If this were a normal recipe blog this is where the 1200 word backstory about working at Nami in 2004 would go, but neither of us have that kind of time so here is the recipe:
- 2-3 lbs of cross cut short ribs
- 1 tbs Ginger
- 2-3 tbs Garlic
- 2 tbs Sesame Seed Oil
- 3 tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
- 5 tbs Soy Sauce
- 4 tbs Brown Sugar
- 2 tbs Baking Soda
- 3 Big Chungus Carrots
- 1 Whole Onion
- 1 Bunch Green Onion
- Cooked Rice
- Roasted Salted Seaweed
- Sesame Seeds – To Taste
- Black Pepper – To Taste
- Red Pepper Flakes – To Taste
- Soak meat in baking soda for 30 minutes.
- Create marinade.
- Rinse meat and add marinade.
- Marinade for 2-3 hours.
- Prep veggies and saute.
- Remove veggies and add meat.
- Saute meat until juices run clear.
- Add veggies and flip meat regularly.
- Cook until tender and sauce is thickened.
Prep the meat. Cross cut short ribs come in these long strips (and usually thinner) that are great if you are going to do this on a grill outside but for this recipe we want to cut them between each bone segment ahead of time and place them in a bowl.
Add your baking soda and fill the bowl with water to cover the meat. In a normal Galbi recipe you would be adding Korean pears to the marinade to tenderize the meat but I can’t get them here so I use the baking soda cheat. Cover and leave this to marinate for about half an hour.
Once that’s handled we want to get our marinade going. Grab everything but the veggies, sesame seeds, and pepper. Now, you can totally use fresh chopped garlic and ginger if you want but I use the tubes of garlic and ginger paste because it’s faster. You can also use whatever sugar you want, I prefer brown sugar for flavor and it melts easier, sometimes white sugar stays grainy. As for the vinegar I like apple cider but feel free to use rice wine vinegar or plain if you have that around.
After the meat has been tenderizing for the half hour or so drain the water and rinse it once or twice. Add all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and stir until combined, pour it over the meat. Now, most recipes will tell you to let this hang out overnight but I was told never to let it marinate for more than 3-4 hours or else the soy sauce flavor will be overpowering. So this is is where I start to get the veggies ready.
Grab your carrots and onions and slice them to taste. That means if you like minced carrots and onions go for it. If you like big chonky slabs of onion and carrot do that. I like to do a quick sliver for the onion and thin slices for the carrots. (If I am doing a bulgogi style meat I will julienne the carrots or just buy them that way at the store.)
Once you have the veggies chopped up to your liking, go a head and heat up your pan. I use a cast iron skillet because that’s what I use 99% of the time to cook anything at all and it works just fine. Throw a little oil in and heat the pan to medium. This is not a steak, do not jack the heat to high and wonder why you have burnt sauce and raw bones on your ribs. The marinade has a lot of sugar and the rib meat needs time to cook slowly so never take the heat higher than medium.
The first thing we are going to do is saute the onions and carrots. You can skip the carrots at this stage if you want them to still have some bite later on but you absolutely want the onions to get a sear first. After the onions are nice and tender remove everything from the pan and set aside. Once your meat has been marinading for at least an hour you can get the pan back up to medium heat and get ready to cook the ribs.
Place the meat in the pan!
No, put ALL the meat in the pan! And ALL the liquid! You aren’t going to get a sear on the meat yet. It’s too early for that. A sear now = burnt sugar. As this cooks the liquid level will increase. It will look bad. It will look like you are boiling the meat because… you are. The horror!
Calm down and let it simmer on medium low heat. This will take a while.
Once juices start to finally run clear you can throw the veggies back into the pan. Feel free to put in your sesame seeds and black pepper now too. Just keep an eye on the liquid levels, if you walk away for five minutes you could come back to a crusty burned sauce. If you notice the sauce is drying out too quickly add a little water (couple tablespoons at a time) to keep things in check.
Once the meat starts to get that lovely purple brown sear on the outside and the sauce is thick enough to drag a line through on the bottom of the pan (no longer watery) you have a flavorful caramel candy meat that is ready to eat.
I serve my short ribs over rice, make sure to get a little of the sauce on there too. Goes good with a side of kimchi as well. I like to eat mine by pulling the meat off the rib and putting it with some rice in seaweed. (Not the sushi kind but the roasted salted kind that comes in the little plastic trays.) Sometimes leftovers get eaten over ramen which is just as good.
Fun tip, this is also my bulgogi recipe I just use thin sliced sirloin instead of ribs.