This dish is always a serious crowd pleaser. It is best cooked on a charcoal grill but if you don’t have access to one, a grill pan works almost as well. The longer you marinate this beef, the better it will taste.  Everyone will be coming back for seconds and thirds and asking you for the recipe. For someone’s first taste of Korean food, this dish is a must and the ingredients are relatively easy to find. 


  • 1 pound Korean short ribs, LA- or flanken-cut, or a rib-eye steak, trimmed and cut thinly into ¼-inch/½-centimeter thick slices

  • 2 pears, use a semi hard sweet variety like conference or barlette, or 1 Asian pear, peeled and grated on a box grater

  • 3 cloves garlic, grated

  • 3½ tablespoons dark brown sugar

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2½ tablespoons roasted sesame oil

  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger

  • 7-8 grinds of black pepper

  • good pinch of sea salt or kosher salt

  • Serve with

  • Cooked medium-grain white rice

  • Green leaf lettuce leaves

  • Sesame leaves (optional)

  • Ssam jang sauce (recipe below)

  • Ssam Jang Sauce

  • 1 spring onion or scallion, finely chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, grated

  • 4½ tablespoons (70 grams) Korean fermented soy bean paste (dwengjang)

  • 3 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds

  • 2 tablespoons (40 grams) Korean chili paste (gochujang)

  • 2 tablespoons mirin

  • 1½ teaspoons roasted sesame oil


  • 1.

    Place the beef into a large re-sealable plastic bag. 

  • 2.

    Add all of the other ingredients and massage into the meat well. Chill and let marinate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

  • 3.

    Heat up a grill or griddle pan until very hot. Shake off any excess marinade from the meat and grill the beef strips until desired doneness, for rare about 30 seconds each side.

  • 4.

    Serve immediately with white sticky rice, green leaf lettuce, sesame leaves (optional) ssam jang sauce (recipe follows). Place a small scoop of rice, a smear of ssam jang sauce and a piece of beef into a lettuce leaf.  Wrap and enjoy.

  • Ssam Jang Sauce:

  • 1.

    Mix all of the above ingredients together. Put in a small bowl and serve with kalbi. 

Nutritional information

Nutritional analysis per serving (2 servings)

  • Energy 1110kj
  • Fat Total 71g
  • Saturated Fat 23g
  • Protein 54g
  • Carbohydrate 65g
  • Sugar 35g
  • Sodium 3894mg

Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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Copyright, 2014, Judy Joo, All rights reserved

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