Recipe: Korean Barbecued Short-Ribs

2009_5_21-koreansribs2.jpgWe were out of town this week on retreat with some of our staff, and aside from all the work, we also did lots of eating.

Gregory (of Apartment Therapy Los Angeles and Unplggd) whipped up some fine Korean barbecue on our last night, filling our bellies beyond belief. “How many bones do you have on your plate, huh?” challenged one seasoned eater. Gregory won with seven.

With Memorial Day weekend upon us, I thought this would be a great summer kick-off. It’s great for a crowd, easy to prepare, and a big departure from the routine burger and beer routine. We’re making it again for sure.

The ingredients and preparation are simple. The only specialty item is the meat: flanken is a cut of short ribs sliced thinner than traditional short ribs. Look for ribs about 1/2″ thick and 6″-8″ long. If unavailable, you can slice traditional three-rib short ribs down to the bones length-wise and splay them on the grill.

2009_5_21-koreanribs1.jpgKorean Barbecued Short Ribs
serves 6-8

5 lbs beef short-ribs, flanken if possible
1 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
8 green onions, trimmed and chopped roughly
8-10 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
2 Asian pears, peeled and cored

Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, green onions, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds and optional red pepper flakes in a bowl.

Slice Asian pears into 1/4″-thick chips, irregular shapes are fine.

Nestle ribs in a roasting pan or pile in a large, sturdy re-sealable plastic bag. Scatter pear around ribs then pour over marinade. Turn ribs to ensure they are evenly coated. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, up to 24 hours. Turn ribs at least once during the marination.

Prepare the grill. A gas grill will work but, according to Gregory, “Koreans prefer the char of charcoal.” Third choice is a broiler.

Drain excess marinade off ribs and reserve. Cook ribs, turning often with metal tongs. Depending on the thickness of the meat and the heat of the grill, this may take as little as 5 minutes, or as many as 15 minutes. Tend the grill carefully, watching for flare-ups which can be put out with a cupful of water.

Toward the end of the cooking process, pour remaining marinade over ribs, cook another minute to caramelize, then pull off to check for done-ness. Gregory’s tip is to cut a piece and taste it. The middle should look the way you like your steaks to look, which is probably not too bloody, and definitely not too dry.

Serve with rice, torn lettuce and a julienne of green onions, and a sesame oil and soy sauce dressing.

A version of this post was originally sent to our email subscribers yesterday. To receive Sara Kate’s weekly email, sign up in the column to the left or click here. Something tasty will arrive in your inbox every Thursday.