Korean Braised Short Ribs

These flavorful and savory Korean Braised Short Ribs are perfect for a weekend dinner at home. 

This dish is a treat. The ingredients are pricey and it takes a decent amount of preparation and time to make. It’s so worth it though. The Korean name for this dish is called galbi jjim.

My family didn’t make this too often when I was growing up because beef short ribs were so expensive.  We didn’t have a lot of money growing up so I remember eating it once every several years at someone’s birthday party or at a relative’s house during Korean Thanksgiving. Now that I am a grown ass adult with a grown ass career, I make this frequently. I still cringe when I see the price sticker of $17 per pound of short ribs but hey, I deserve it. 

The short ribs are braised over low heat for about an hour so it has plenty of time to soak up the sweet and savory sauce that it simmers in. The sauce is my mom Cici’s bulgogi marinade recipe. I remember asking Cici what is the difference between the bulgogi marinade and galbi marinade and she answered “Nothing, dumbass. One uses thinly sliced ribeye and the other uses beef rib.” Not sure if the dumbass part was necessary but I don’t dare question Cici. I went to my local grocery store and compared the ingredients in the pre-made jars of galbi marinade vs. bulgogi marinade. Not much difference honestly. I think one used apple and the other used pear. So Cici was right again, after all.

Check out my bulgogi post here to get the marinade recipe. Or you can scroll down to see the recipe card if you’re feeling lazy.  Bulgogi recipe yields 3 cups of marinade. You only need 1.5 cups for this recipe.

Here are the list of ingredients:

1.5 cups of Cici’s bulgogi marinade (see recipe card for exact measurements to yield 1.5 cups)

3 lbs of beef short rib

1 large russet potato

3 carrots

4 stalks of green onion

2 cups of water

Important preparation instructions:

Tip #1

  1. I know this sounds weird but you must, must, must soak your short ribs in cold water for about 1.5 hours. I’m sure this is unheard of in western cuisine.  I can hear my mother-in-law gasping and asking “Wouldn’t it cause the meat to go bad?!?!” No Mary, it doesn’t. It’s kept in the fridge while soaking. (Mary is the nicest, most caring and loving white mother that I never had. She’s pretty great and I love her.) 

Okay, back to the post, the thought process behind it is that the soaking draws out the blood and other impurities from the meat which gets rid of the weird smell beef has sometimes. It also removes the powder like bone fragments that is stuck to the meat that is caused inevitably by the high powered saw butchers use to cut through the bone. I always try to dump the water out and replace with fresh cold water about half way through soaking. If you’re out and about and unable to, no problem. 

before vs. after.

Notice the color change of the meat due to the removal of blood.

After soaking you must wash the ribs under cold running water making sure all the bone fragments are washed off. You can’t see the fragments because it’s so tiny and powder like but you can definitely feel it. It’s super gritty and creates a terrible texture in your dish if you don’t remove it. Imagine chewing a piece of meat covered in invisible pebbles. Gross. 

Tip #2

Skim the brown colored impurities off the top when bringing it to boil. 

Tip #3

Braising time may differ depending on the thickness of the short ribs. Mine were about 2 inches in thickness. Start checking for doneness at 30 minute mark of braising. Braising over low-medium heat is the key to a tender short rib. Stick a fork (in my case a single metal chopstick) in the meat and if it goes all the way through with little resistance, it’s done. It definitely should not be fall apart tender. This ain’t pot roast y’all. You eat the ribs by holding the bone part of it with your fingers and pulling the meat off of it with your teeth. It’s overcooked if the meat falls off the bone before you can pick it up. Some of the recipes I saw online for galbi jjim use Instant pot. It’s convenient and cuts your cooking time by more than half. I like my instant pot a lot but I don’t think this dish is a good match for it. I tried it couple times but each time it rendered out too much fat and made the short ribs “pull apart with a fork” tender, like a pot roast. Same result even after adjusting the pressure cook time. It also didn’t soak up the marinade all that well due to the short cook time. 

Just cook it the old fashioned way with some elbow grease. Dutch ovens are so cool to use anyways.

 

Check out the recipe card below!

Korean Braised Short Ribs

Korean Braised Short Ribs

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes

Simmering the beef ribs low and slow is the key!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 tbsp of sesame oil
  • Quarter of Asian pear
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 lbs of beef short ribs
  • 1 large russet potato
  • 4 stalks of green onion
  • 3 carrots

Instructions

1. Place the beef ribs in a large mixing bowl, pour cold water over it and place in fridge for 1.5 hours. This drains the blood out from the ribs. Change the water out half way through.

2. Blend soy sauce, sugar, ground pepper, pear, garlic and sesame oil in a blender until mixture is smooth and no chunks of garlic or pear is present. Set aside.

3. Prepare potato and carrots in bite sized chunks, potatoes and carrots about 1.5 inches, green onions about 2 inches.

4. Wash individual rib under cold water making sure no small bone fragments are present on the meat.

5. In a dutch oven (or a large pot), place the washed ribs on the bottom, pour sauce on top. Pour cold water over the ribs until just covered- about 2 cups.

6. Bring it to a boil over high heat for 5 minutes. Skim the foam off of the top.

7. Decrease heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 50 minutes with lid on. May need to increase or decrease your simmer time depending on the thickness of the ribs.

8. Add the vegetables except for the green part of the green onions. Thick white end of the green onion can go in the pot at this time with the potato and carrots. Bring the heat up to high, cook for another 15 minutes with lid on. You should be able to easily pierce the meat and veggies with a fork with little resistance. Your sauce should have reduced and thickened. Throw in the green part of your green onion, stir, turn off the heat but keep the lid on.

9. Serve with white rice and kimchi.

Notes

When the butcher saws through the ribs, it creates powder like bone fragments which coats and sticks to the meat. Placing the ribs under cold water for 1.5 hours draws out the impurities such as the bone fragments and blood. Washing it under running water especially over the bone ensures bone fragments remain and no gritty texture occurs in the finished product.

Your finished product should be tender but should still have a bite to it. A fork should pierce through the meat with little resistance but it shouldn't fall apart when pressing on it with a fork. Fall apart tender is good for pot roasts, bad when it comes to Korean braised short ribs.

It turned out sooooo good. My husband normally doesn’t like braised/roast/stew type dishes but absolutely loved this dish. He even licked the bone of the short rib! If that’s not Korean, I don’t know what is.  (He did ask permission to use a fork though. I graciously allowed it.)

Just look at this close up. So colorful, so meaty.

It was worth the time and effort.

 

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