Girl Meets Grill, Grill Beats Girl – Kalbi Recipe

Kalbi - Korean Short Ribs Recipe

Girl Meets Grill, Grill Beats Girl – Kalbi Recipe

I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I don’t know how to operate a grill, especially since we own a gas grill.  Call me old fashioned, but the grill was always my husband’s domain and neither of us had any problem with that.

But, after all these years I decided to learn one of Low Dao’s non-Chinese barbeque recipes because (1) it’s my husband’s favorite and he’s nice to me; and (2) I’m tired of perpetuating the sexist, but nevertheless true in my case, stereotype that girls can’t grill as good as boys.   I selected Low Dao’s kalbi recipe (Korean short ribs) as my inaugural grilling dish because it is legendary, and even though I’m not a huge meat lover, I love his kalbi.  And also because Low Dao just made this dish for the birthday of my sister-in-law, who ironically does not eat beef (he did make her some BBQ chicken).

I learned that there really is a lot of thermodynamics involved in grilling.  There’s ideal 2-zone indirect heat placement, proper hood usage for heat entrapment, and expert timing to attain the perfect medium. Here is a quick video on the subject:

But before getting to the recipe, there are a few housekeeping items to discuss.  Let me just preface this by saying that my husband gave scant advice beyond the absolute basics of grilling.  I think it may have had something to do with me trying to take control of the grill and screwing with his meat.  When asked how to tell when the meat is done – the key to successful grilling – they simply said “you just have to watch the meat.”  So I had to do a little research myself, and I found this great article on how to measure doneness when grilling – written by a man in an apron brave enough to defect from the old boys barbeque club.

With regard to cleaning the grill, my husband simply instructed me to crank up the heat and scrub it with a wire brush.  Not cleaning in the traditional female sense, which fundamentally includes some form of disinfectant, but good enough for grilling!  So I vigorously scrubbed the grill with the heat on high so as to remove, and burn to a crisp, all unwanted microorganisms.

Finally, if you happen to have a gas grill with a faulty starter, as I do, do not follow your husband’s advice and insert a paper napkin into the grill as a makeshift fuse to start the fire.

Now, on to the good stuff.

First time grillbies, welcome to the club!

By the way, don’t feel too bad if your first grilling experience is less than perfect.  Mine was a disaster.  I had to call my husband several times at work because I couldn’t light the grill.  Finally, I used his paper napkin fuse and it worked (don’t try this at home).  My biggest mistake was trying to overachieve by putting all the meat on the grill at once. With excessive kalbi fat as it’s fuel, the fire raged.  At one point, I panicked when I was temporarily blinded by smoke, and the flames were licking the top of the grill. In my hysteria over burning the meat, I pulled all the meat off the grill and ended up with super rare kalbi, which my mom still thought was delicious.  My husband didn’t, and he’s outside re-grilling the kalbi as I type this.

Kalbi - Korean Short Ribs Recipe

Low Dao’s Kick A$$ Kalbi Recipe – Korean Short Ribs BBQ

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

  • Ingredients
  • 10 lbs short ribs (with bone) thinly sliced 1/4 inch think
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. soy sauce (not low salt)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 round onion
  • 1 tsp. chili oil or shiracha sauce
  • 1 bunch green onion chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. hoisin  sauce
  • Splash of vodka or gin (optional for additional flavor)

How To Prepare / Recipe

It’s very important to purchase thinly sliced short ribs (with or without the bone), 1/4 inch thick or less.  Pre-frozen cuts are fine so long as you completely defrost the meat before marinating it. Here is a great video on the subject:

Combine all the ingredients and marinate the meat for 4 hours.  Make sure each piece is coated in the marinade and toss every hour or so.  Do not marinate overnight otherwise it will get too salty.

Heat the grill to medium high heat and grill the kalbi for a few minutes.  Once you see the edges start to brown flip the meat over and grill on the other side until just before it starts to burn.  Unlike steak, you want to cook the kalbi all the way through an

I can always find comfort in my father-in-law frying something delicious in his wok, a masterpiece of welded parts that he fashioned himself like a Chinese MacGyver. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him pick up a measuring spoon or use a kitchen scale. He simply uses his hand as his scale and a rice bowl as his measuring cup.

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