Well I’ll Be – Kalbi Korean BBQ Short Ribs

I like to think of clever phrases or parallels for my blogs. This time I kept thinking of “Romancing the Meat”, playing off of Romancing the Stone…. Until I googled what its origins looking for facts… hmm, not going to work this time according to Urban Dictionary….

So, in other news today, here is a quick and delectable recipe for Korean Kalbi (gal-bi) BBQ short ribs. If you have never experienced Korean BBQ, you haven’t yet lived. Personal favorites are spicy pork and of course, short ribs. Paired with Kim Chi, it’s a palate pleaser, and no one should be frightened by the reference a foreign country. Today I share with you our simple approach, including hacks, to make these short ribs at home for a perfect backyard get together.

Kalbi Korean BBQ Short Ribs


  • Soak in Coke. Soaking the ribs in cola helps to soften the meat, sweeten and remove the blood. Do not think that cream soda would work just fine (yes, speaking from experience) and I wouldn’t recommend diet cola because of the fake sugar and after taste. I know some people swear by 7-Up or Asian pear juice. We soak and then drain before adding marinade, but it could be incorporated it into the marination phase, although you would need much less liquid I think.
    • Coke did not sponsor this post! So no shameless intentional adverting…. It just rhymes with soak better than Pepsi…
  • BBQ sauce from a jar. I haven’t yet made it from scratch, because it is really all about convenience for us with this meal. But of course, now I am feeling lame for even suggesting and will have to attempt (did you know I am a tad competitive?). Stay tuned.
    • Ingredients are basically: soy sauce , rice wine/mirin, brown sugar, sesame oil and garlic (see, no excuse)
  • Korean ribs are a different cut than American, also called flanken. They are thin sliced and cook up fast. But by them at an Asian grocery store so you don’t get ripped off (if you have access to one)
  • Great for freezing and cooking in a jiffy. Stock up!
  • Lots of napkins!


  • No real prep needed. Defrost ribs if required. Ours were fresh and weighed in at 4 pounds for each pack. If you are going to freeze them, “unit dose” it into smaller portions more suitable for your family size.
  • Place ribs in a big bowl and pour in the cola. We used a full 2 liters for all 8 pounds but often a couple cans is enough. I think this is something that you really just make work with what you have. Just not cream soda….
  • Cover and soak for a while. No clear time but maybe 30 minutes or so. It will get nice and frothy.
  • Pour off the cola and then dump in the marinade. Again, we used a full bottle because of quantity and didn’t want left overs.
  • Massage it in and let it sit for a few hours to over night or freeze for future use. You can also toss in thick sliced onion rings and grill those later too.
  • When ready to eat just fire up the grill and go.

If you have a Korean grocery store near you, see if they have a pre-marinated meat section. We love our local H-Mart’s marinated meat bar. By the pound, you can buy tasty spicy pork, flavorful chicken, bulgogi beef and sometimes Kalbi. Makes for such an easy dinner and perfect vehicles for eating kim chi.

Do you have a favorite marinade to share?

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