Traditional-cut Korean Short Ribs (Wang Galbi/Kalbi)

9 Feb

NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.

Although flanken-cut short ribs (sometimes called L.A. or English cut ribs) are more commonly found in Korean restaurants today, every so often you’ll find that a chef that prepares kalbi (galbi, 갈비) in the traditional way – by using a full length of rib that’s filleted in layers. This traditional cut is called wang galbi/kalbi, which is literally translated as “king ribs”.

My most recent box of goodies from US Wellness Meats included a package of their delicious beef short ribs. This beautiful one-pound rack was the perfect opportunity to make some “king ribs” of my own.

You’ll Need:
1 package US Wellness Meats beef short ribs (1 lb.)
1/2 asian or bosc/golden pear, grated (or 1/4 cup no-sugar-added apple sauce)
3 tbsp wheat-free tamari or coconut aminos
1/2 cup club soda / soda water
juice of 1/2 lime (1 tbsp)
1 tbsp raw honey
1 tsp grated or ground ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 pinch red chili flakes

In my original kalbi post, I used a grated asian pear to sweeten the marinade; I’ve since found out that no-sugar-added applesauce does just as good of a job as the grated pear, without all the mess.

Take the ribs out of the packaging, and gently rinse with cold water to wash away any bone fragments. Pat dry with paper towels.

Some people like to remove the membrane found on the side opposite of the bones, because it can be chewy; to be honest, I don’t remove any part of grass-fed meat that I get my hands on – fat, membrane, whatever – because it’s all ridiculously good for you!

Your first step is to cut each rib away from the rack, staying close to one of the bones.

Next, cut along the bone horizontally until you’re about 1/2″ from the edge. Open the rib like a book. Make another horizontal cut on the meaty side of your “book”, until you’re 1/2″ from the edge again. You should now be able to lay the meaty side directly on the cutting board, flush with the side with the bone.

Lastly, repeat the above steps so that you have a third side, and you now have a perfectly filleted short rib. Repeat with the other ribs, although the smaller rib may only need to be filleted once.

Combine all of the ingredients and marinate them overnight in a ziploc bag.

Grill the ribs over direct, med/high heat for ten minutes (five on each side); check the meat that’s nearest the bone for doneness. For especially tasty ribs, brush on some the leftover marinade about halfway through cooking. In my opinion, these ribs taste best when cooked medium/medium-well done. Serve immediately.

24 Responses to “Traditional-cut Korean Short Ribs (Wang Galbi/Kalbi)”

  1. Landria February 9, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

    That marinade looks and sounds fantastic!!! Cant wait to try it. Thanks for sharing!:)

  2. katyarich February 10, 2012 at 3:39 am #

    UMMMMMMMMM…..I can’t wait to make it….looks delicious…..have a great weekend! :)

  3. MarkES February 10, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    Hi Russ,

    I love your recipes and I think you should write a cookbook! I’m a fan of the Jaminet’s Perfect Health Diet, so your recipes are great for me.

    One question on your About page ( It states corn is a PHD safe starch:
    “The Perfect Health Diet is a lot like the Paleo diet, although it considers white rice and corn as safe starches”

    Do you have a source for that info? I’ve thought corn was a no-go, here’s a source from PHD …

    Do not eat toxic foods. Notably:
    Do not eat cereal grains — wheat, barley, oats, corn — or foods made from them — bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, oatmeal. The exception is white rice, which we count among our “safe starches.”

    Thanks and keep them coming!

    • Russ Crandall February 10, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for taking the time to write. Looking back at my page, it looks like I might have confused Dr. Kurt Harris’ stance on corn with PHD. I haven’t officially re-introduced corn into my diet yet (I plan on doing it this year, just haven’t gotten around to it!) and I just added the “and corn” comment to a piece I had written some time back when I was first figuring out how I was going to tackle my dietary plans. Thanks to your eagle eye, I have amended my page so it’s not putting bad info out in reference to PHD. Sorry about that. :)

  4. John February 10, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    This looks great. Just to be sure, what’s the quantity of sesame oil?

    • Russ Crandall February 10, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

      Hi John, thanks for the catch – it should be 1 tbsp. I made the changes to the post.

  5. Nancy February 11, 2012 at 4:06 am #

    Hi! I’m going to try this. It looks good! However, I’m going to marinade it in a glass container, since anything with a high fat content tends to leach plasticizers out of a plastic bag. I wouldn’t marinade it in a metal container either, since it has lime juice in it. Thanks for this recipe!

  6. cat @ February 11, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    Yummy, I was wondering about this a few months ago! I almost cried when I realized wheat (among other things) was in my gochujang. I’m a sucker for korean food.

  7. Esther Cotton (@roseywinter) February 17, 2012 at 12:55 am #

    Mmm, looks good! I love galbi! My mom makes it & although there’s wheat and soy in the Korean food she makes (like in the soy sauce and gochujang)… I totally don’t mind it for the most part! Since going Paleo, I pretty much avoid all other occurrences of grains, soy, and sugar… so when it comes to Korean food, I just enjoy!

    I haven’t had this traditional cut variety, though… I want it! :P

  8. Otter February 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    I tried these last night and they came out great! I even fired up the grill, and February is not prime outdoor grilling season here in Alaska.

    • Russ Crandall February 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

      Wow, thanks for braving the elements on account of my ribs! Glad they turned out well.

  9. Tasting Korea (@TastingKorea) June 20, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    This looks like a nice recipe, but traditionally, red chili flakes are not used. Some modern Korean households use soda, but it’s more for convenience. Tamari/coconut aminos are an interesting twist.

  10. dedy oktavianus pardede August 5, 2014 at 12:30 am #

    ow, lovely ones!!!
    i had wagyu short ribs and i guess i’m gonna use this technique to grill it…


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