When Seattle chef duo Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi debated what angle to take on their third restaurant, Trove, they couldn't ignore what their customers wanted: Korean barbecue. Per usual, though, they didn't want to make it strictly traditional — which is how Trove became known as the Korean-ish place where you take friends to grill lemongrass-smothered tri-tip, tamarind-tinged duck breast, or za'atar-crusted pork belly on a Korean-style tabletop grill.
In Yang's new book, My Rice Bowl: Korean Cooking Outside the Lines, the recipes in the barbecue section are a list of go-to grilling favorites (see also: grilled Cornish game hens with Korean mojo and orange-sesame salt). Still, both at Trove and in the book, there's one Korean favorite that can't be missed: kalbi.
You might associate the word "kalbi" with the deep, sweet, garlic-tinged flavor of Korean barbecue (and with going out to dinner), but in Korean it just translates to "short rib." Boneless short rib steaks are so popular in Korea that they're one of the most expensive cuts of meat. But in the U.S., where we're still relative short rib newbies, it's usually much less expensive than other steaks — and as Rachel's recipes show, it doesn't require the long hours of braising many people associate with short ribs.
Just bathe the meal for an hour or so in a mixture of mirin, sake, soy, ginger, and garlic, and you've got Korean barbecue at home. Eat the steaks on their own, fold them into lettuce wraps, or add them to a quick rice bowl, along with kimchi, store-bought pickled daikon, and a raw egg yolk.
Ultimate Korean Short Ribs
1/4 cup peeled, chopped Asian pear
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup mirin
2 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 (1-inch) section peeled fresh ginger, cut into 1/4-inch-thick coins
2 large cloves garlic
1 pound boneless short ribs, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
Marinate the meat: Place the pear, onion, mirin, sake, tamari or soy sauce, ginger, and garlic in a blender or bowl of a food processor with the blade attachment. Process until well-blended, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway through to reincorporate any stray ingredients. Transfer the marinade to a container large enough to fit the short ribs, add the meat, and turn to coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
Grill the short ribs: Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat (350°F to 375°F). Place the short rib slices in a single layer on the grill grates. Cover and grill for 1 to 3 minutes per side, or until the steak is cooked to your liking. (The marinade burns quickly, so watch any hot spots on your grill carefully.) Transfer to a platter, let the meat rest for a minute or two, then serve immediately.
Gluten-free: To make this recipe gluten-free, make sure the sake is gluten-free and use tamari.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Excerpted and adapted from My Rice Bowl by Rachel Yang and Jess Thomson by permission of Sasquatch Books. All rights reserved. (c)2017.