LA style grilled beef short 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.

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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)

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Directions

  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 toasted 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 toasted 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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149 Comments:

  1. partyallmyown1 Honolulu joined 7/10 & has 4 comments

    do u have a bbq recipe for chicken.. i love korean ribs but they can be pricey

  2. do you really eat the LA galbi with a piece of raw garlic and raw korean pepper? i bought a korean pepper for the first time yesterday.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,049 comments

      Hi, Jason,
      You don’t have to eat raw garlic. You can grill it with the LA galbi. Wow, you bought Korean green chili pepper for the first time yesterday? Congratulations! lol, I love to eat raw garlic but it has to be sliced. Try it out if you are brave. : )

  3. estherjo NJ joined 6/10 & has 3 comments

    Hello!
    Where did you buy the grill plate? Korean store? Do you remember about how much it cost?

  4. I have always watched your videos religiously, but I was scared to attempt anything because I am still a beginner and can barely cook anything! I got some courage to marinate this last night and we just got done grilling it and it is divine! SooOOO delicious. I can not thank you enough for posting these recipes with such detailed instructions. I admire you for taking your time out to help us beginner cooks by making this website plus making great youtube videos. I just love your personality and watching you is a delight. You are the coolest person ever! Without you I don’t think I’d ever attempt trying to cook so Thank you so much maangchi. I just love you! I am so excited to start making more of your recipes!

  5. Jason Paris, France joined 6/10 & has 1 comment

    Hey Maangchi, this recipe looks wonderful.
    I wonder if you’ll do a video of another beef rib dish which I love: Galbi Tang. Whenever I go to New York, I always have this soup at the Gom Tang restaurant on 32nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. I particularly love it in winter because it injects the body and soul with hearty, rejuvenating energy! Across the street from Gom Tang is Hana Reum supermarket (I’ve never been to the one in Flushing).

  6. Amber727 New Jersey joined 7/09 & has 36 comments

    Hello!

    I made this delicious L.A galbi for a Memorial Day BBQ. EVERYONE LOVED them! Thank you so much for this recipe! I can’t wait to make them again with the dipping sauce! :)

  7. stanford USA joined 8/08 & has 11 comments

    Here’s the interesting thing about LA galbi: it’s pretty similar to what is known in some places as “Maui-style ribs”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maui-style_Ribs

    The original recipe for which can be traced back to ribs made at Azeka’s Snack Shop in Kihei, Maui:

    http://azekas.com/

    Closed in 2006, but these ribs were done in a very thin flanken style:

    http://www.canada.com/topics/lifestyle/food/story.html?id=0bb459c3-ec63-4d37-abe2-ba0b172fc884

    Reading the ingredients of the marinade, they sure sound like galbi ribs:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/522330

    In fact more than one report claims that Azeka’s was a “Korean general store”

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/MAUI-STYLE-KOREAN-SHORT-RIBS-1274289

    I think it’s possible that LA galbi originated in Hawaii, not Los Angeles, and that the originator was Bill Azeka’s mother who developed this thinly-cut short rib style which Koreans later took to LA.

    I think it’s telling that commenters on this blog from Hawaii have never heard of “LA galbi” but are familiar with the food. That’s because LA galbi came from Hawaii, so there is no “LA galbi” there, only “galbi!”

  8. HAS Australia joined 6/10 & has 8 comments

    Hi Maangchi, Love your website, Luckily I stumbled upon your website couple of months ago, that’s how I started to learn cooking hahaha.. anyway quick question please, the LA galbi, do we have to buy it from Korean mart??I usually buy my meats from my local market where most of the butchers speak minimum english, I’m afraid they won’t understand LA galbi cutting style >.<

  9. Sylvia joined 9/08 & has 78 comments

    Your hair looks beautiful, like you are prom queen!

    As for the Kalbi, I am so happy you put this recipe up.
    I tried to make it myself before you put the recipe here. I made a big mistake and used ribs that were too thick. They were the right cut but too thick. They turned out tough, so next time I know to get thinner ribs.

    My perilla in my garden is ready to start picking. They came up from the seeds that the plants dropped last fall, Yay :)

  10. some1unknown australia joined 12/09 & has 8 comments

    wow looks amazing
    thanks for making something i really wanted to learn

  11. kindaichi Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia joined 6/10 & has 3 comments

    this looks very yummy! shall try this next time and keep you posted about the end result :)

  12. Noelani joined 6/10 & has 1 comment

    In Hawai’i where we are from, most of the Korean restaurants and plate lunch places serve Kalbi in the LA Galbi style. I don’t think I’ve had it any other way in Hawai’i then you’ve presented it here. But I’ve never heard of the LA part of the the name! We’ve made it here in Boston with friends from Hawai’i and when we go to the Whole Foods we ask them to cut the ribs special with three bones in but we also like it nice and thick! H-Mart here in Burlington, MA sells them this way too.

  13. awesome recipe! loved that you actually used pear for the marinade instead of just sugar and/or honey, with which a lot of other korean recipes call for.

    i have a quick question (and you may have answered this already): what is the reasoning behind soaking meats in water before cooking them? i see this a lot with beef and/or pork. i asked one of my korean students and she said it’s mainly for taste and to make the meat softer. is this true?

    keep up the great work! (and i love the HD quality of the video)

  14. Reinier Rotterdam, The Netherlands joined 2/09 & has 101 comments

    Fantastic recipe! And wonderfull presentation!
    On around 8:56 i think i hear some police sirens investigating a fantastic smell report from your neighbours!

  15. sirdanilot Terneuzen, The Netherlands joined 10/09 & has 25 comments

    First!

    This looks so delicious maangchi! Next time we use the barbeque we might have to use some of your recipes. I am not sure about this recipe (beef is a bit expensive), but perhaps we could… it looks easy to make and delicious.

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