Korean Cut Short Ribs w/ Ginger-Soy Marinade

by on December 21, 2008

Beef short ribs

Still hazy in my pre-coffee morning stupor, Diane hit me with a question that immediately kicked an, “Aww, sh%&!” out of my mouth.

A few days earlier we had purchased one of my favorite cuts of beef, the Korean-style-cut short ribs and I totally forgot about them in the fridge.  (For those uninitiated, Korean Cut short ribs refers to a butcher style of cross-cutting the ribs so that they are about 1/3″ thick.  This is, of course, for the Korean dish Kalbi, which is unbelievably addicting.  The ribs cut this way allow you to be able to grill, broil, or pan sear them quickly (and makes it easier to eat with chopsticks.) Forgetting about the short ribs seems to be my M.O. lately when it comes to these poor, delectable chow-down tasties.  The last couple times of grilling short ribs, I had forgotten them for a bit, and they came off with a little extra carbon.  Matt & Adam were great guests and pleaded them palatable, but I knew better.  I had disgraced the ribs by my grill sentry inattention.  50 lashings and no ribs for a month.

short ribs

So after Diane asked her innocent question, “Are you going to cook that?…”, my synapses started firing and realized that I once again had almost forgotten the ribs and nearly allowed them to spoil.  Determined to redeem myself to the Beef Gods, I had my morning cappuccino (priorities, you know) then laid my focus into the short ribs.

The Korean cut short ribs are quick and easy to prepare and cook.  Sometimes too quick to cook, and if you aren’t paying attention you’ll carbon ‘em.  For this marinade we upped the tasty quotient by incorporating palm sugar rather than regular granular sugar. This is an ingredient which I’ve often overlooked in our Asian grocery stores , but do love it’s magic.  Palm sugar reminds Diane of  her kitchen slave days, and  she was the one who introduced me to it.  Ohhh what sweet magic.  The type we bought has a light brown sugar sweetness highlighted by accents of coconut and vanilla.  There are a lot of different types of palm sugar so check out Viet World Kitchen, Kasma Loha-Unchit, Chez Pim, or Wikipedia for a more in depth explanation.

beef short ribs

Even if you can’t get your hands on some palm sugar, this short rib recipe is mighty tasty.  Just substitute with a bit of regular sugar.  I focused for the whole 10 minutes it took to cook, and the ribs came out quite delectable.  The beef gods were pleased.  Another quick and easy way to prepare the short ribs it to coat them with a bit of oil, fresh chopped rosemary, sea salt and pepper.  And Matt & Adam: I owe you a better sampling of ribs, let us know when the bellies have room.  If anyone has an actual Korean Kalbi recipe or any other short rib recipe that you are thrilled with, please share the link.  We’d love to try cooking the short ribs with new delicious recipes for one of our favorite cuts.

Short Ribs w/ Ginger Soy Marinade Recipe

Yield: Serves 4-6

Total Time: 45 Minutes


  • 4 lbs Beef Short Ribs (cut @ 1/3″ thick)
  • 1/3 c Oil (grape seed is preferable)
  • @ 50g Palm Sugar (@ 2-3 lumps depending on sweetness of your palm sugar)
  • Optional Substitute - 2-3 T Granular Sugar or Light Brown Sugar
  • 2-3 T Soy Sauce (depending upon the saltiness of your preferred soy)
  • 1 t Sesame Oil
  • 1″ Fresh Ginger - coarsely grated


  1. Rinse and pat dry short ribs.
  2. (If not using palm sugar, just combine all marinade ingredients together, then marinate ribs.) Warm oil in a small sauce pan.  Add palm sugar and stir until sugar has softened (it will be separated from oil still.  Don’t worry, everything will emulsify when you add soy.) Turn off heat. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, and ginger and mix to combine.  Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Put ribs in a plastic bag or flat container to marinate them in, add marinate and carefully toss to coat ribs.  Allow to marinate for about 30 minutes. (You can leave these out for the 1/2 hour marinade time, but if marinating longer, then you might want to refrigerate them as they marinade)
  4. Heat oven on broil, 550º F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Place a wire rack on sheet pans then lay ribs in a single layer.
  5. Broil for 4-5 min. each side. Pop open your beer and enjoy.
Recipe Source: WhiteOnRiceCouple.com.

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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.

short ribs recipe

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) December 21, 2008 at 7:41 pm

You’re right — these are completely addictive! I learned to make them just a couple of years ago, and they make regular appearances on our menus during grill season. Your photos, as always, are mouthwatering!


2 Heather December 21, 2008 at 7:33 pm

yum! those look really good. i’ve never made ribs on my own, because is a shame because i like them so much! ginger soy is such a classic and wonderful flavor combo.

merry christmas & happy new year :)


3 Nate December 21, 2008 at 10:06 pm

You have to try our Killer Kalbi recipe


given to us by our Korean pastor’s wife. It is better than most Korean restaurants.

It uses honey for sweetness but I am intrigued by your use of palm sugar.


4 Manggy December 21, 2008 at 11:05 pm

Oh, yum!!!! Soy and sugar are just the dynamic duo of cooking. Love ‘em. Love everything they touch. Wish I had those ribs now. I had insipid fish (cooked in vinegar broth… ugh) for lunch, so now my stomach is grumbling even more, Thanks!!! I would also love this with a little heaven-pointing chili minced/rubbed in. Yum yum yum. (Gochujang will also do ;)
I have a short ribs recipe here: Kalbi Jim, but the cut I used is different so mine had to cook longer :)


5 Marc @ NoRecipes December 21, 2008 at 11:43 pm

Looks great guys! My secret to super tender Kalbi is kiwi. It has an enzyme that makes it a very effective meat tenderizer. Just a little bit in your marinade will make your ribs incredibly tender (without disintegrating it like fresh pineapple).


6 Abigail December 21, 2008 at 11:44 pm

OK, I’ve never made ribs in my life but I love ‘em and I adore kalbi and now I’m hankering after these. As soon as I read this your Vietnamese cinnamon and some kind of hot red pepper rub went through my noggin and I’m not even pregnant. Does breastfeeding count?

Both my little beans just woke up from their naps at the exact same time, so I have no excuse to be sitting in front of the computer any longer, but I do have an offer I think you can’t refuse. How about you guys come over and babysit and I’ll go over there and eat your leftover ribs?


7 Carrie Oliver December 22, 2008 at 12:59 am

Hello, Todd & Diane! I saw this earlier but it was too late to go to the butcher. What instructions do you give to the butcher to have them cut the ribs this way? The closest I’ve seen is the “Miami” cut. Really want to try this recipe.


8 We Are Never Full December 22, 2008 at 5:28 am

Just having Korean last night (in Koreatown, sadly, not at home) I still have the taste on my lips. These look great. One day I’ll tackle some at home! Happy holidays, guys!


9 Julia December 22, 2008 at 10:35 am

These look fantastic! Not quite the perfect cut, but Whole Foods had a special today on short ribs for 5.99/lb. With a little slicing, they would work perfectly.


10 mikky December 22, 2008 at 11:41 am

wow!!! hubby will surely love this… thanks for sharing… :) happy holidays to both of you… :)


11 Food Woolf December 22, 2008 at 1:11 pm

Uh, yum! I love the recipe and the story that goes with it. And, for the record, I think SHORT RIBS is my favorite ingredient of 2008. Thanks for slipping this wonderful recipe in just before the new year!


12 Passionate Eater December 22, 2008 at 2:40 pm

I hope you two will be cleaning out the fridge more often, I like recipes like these.


13 Heather December 22, 2008 at 2:50 pm

I love kalbi, but never think to buy Korean short ribs. I usually end up gravitating toward pork belly in my Asian grocer’s meat department. :)


14 Marvin December 22, 2008 at 4:09 pm

The ribs look fantastic Todd! It’s always funny when I want to make Korean-style shortribs I can never seem to find them and can only find the Flanken-cut ribs for braising. And when I want to braise short ribs, I can only find the Korean-style;)


15 nikkipolani December 22, 2008 at 6:00 pm

Mmmmm! I wonder if these can be broiled… my charcoal grill takes forever to get going and I just thought maybe I could take a little shortcut ;-) You sure know how to make mouthwatering photos!


16 noobcook December 22, 2008 at 11:17 pm

I’m salivating! :)~ Happy Holidays, Todd & Diane (and the doggies) ^o^


17 Veron December 23, 2008 at 6:35 am

You have me drooling at 8:35 am in the morning. I am heading straight to the Asian store after this. Have a great Holiday !!!


18 Charles December 24, 2008 at 1:04 am

Your food pictures look amazing! I’d love to know how your setup is when picturing your food.



19 Lori Lynn December 27, 2008 at 7:02 pm

I bought short ribs yesterday, will be cooking them tomorrow. I was thinking of Rick Bayless’ Short Ribs with Poblanos, I think Mexican style will hit the spot after the traditional holiday meals of prime rib and mashed potatoes… Your ribs look fabulous, I have overcooked the Korean-cut ones myself. Definitely a shame. Happy holidays again.


20 Kevin December 28, 2008 at 12:25 pm

Those short ribs look really tasty!


21 Bob January 9, 2009 at 10:43 am

Why is the 1/3 cup of oil necessary? I have never used grape seed oil, will canola work?


(Now that you mention it, you could easily reduce the amount of oil. However, we wouldn’t recommend to omit it all together because the oil will act as an emulsifier for the marinade, allowing to penetrate deeper into the meat. Because the excessive oil gets left in the marinade bag, we didn’t fret over the amount of oil. As far as types of oil, grape seed oil has a very high flash point (making it great for broiling) and a very clean flavor, but it can be easily replaced with your preferred oil. Since every oil has distinct flavor characteristics, canola is a good substitution choice because it also has a clean flavor. ) -WORC


22 Lizzie January 11, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Now that looks seriously tasty – I can’t get enough of ribs!


23 Lily January 12, 2009 at 11:35 pm

I loved short ribs recipe. But whenever I cook short ribs, they turn out rather tough and chewy. Any suggestions on how to make them more tender? I cook mine on an indoor stove-top grill.

Many thanks in advance.


24 Natalie Simon July 20, 2009 at 4:11 pm

Place ribs in a zip lock bag and marinate overnight in coke with the addition of ginger, sesame oil, garlic, and scallions. When you are ready to cook, take them out of the bag and dry them off. The acidity in the cola tenderizes the meat and then the sugars in the soda carmelize when grilled or broiled. Yummy! I have some marinating right now!


25 Don C September 8, 2009 at 10:08 pm

Tried yours…turned out great. Also highly recommend incorporating garlic, green onions and kochu jang (korean hot paste for some heat or just plain miso for a mild savory flavor) into the marinade. If you want to go even further, try simmering (and subsequently cooling) the marinade with apples, sake and mirin (sweet cooking sake) and other ingredients, before adding the oil and meat.


26 Woo April 8, 2010 at 10:10 am

Looks lovely. Kalbi is always, always, always served at every single important or semi-important Korean gathering/celebration. It has been and will continue to be an indication of the esteem in which we hold our guests and the significance of the occassion. American appetites and higher standards of living have allowed us the luxury of indulging in kalbi throughout the grilling season. I like how you’ve pared down the recipe to the essentials–very elegant and simple. The “recipe” my mother uses always includes garlic chives, cut into 1 1/2″ to 2″ pieces, a few good grinds of black pepper, a few minced garlic cloves, and a grated Asian (Korean) pear. Plus the usual soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil combo. And we prefer to grill vs broil, whenever possible. But perhaps that is because our oven must suck compared to yours–our broiled kalbi rarely gets that lovely char on the perimeters like you’ve achieved.
While I’m a traditionalist when it comes to kalbi marinades (no kochujang or miso, please) I am intrigued by @Don C’s suggestion of simmering the marinade with apples and mirin. Also, in LA’s Koreatown there is a soon-tubu chigae (ultra silken tofu stew–very spicy) place that serves a fragrant ginseng marinated kalbi.


27 Migration Mark April 8, 2010 at 12:27 pm

I think you redeemed yourself with the new set of grilled ribs, they look fantastic! It must have been a catastrophe the previous time with the carbonized ribs. I’ve accidentally over grilled meat and it is truly sad. Looks like a good recipe, I’ll try it out when I have time, Thanks!


28 Luisa May 31, 2010 at 8:56 pm
29 Jerry June 17, 2010 at 7:59 am

Hi! One of my Korean friends mother used to put a can of coke in her marinade. It was her “secret” ingredient, and it was AMAZING!!!


30 Carlos September 5, 2011 at 10:17 pm

I love these. I usually add some chopped up green onions and sesame seeds to the marinate. I have yet to find some one who doesn’t like them. There are awesome!


31 Maryann June 27, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Just made these! Yeah, I know, late to the party. Better late than never. Will be making these again very soon. Oh, and chopsticks my ass, just pick ‘em up and go to heaven.


32 White on Rice Couple June 27, 2012 at 6:15 pm

It’s never too late to the party! Thanks for sharing and so glad you loved them.


33 Kelly February 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm

So glad to have found this great recipe — so easy! Last time I made flanked ribs I slow cooked them and they were great, but wanted something different for this time. Dinner tonight!


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