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. 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!

  2. 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. ;)

  3. 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.

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

    Look like super nice n delicious ^^

  5. 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

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. hellokitty08 joined 5/10 & has 35 comments

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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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!!!!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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

    yummy yummy,^^

  15. 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?

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