sirloin, tenderloin, and brisket. Both are thinly cut, their marinades are practically identical, and the total time needed to cook either is similar.

Is galbi sauce same as bulgogi sauce? ›

You might wonder what the difference is between bulgogi and kalbi sauces since both are essentially barbecue sauces. The big difference is really that the kalbi (or galbi as it's sometimes called) is made specifically for beef short ribs while bulgogi is most popularly made with thinly sliced beef.

Why is Galbi so expensive? ›

The main feat why it is so expensive is because of the excellent marbling it has. As a result, despite it being a bit thicker than most Korean BBQ meat, it remains tender and juicy to eat. Quality at its finest! The traditional Korean Galbi is cut along the bones and the meat is butterflied.

Why is Galbi expensive? ›

As galbijjim is usually made from only the center part of ribs from a calf while the rib ends used to make soup stock, galbi was more expensive than other cuts of beef in South Korea, and has been regarded as a high-class dish.

Why do you soak short ribs in water? ›

This recipe is meant to feed a crowd (6 to 8), but you can easily halve it. Start with 8 pounds of trimmed short ribs. Soak them (yes, soak them—it drains the ribs of excess blood) in a very large bowl of cold water for two hours, changing the water after the first hour.

What is the flavor of galbi? ›

Galbi is a classic Korean barbeque dish with sweet and slightly smoky marinade. It has a fire-grilled flavor, making the beef tastes more textural. You can also use the sauce to make Galbijjim (Braised Short Ribs) and enjoy with a bowl of rice.

What is galbi meat called? ›

“Galbi" is the Korean word for "rib", and this dish is usually made with beef short ribs or pork spareribs. For our final feature on Korean cuisine this round, we are showcasing LA galbi - marinated grilled beef short ribs, which most people are familiar eating at Korean barbecue restaurants!

What are the two sauces at Korean BBQ? ›

At a typical Korean restaurant, sauce #1 (Ssamjang) is served in a small bowl for sharing, while sauces #2 (Sesame oil, salt, and pepper sauce) and #3 (Wasabi and soy sauce) are provided individually to each person. These sauces are usually refilled for free as needed.

What makes Korean BBQ so good? ›

Korean BBQ is also known for its distinctly sweet taste, calling for ingredients like soy sauce, sugar, garlic, sesame and oil. For the ultra-adventurous, some recipes use pear and honey for an even more sophisticated flavor profile.

What sauce do they use at Korean BBQ? ›

Ssamjang is the undisputed king of Korean BBQ sauces. Combining fermented soybean paste (doenjang), spicy gochujang, sesame oil, garlic, and green onions, this addictive sauce packs a punch. Its rich, savory umami flavor enhances the smoky goodness of grilled meats.

What does galbi sauce taste like? ›

Korean Barbeque Sauce

Galbi is a classic Korean barbeque dish with sweet and slightly smoky marinade. It has a fire-grilled flavor, making the beef tastes more textural. You can also use the sauce to make Galbijjim (Braised Short Ribs) and enjoy with a bowl of rice.

How would you describe galbi? ›

Kalbi or galbi generally refers to a variety of gui or grilled dishes in Korean cuisine that are made with marinated beef (or pork) short ribs in a ganjang-based sauce (Korean soy sauce). In the Korean language, galbi literally means "rib" and can refer to cooked or uncooked ribs.

What is the meaning of galbi? ›

Galbi means “ribs” in Korean, and is a popular Korean dish served in many places. LA galbi is a style of galbi – barbecued beef short ribs – cut thinly (about ¼ inch thick) across the bones.

What does LA galbi taste like? ›

How does Galbi taste like? A burst of flavors on every bite! The soy sauce gives it its slightly salty taste. While the brown sugar, mirin, and pear add sweetness to it and act as a meat tenderizer.

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