Barbecued ribs

LA galbi LA 갈비

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.

The first time I tried LA galbi was about 20 years ago when I visited my sister living in LA. She prepared LA galbi for me and my family. I enjoyed the galbi a lot even though I was a little surprised to see the short ribs cut thinly and across the bone.


Regular galbi in Korea is cut differently. It’s cut across and along the bone. Each piece that goes on the grill is one section of the rib, with one piece of bone in it. It’s a lot thicker. LA galbi is only cut across the bone, not along, so each piece on the grill is a longer, thinner strip, and includes 3 pieces of bone.

The marinade is exactly same as authentic Korean galbi.

At the time I never asked why it’s called LA galbi. I assumed it was because it’s popular among Korean immigrants in America.

But writing this recipe I researched the origin of the name, I couldn’t find the real answer anywhere. So I like to become a detective today, investigating LA galbi:

Theory #1:
LA galbi is cut laterally, so the name comes from the first 2 letters of the word “lateral.”

Theory #2:
Korean immigrants living in Los Angeles, California innovated this cut.

In my personal opinion, theory #2 seems more likely. If  #1 theory is true, where is the HO galbi (from the word horizontal)? : )

LA galbi had already existed before I tasted it 20 years ago, but I’ve never seen any other culture use this particular cut of short ribs for BBQ, only Koreans. If your culture also uses this cut, let me know in the comments. But as far as I know, it’s unique (note: as I learned, this cut is popular in Mexico).

Last year I had a chance to go a BBQ picnic with about 20 Americans. I brought my marinated LA galbi to let them taste it. Surprisingly, none of them had seen or tasted LA galbi before. They loved my LA galbi and more than 1 year later they’re still talking about how good it was.

But if Koreans invented LA galbi, there must be someone or some group of chefs responsible, somewhere. If you’re the inventor, or know who he or she is, please contact me at [email protected] I want to interview you! You can share the history of LA galbi and the origin of the name, I’m very curious about it.

Ingredients (for 4-6 servings)



  1. Trim excess fat from the short ribs and rinse a couple times in cold water.
  2. Soak the ribs in cold water for 10-20 minutes to remove the blood.

Make marinade:

  1. In a large bowl, add ⅓ cup soy sauce, ⅓ cup water or cooking wine, ¼ cup honey (or ⅓ cup brown sugar), and 1 ts ground black pepper.
  2. Blend 1 Korean pear (about 2 cups’ worth), 8 cloves of garlic, 1 medium onion, and 1 ts of chopped ginger until it turns into a white creamy liquid.
  3. Add it to your soy sauce base and add 2 tbs sesame oil.
    *tip: If you can’t find a Korean pear, use 2 ripe bosc pears. I sometimes use bosc pears and they work well. 
  4. Rinse the short ribs in fresh cold water a couple more times to remove any remaining bone fragments. Drain the water.
  5. Add the ribs to the marinade and mix it well, by hand.
  6. Keep it in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Overnight is better, but an hour is ok if you are short of time.

Make ssamjang dipping sauce: (see video)

  1. Mix these 2 tbs soy bean paste, 1 tbs of hot pepper paste, 1 stalk of chopped green onion, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 ts honey, 1 ts of sesame oil, and 1 ts sesame seeds in a small bowl with a spoon.

Prepare vegetables:

  1. Rinse and drain lettuce and perilla leaves. Put them on a plate or basket.
  2. Cut a cucumber into strips 3½ inch to 4 inches in length and ½ inch thick (8-10 cm long x1½ cm thick),
  3. Chop green chili peppers and slice a few cloves of raw garlic and put them next to green lettuce and perilla leaves.

Let’s cook and eat!

  1. Grill, pan fry, or BBQ the ribs. The LA style cut is thin, so they’re cooked much faster than usual ribs. It takes only about 5 minutes!
  2. When the both sides are cooked, put them on a serving plate.  Cut the meat part off the bone with scissors into bite sized pieces.
  3. Put a piece of meat on top of a lettuce leaf and a periilla leaf. Add dipping sauce, garlic, and a piece of green chili pepper. Fold it over into a small package, and pop it into your mouth in one bite!

You can serve this with rice and kimchi, too.

Enjoy the recipe!

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  1. Savvy Sage USA My profile page joined 7/16
    Posted July 19th, 2016 at 8:53 pm | # |

    I like the way you made the Galbi.

  2. Miss Kim78 socali My profile page joined 3/13
    Posted May 11th, 2016 at 12:45 pm | # |

    When going on long road trips where Korean food may be scarce, I tend to crave it even more. I get tired of the random pit stops, stopping by the nearest McDonald’s, or waiting and waiting to find a decent place to eat. I prefer packing my own food. On my recent 1,800 mile road trip, I took a burner and ice boxes packed with food. My favorite moment was when grilling galbi! Grilled galbi along with kimchi jjigae so hit the spot. I have many memories of childhood road trips. I was never fond of road trips as a child and was often dragged. But my favorite part about it was always the food. Galbi and kimchi jjigae were a couple of the delicious items that we were never without on road trips. And it had a lot of influence on what I decided to bring along for my last road trip.

  3. Thalasshaya My profile page joined 1/16
    Posted January 7th, 2016 at 12:55 am | # |

    I see a few people have chimed in and let you know this cut is called “flanken” style ribs sometimes. It’s a reasonably common cut in Jewish cooking, often braised.

  4. logam11 My profile page joined 12/15
    Posted December 16th, 2015 at 9:22 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    How would you recommend cooking Galbi in the oven?


  5. Emilykosan My profile page joined 7/15
    Posted July 27th, 2015 at 10:56 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    Thank you for your recipes. I love them. Although i tried this LA galbi a few time, every time i grill it on a indoor bbq it gets burn very fast becauee if the sauce. What can i do about that???

  6. davenmarie My profile page joined 5/15
    Posted May 1st, 2015 at 4:47 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi…our Galbi is marinating will make it tomorrow! My wife and I live in Manila we love watching your videos….so far we are just getting started but last weekend made your delicious rolls! Keep the recipes coming!

  7. Dee87 San Diego My profile page joined 9/14
    Posted September 28th, 2014 at 12:13 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    I am a fan of Korean food and I just wanted to say that this recipe was so good. I tried it last night and the taste is comparable to some Korean restaurant here in San Diego! I usually go to Korean market and get the marinated meat but no more!! Your recipe is so much better. It is so worth it. Thank you Maangchi! I can eat this everyday but I will try your bulgogi next time since short rib meat is so fatty; not good for people like me who’s trying to lose weight ;). Take care!


    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted September 28th, 2014 at 1:38 pm | # |

      Yaho! : )
      It sounds like your galbi was a big hit last night! It makes me so happy! Good luck with your Korean cooking!

  8. soudzz denver My profile page joined 8/14
    Posted August 13th, 2014 at 10:28 pm | # |

    This recipe has similar ingredients to your bulgogi recipe. The only difference is your using honey vs brown sugar and rice syrup. Why is that? And is the taste can I use thr brown sugar and rice syrup?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted September 28th, 2014 at 1:39 pm | # |

      You could use either honey, brown sugar, white sugar, or rice syrup. Rice syrup will make it shiny though.

  9. kyopo_nho chicago My profile page joined 3/14
    Posted March 31st, 2014 at 9:42 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi!

    I told my mom about this recipe and she was impressed how authentic it sounded. She told me that if pears were too expensive, to buy pear extract instead. Have you ever heard of anyone doing this? Do you know how much extract to put in, instead of a pear?


  10. xsueyy New York, NY My profile page joined 12/13
    Posted December 12th, 2013 at 8:55 pm | # |

    Hi Unni,

    My previous post got deleted from loss of internet connection. I tried to make this for the first time today, however, the medium onion I used mustve been too big for the recipe…my marination sauce became…smokey?? 매콤-칼칼. Kids will be eating this and I plan to grill them Saturday (in two days) so that the beef is nicely marinated…is there a way to save my marinated beef? Its currently sitting in the refrigerator…any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

  11. MurcanDownunder Brisbane My profile page joined 7/13
    Posted July 26th, 2013 at 10:13 pm | # |

    I always come to Maagchi’s for recipes whenever I get hungry for 한식. I just moved to Brisbane and there just happens to be a Korean Grocer around the corner from my apartment. I haven’t had galbi for a while. Will definitely give this recipe a go.
    I think your Theory number 2 is correct for the origins of ‘LA Galbi.’ I’ve seen it labeled in shops both back in the States and in Korea, as 나성 갈비. 나성, of course is Los Angeles, where the first syllable, 나 or Na, is the Koreanization of LA.
    Just my two cents worth of amateur linguistics.

  12. kpopmex mexico My profile page joined 6/13
    Posted June 24th, 2013 at 11:04 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi, I ask how is called bbq grill you use to cook the galbi, I liked how it is called in English or Korean, thank you very much, I search through the super market

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted June 25th, 2013 at 10:14 am | # |

      I don’t know what it’s called. It’s a kind of grill. My friend gave it to me when I filmed this video. I found a similar grill at a Japanese grocery store recently. Check out any Asian grocery store in your area.

  13. Babymama1025 Edgewood, WA My profile page joined 6/13
    Posted June 24th, 2013 at 2:34 pm | # |

    Sooooo excited to try this recipe out this Friday for a gathering! I have been hounding my mom for ages for recipe but you know how it is…little bit of that or dash of this!!!! Ahhhhhhh, I love your site! I love your recipes! I just wanted to say :) I will let you know how it turns out!

  14. MelB1980 Elmore City, OK My profile page joined 5/13
    Posted May 30th, 2013 at 5:56 pm | # |

    I think it is so helpful that you give the korean and american names or descriptions of all of your recipes. Growing up I didn’t necessarily ask my mom what they were called but I remember loving it. However as I got older I did ask my mom what they were called and I now cook some of these great heartwarming foods for my kids. I love this site because I can give my kids the yummy memories that I have of growing up. And the other thing is that I can feed my family healthier because as I have learned most of the american foods that are beloved are not necessarily good for your waistline. Every Korean recipe that I remember from growing up always had vegetables of some sort cooked in with it. Thank you again for this site. And I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t found this.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 31st, 2013 at 8:49 am | # |

      I’m glad my website helps you find not only recipes but also some information about the names of the dishes and ingredients in Korean!
      “Every Korean recipe that I remember from growing up always had vegetables of some sort cooked in with it.” that’s right. Korean diet is always focused on vegetables.
      Happy cooking!

  15. Miss Kim78 socali My profile page joined 3/13
    Posted March 25th, 2013 at 5:54 am | # |

    Hello Maangchi. Very interesting..I have lived in LA my entire life (since the late 1970’s, near the wave of Korean immigration), and “LA Galbi” is the only type of galbi I have known. I have never had the traditional galbi (consumed in Korea). I made galbi today at work (diverse group). Everyone gets so excited whenever I make galbi. It is finger-lickin’ good!
    This dish is always such a hit at any gathering. I remember when I was a kid, Korean BBQ was not well known as it is today. And every time we made this, people would be amazed with the delicious taste. Our neighbors used to follow the smell to our house and ask for the recipe.

    Here is the galbi I made today that I enjoyed with my coworkers.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 31st, 2013 at 8:54 am | # |

      I check out your blog. The galbi you made looks super tasty! “Galbi brings people together and make them happy” It’s time for you to teach how to make galbi! : )

  16. Thorn438 Round Rock, Texas My profile page joined 3/13
    Posted March 23rd, 2013 at 11:49 pm | # |

    Maangchi, this is such a good recipe! I want to try some of your others, but I’ve made this one 3 weekends in a row! Thank you so much for your site!

  17. frecklefaced ajumma Byesville, Ohio My profile page joined 10/12
    Posted October 3rd, 2012 at 11:12 pm | # |

    I didn’t read all the comments above, but I may have a lead for you on the origin of the LA galbi cut. It has something to do with a restaurant called the Tiger Room which was located in the heart of Koreatown, on 8th Street. Let me know if you’re still interested. I haven’t tried this recipe, but I’m sure if it’s like all the other recipes I’ve tried, it’s delicious. Love your site!

  18. Askanam Silicon Valley, Ca, USA My profile page joined 9/12
    Posted September 18th, 2012 at 11:22 pm | # |

    I looove Galbi, and I only ate Korean food here in North California, and I must say I only saw this type of bbq ribs around here, I had no idea there is another type of Galbi than this, LA Galbi. Even the Korean food markets have the ribs cut like this. I bought some and plan on making it tomorrow. Yesterday I made Japchae and Gamja Jorim after your recipes, and it was awesome. Only the potato side dish was not as sweet as at our favorite Korean restaurant here. Do you think they put way more sugar in them? Or it matters the potato type? What are the best potatoes for Gamja Jorim?
    Thanks for the wonderful recipes and videos, I adore you!

  19. foodcop2014 Illinois My profile page joined 7/12
    Posted August 12th, 2012 at 3:29 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    How thin should the ribs be? Is there a traditional thickness or is it personal preference? If the later, how thin would you recommend?

  20. honghai norway My profile page joined 7/12
    Posted July 30th, 2012 at 8:10 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi! i ‘ve been in Oslo for summer holiday and bought some ingredients there in Asian market and my sister sent me Korean’s steking pan fr Vietnam. But i live in Møre og Romsdal, it ‘s about 8 hours drive car from Oslo. But my brother’ s famile live in Oslo and he can send it to me by buss.
    For dinner today i will make LA galbi and fork ribbe serve with kimchi to my Norwegian husband familie. Hope they will enjoin it! Thank you so much!

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