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 maangchi@gmail.com. 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)

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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151 Comments:

  1. MurcanDownunder Brisbane joined 7/13 & has 1 comment

    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.

  2. kpopmex mexico joined 6/13 & has 1 comment

    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 joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      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.

  3. Babymama1025 Edgewood, WA joined 6/13 & has 1 comment

    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!

  4. MelB1980 Elmore City, OK joined 5/13 & has 1 comment

    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 joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      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!

  5. Miss Kim78 socali joined 3/13 & has 40 comments

    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. http://behgopa.blogspot.com/2013/03/galbi-love.html

  6. Thorn438 Round Rock, Texas joined 3/13 & has 1 comment

    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!

  7. frecklefaced ajumma Byesville, Ohio joined 10/12 & has 1 comment

    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!

  8. Askanam Silicon Valley, Ca, USA joined 9/12 & has 2 comments

    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!
    Hugs!

  9. foodcop2014 Illinois joined 7/12 & has 5 comments

    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?

  10. honghai norway joined 7/12 & has 2 comments

    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!

  11. honghai norway joined 7/12 & has 2 comments

    Hi maangchi! I’m so happy to be new member in your webside. I live in Norway but i love korean foods very much. i went to some Korean restaurants in Saigon Vietnam but
    i cant find any here in Norway. Thank you very much for your kind ! and now i can cook my favourit foods what i love .I made it for my norwegian friends and they love it very much and today i ‘ll made it for my husband family. You’re so lovely and beautifull !thank you so much!

  12. Syang Los Angeles joined 7/12 & has 1 comment

    I have NEVER heard this called “LA Style Kalbi” in my life. I’m from Northern California and moved to Los Angeles a few years ago. You can find this cut of meat in any latino/hispanic market practically anywhere in the U.S. They are called costillas or costillitas de res. Some markets will even prepare/marinade them for you for carne asadas. Whenever I want to make this style of kalbi I will hit up my local carniceria (meat market in Spanish folks) because they are often way cheaper and than what you would pay at the Korean market (and sometimes even better quality). It is definitely a perk to be half Korean and Mexican in Los Angeles. ;)

  13. Jennalynn Los Angeles joined 7/11 & has 3 comments

    I’m a nice NY Jewish girl transplanted to Los Angeles… I live near Koreatown. I’ve been making this type of Galbi since I moved here 15 years ago. It’s fast. Easy. And everyone adores it.

    I’m lucky because I also can purchase ready made banchan from the markets near my house.

    I love your site. It’s helped me experiment with all the wonderful produce I can find here.

  14. JoyceWu Taiwan joined 7/12 & has 6 comments

    Look like super nice n delicious ^^

  15. Misheil NJ joined 6/12 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi – I’ve been a stalker of your site for some time and a big fan. I finally said to heck with it and decided to join in. I have a couple of questions for you.

    1) Do you know of any good korean grocery stores that sell the beef short ribs in New Jersey?
    2) Appx what is the cost per pound for the beef?
    3) Last question – I want to grill the ribs a week or so before a party. Can I grill the ribs half-way thru, then freeze them? I was planning on finishing the ribs off in the broiler the day of the party. Have you done this before??

    Thanks so much and I love your site.
    Misheil

  16. jinniblack Los Angeles joined 4/12 & has 1 comment

    Just made this for dinner tonight. Better than the KBBQ joints I frequent (and I live in LA). I’m a convert. Super easy and super tasty!

  17. janicedale Australia joined 2/12 & has 16 comments

    Barbecue is my favorite, I like the taste of it especially when you marinade it in oyster sauce and a little hot sauce will do. Your barbecue is quite similar to my preparation, for something different, this time I want to try your recipe and share it to my family. Thanks for posting this recipe.

  18. can I get the dipping sauce in the store? What is the sauce called? Thank you!!

  19. kahyong Malaysia joined 3/12 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi, thanks for the recipe. I really love galbi but have tried cooking it on my own and the beef is always turning out too tough. I am not sure what I am doing wrong. Can you suggest some reasons why it might turn up so rubbery? I am using australian beef at the moment.

    Thanks

  20. Laleh7171 Iran joined 2/12 & has 2 comments

    Dear maangchi korean foods are the healthiest food i think , i even like the way of their life, thanks for your recipe

  21. swimmingrose55 Edmonton, AB joined 2/12 & has 1 comment

    Hey Maangchi :)

    I just wanted to let you know that i love you and your recipes so much!!! Thank you so much for providing us with such easy to follow recipes so we can make delicious korean foods at home :)

    I was looking at trying to make this recipe and I just wanted to let you know of a super minor discrepancy I found. With regards to the bbq marinade, in the videos for both this LA galbi recipe and the BBQ beef stew, you grind up some ground black pepper into the marinade at the end but in the actual written recipe you have not included this black pepper step…lol…like I said it’s super minor but just wanted to let you know:)

    Once again thank you for being so awesome and sharing your amazing culture with us!!!

    Saranghae Unnie!!!!

  22. okay, so last night I finally went to the store and got all my ingredients!! Wow!!
    so I just finished making the marinade and just put them in the ribs into the fridge..okay…I’m dreaming of ribs all day and night. I can’t wait until tomorrow to taste them…I’ll be back then to let you know how it worked out. Wish me luck.

  23. reverie Indonesia joined 1/11 & has 2 comments

    Making this for new year party!!! (because my son love it soooo much ^_^
    thank you for the recipe.

  24. yeuyeu Việt Nam joined 12/11 & has 1 comment

    yummy yummy,^^

  25. xjinshin Washington DC joined 3/11 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    Thank you for the recipe :)

    Question: If I don’t have the grill that you are heating up the galbi in.. can I put it in my oven? If so, how do you recommend I do it?

  26. chef Benedict Manila, Philippines joined 11/11 & has 45 comments

    this one is Los Angeles style right? And I tasted the authentic ones in Korea, they commonly use the electric grill on your front and it is grilled right before your eyes. They kept refilling some meat for us. It is perfect for a grill out, especially for those who loves to go out for a barbecue party right isn’t it? Even here in the Philippines where people go to the beach to grill during hot weather season.

  27. Veronica Denver joined 9/11 & has 1 comment

    Mexicans use this cut of meat also. In Texas, we call them “tablitas”. They are marinated like fajitas and grilled. I’ve also had galbi with this cut in Korean restaurants in Texas. Delicious!

  28. Kboi75 Seattle, WA joined 9/11 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! Me and the wife loves your site & recipes tonight we made kimchi fried rice with LA Galbi, Grilled pork belly & Grilled veggies it was really good thanks for the recipes Maangchi and have safe & wonderful trip!

  29. Hi Maangchi,

    Thanks for another delicious recipe! My sister and I made this recipe on Labor Day and it was so good! We would have tried this recipe earlier but the Korean market didn’t have any Asian pears, but this weekend they did! Yippie! I’ll never buy pre-marinaded galbi again!

    Also we had a little contest with our mom, because she found leftover bulgogi marinade in our refrigerator and said “If mine tastes better than yours, you have to pay me double for the meat” (so $40) … and I said, “Bring it on! Maangchi will win!”. Though she didn’t want to admit it at first when we were eating yesterday afternoon, she finally admitted that your recipe was indeed better haha! Victory for Maangchi!!!

  30. Mini-light OR joined 8/11 & has 1 comment

    My mother was Korean and she used to make these all the time. She used to tenderize the meat using the blade of a kitchen knife and just “chop” down into the meat lightly to tenderize. They would come out super tender and delicious! I can’t remember all of the exact ingredients she used in her version but this sounds extremely similar :) Will be making my own soon!

  31. callous Canada joined 8/11 & has 1 comment

    Great recipe! I was wondering why you didnt add in the soy sauce + honey + seseme oil + water into the food processor along with the pear, white onions and ginger.

    Why not put it all together into a mixer to combine it better?

    Is there a reason I shouldnt be doing that?

  32. Stratone Dana Point, Calif joined 7/11 & has 2 comments

    Wow, this is the second recipe Ive watched & it looks awesome, tomorrow Im making your Kimchi Stew for my daughter. She spent a summer teaching english in Korea & says she lived on the stew and misses it.
    PS your so cute I am falling in love w/ you ;0)
    Stratone

  33. vanness77 Indonesia joined 3/11 & has 2 comments

    This is my husband’s favorite. I mix it with Beksul sauce and I omit honey because it’s already sweet. I use chinese cooking wine (Ang Ciu) because that’s all I have at home. I’m running out of Gojujang, so I mix sesame oil + salt instead. I also grill the kalbi with garlic and jalapeno. Fantastic!

  34. edwmax So. Georgia joined 7/11 & has 1 comment

    I’ve seen and eat these cut in this style in Korean restaurants in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1981. It was my understanding these restaurant were owned and operated by the Korean Construction companies doing work in the country. ….. And, during the late 1980’s ribs cut in this style were available in Asian grocery stores around Atlanta.

    I love these. It is just so hard to fine a real Korean restaurant. In south Georgia.

    • sylvjw Atlanta, GA joined 7/11 & has 1 comment

      How far south are you in GA? I am here too but north (2 1/2 hrs from TN). If you ever travel to Buford HWY there’s H-Mart they have very good korean food ^^; and there’s also various korean restaurants along Buford HWY.

  35. docpark US joined 5/10 & has 17 comments

    Hi Maangchi. I made this recipe this past Father’s Day (for the family). I have posted a picture -it’s at the end of my blog post: http://wp.me/pjbyN-yz

    This is serious food -I got the ribs at the H Mart in Naperville on my way home from a conference. The tough part of getting it locally is getting the ribs cut this way, but with this picture on my phone, I will be able to get galbi from my local butcher.

    The ribs were fantastic and just as good as you can get in a restaurant. I stuck to the original recipe with an Asian pear and honey. It was best after 24 hours of soaking in the marinade. I used a gas grill -I can only imagine how much better it would be on a charcoal grill.

    Take care.

    Sincerely, docpark

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