Korean short ribs are tasty thin slices of beef that are marinated with an irresistible savory and sweet sauce then grilled to perfection. The sauce caramelizes giving the meat so much umami flavor. Even if you don’t have an outdoor grill, you can still make these delicious flavorful Korean short ribs inside with the oven broiler or an indoor grill pan.
Korean short ribs are known as both kalbi and as galbi, which means rib in Korean. The Korean-style galbi cut of beef is especially thin, about ¼ inch, as opposed to a Jewish flanken cut which is about 1 inch thick. The meat also comes boneless, which is my favorite way to buy it for convenience. When this dish is made with the flanken-style short ribs, the name actually becomes LA Galbi, named after Los Angeles, the city where this cut of meat was first used for this dish.
The marinade for this dish is an important step. This marinade includes fruit high in enzymes, like Asian pear, kiwi, or pineapple. The enzymes in the fruit help tenderize the beef which allows it to be quickly cooked. Otherwise, short ribs tend to be a tough cut of meat and are usually made tender by slow cooking.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- This recipe is easy to make and thinly sliced short ribs cook quickly.
- This is a restaurant style recipe that is fun to make at home.
- Korean BBQ short ribs are so tasty with lots of umami flavor. The marinade serves as a sweet and savory sauce that caramelizes on the cooked beef.
- Slice the beef thinly for best results since short ribs are a tough cut of beef. The butcher may be able to do this for you. Cut the short ribs against the grain to make them even more tender.
- Don’t step away when cooking the galbi because the beef is sliced thin and cooks quickly.
- For the best flavor, marinate short ribs for at least 4 hours to overnight. Just an hour or two will be fine if you're in a time crunch.
- Exact cook time depends on the thickness of the meat, the temperature of the meat before cooking, and the grill temperature.
- If the ribs are not tender, marinate them for longer next time.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
See the recipe card below for a complete ingredient list and measurements.Jump to Recipe
- Soy sauce - I recommend low sodium soy sauce or tamari.
- Mirin rice wine - Substitute with sake if needed.
- Sesame oil - Adds such good flavor to this dish. Don’t skip it, because there really isn’t a great substitute for the deep toasted flavor of sesame oil.
- Fresh ginger - Ginger root can be found in the produce section. Peel it by scraping with a spoon, and grate with a microplane. Store leftover ginger in the freezer. No need to defrost before using; it grates well when frozen. Substitute with a pinch of ground ginger, but the flavor of fresh ginger will be much different.
- Fresh garlic - Fresh garlic is ideal, but dried granulated garlic can be used.
- Asian pear - Also known as Korean pear. This is the secret ingredient that helps tenderize the meat and gives it an extra special flavor. Substitutes for Asian pear include kiwi, pineapple, or a regular pear.
- Boneless beef short ribs - This recipe works well with thin boneless short ribs or bone-in flanken cut short ribs, also called cross cut short ribs. Flanken short ribs are cut perpendicular to the bone, and will contain oval cross sections of the bone in each piece of meat.
Another option is to use ribeye, top sirloin, or beef tenderloin. When those cuts of meat are used, the dish is called bulgogi. The meat is sliced thinly, and the same galbi marinade is used.
- Other ingredients - brown sugar and black pepper.
- Optional garnish - I like adding sesame seeds and thinly sliced green onions to garnish this Korean BBQ dish.
Step by Step Photos
See the recipe card below for complete directions.Jump to Recipe
Step 1. Select meat
Start with boneless Korean style short ribs (about ¼" thick), or cross cut bone-in short ribs work well too. Have a butcher cut the meat for you if it doesn't come packaged this way.
Step 2. Marinate
Add marinade ingredients to a bag and mix. Marinate beef for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Step 3. Cook
Cook the short ribs until lightly charred on each side. They will cook up quickly!
Step 4. Rest
Rest the short ribs for a few minutes before serving. Top with optional garnish.
How to Cook Korean Short Ribs in the Oven
Korean short ribs still come out great, even if you don’t have a grill. The secret to using the oven is the broiler. This high temperature method of cooking cooks the thin strips of beef quickly, and helps caramelize the marinade for the best flavor.
Broil marinated short ribs for about 2-3 minutes each side until they are slightly charred and caramelized. Keep an eye on them as the broiler will cook quickly.
How to Cook Korean Short Ribs on the Stove
Heat a stovetop grill pan (or cast iron pan) to medium-high heat. Place each slice of meat on the grill, and cook about 2-3 minutes on each side or until meat is cooked through and lightly charred.
The key to success with cooking Korean short ribs on the stove is to make sure your pan is very hot before adding the beef. This will help get that caramelized sear on the outside of the short ribs.
How to Cook Korean Short Ribs on a Grill
This is the more traditional way of cooking LA galbi.
Preheat a gas or charcoal grill over medium high heat. Add short ribs to the hot grill, and cook for about 2-3 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the meat. Turn them only once. Cook until lightly charred, caramelized, and cooked through.
When to Serve
This Korean short ribs recipe is easy for weeknight dinners or casual entertaining. You can even turn the meal into a Korean BBQ experience by including traditional side dishes.
Add this recipe to your summertime grilling repertoire, or made it any time of year on an indoor grill pan or in the oven broiler.
It’s a fun recipe to serve in the sukkah during Sukkot.
Make the marinade up to 1 day in advance.
Marinade the beef for up to 24 hours. Cook right before eating.
Storage and Reheating
How to store: Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
How to freeze: Leftovers will freeze in a freezer safe container for up to 6 months.
Reheating: Reheat briefly in the microwave or quickly over medium heat in a skillet.
I first developed this recipe after going on a trip to the Korean food market with some local Los Angeles food bloggers. The boneless short ribs in the market caught my attention. I knew my kids would love it if I made them at home because they enjoy going to the Korean restaurants around town.
At first I was going to buy a bottle of meat marinade, but decided to make my own using fresh ingredients and no preservatives. I created this recipe which has become a family favorite. We’ve been making Korean BBQ at home ever since. It’s surprisingly a quick, easy meal once the meat is marinated.
If you plan on visiting a local Korean market, be sure to check out the fish and produce sections. They usually have a great variety of fresh mushrooms, and the fish monger can filet fish for you. It’s also a great idea to check out the prepared food section as a way to try new dishes!
What to Serve With Korean Short Ribs
I like to serve grilled Korean beef ribs as a main course with side dishes like sushi rice or white rice, pickled cucumbers, kimchi, and grilled vegetables. Grill up veggies of your choice like onions, zucchini, and kabocha squash.
The marinade is already flavorful and delicious as is. If you like a kick to your food, this dish is often served with a spicy Korean dipping sauce called Ssamjang. The sauce can be bought in an Asian/Korean market or can be made.
The Korean galbi can be eaten with a fork and knife on a plate, or the traditional way: cut meat strips into bites, and place it one piece at a time on a lettuce leaf with a grilled vegetable and dipping sauce to make a lettuce wrap.
This recipe was updated in 2023 with new photos, improved instructions, and more tips.
Boneless Korean Short Ribs Recipe
- Grill pan optional
- ⅓ cup low sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons mirin rice wine
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 large clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons grated Asian pear
- several grinds of freshly cracked black pepper
- 1.25 pounds Korean-style boneless beef short ribs thinly sliced strips, about ¼ inch thick, bone-in is good too
- toasted sesame seeds, green onion slices optional garnish
- Put all the ingredients except the meat in a large zip top bag and mix with a spoon. Add beef slices, and seal the bag well. Mix up the bag to make sure all beef slices are coated in marinade. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Choose a Cooking Method:
- Position the top oven rack of the oven to 6" below the broiler. Cover a broiler pan or baking sheet with aluminum foil for easier cleanup.
- Remove short ribs from the marinade, and discard marinade. Place the short ribs in a single layer on the pan. Broil for about 2-3 minutes per side until lightly charred, caramelized, and cooked through. The broiler cooks very quickly, so watch them so they do not burn.
- Heat a stovetop grill pan to medium high heat. Remove short ribs from the marinade, and discard marinade. Place each slice of meat on the grill, and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until meat is cooked through, and outside has lightly charred and caramelized.
- Preheat gas or charcoal grill over medium high heat. Remove short ribs from the marinade, and grill the short ribs for 2-3 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the meat. Turn only once. Discard marinade. Cook ribs until lightly charred, caramelized, and cooked through.
- Rest meat for 5 minutes before serving. Top with optional toasted sesame seeds and green onion slices for garnish.
- Substitutes: Asian pear can be substituted with kiwi, pineapple, or a regular pear. Mirin rice wine can be substituted with sake.
- How to store: Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- How to freeze: Leftovers will freeze in a freezer safe container for up to 6 months.
- How to reheat: Reheat in the microwave briefly or over medium heat in a skillet.