Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Korean Freakin Barbeque

Korean barbequed short ribs called "galbi" (pronounced "ghal-bee" with a sort of "k" sound), is a delight for us all, Koreans and non-Koreans alike, except vegetarians and the .0001% of the population that doesnt like BBQ. The sweet grilled meat make our eyes glint with pleasure and our tongues salivate in anticipation so I'm going to hurry up and give you a recipe before I go crazy with a craving.

To prepare it is not difficult at all. You'll need to visit an Asian market for some of the ingredients and of course the meat, but after that it's smooth sailing. The following recipe is for about two pounds of meat, so don't invite too many people if you decide to make this for a dinner party, unless there will be a lot of sharing.


2 pounds of beef short ribs
2 cups of soy sauce
1/2 cup of sugar

A tablespoon each of:
-garlic powder
-crushed sesame seeds

2 tablespoons of sesame seed oil (maybe more)
1 teaspoon of black pepper, or
4-7 swift turns of your pepper-cracker
Lots of sliced green onions, about 4

Rinse the meat to remove the small shards of bones that sometimes sneak into the meat (nothing is worse than biting onto a shard of bone. Eek!), then pat dry with paper towels.

Dip the ribs in soy sauce (DO NOT LET IT SIT IN THE SOY SAUCE), then place the minimally- marinated meat onto a large bowl. Repeat for all pieces.

Add the sugar to the meat and stir so that the meat soaks it all up. Then add the oil, garlic powder, pepper, sesame seeds and green onions. Stir around (using your hands works best) to incorporate all the beautiful spices.

It's hard to test whether the meat is seasoned well at this point because you can't taste the raw ribs unless you're really hardcore. But you can usually tell by the look of it if you should add a little more oil or some more pepper, etc. YOu can even add a little msg if you like, no joke. The spice-adding step, I suppose, is the tricky part about korean bbq, as it is with all kinds of cooking. Use your instincts. Cover the bowl and place in fridge until you're ready to grill.

Now, you are ready to grill. Fire-up the hibachi grill or propane-powered thing and begin barbequing those babies. Take heed to not grill the meat for too long, as it is thin, fatty and will burn easily. But a little char around the edges is okay. YOu can also pan-fry the meat, but it won't be as good.

Invite your friends and have a party! (They'll love you.)

Notes about galbi:

So why all that damn sugar?
-One of the tricks about certain grilled meats is that the sugar marinated in them allows it to caramelize a bit during cooking. The result is pure beauty. The meat's sweetness is masked by the saltiness of the soy sauce and the smokiness of the grill but I think it's the sugar put into it that makes people like it so much without knowing exactly why. Kind of like the reason why a lot of us like ketchup.

Is it important to do the soy sauce/sugar thing before adding the other ingredients?
-Yes. If you add the oil before the sugar, the meat will hardly absorb it and you won't achieve the aforementioned caramelization beauty.

What goes well with galbi?
-Besides good company and good sticky rice, I've discovered that red wines go excellently well with galbi, which may surprise some of you. It is however, a matter of taste and since I love my red wine, I can drink it with any variety of red meat, even Korean kinds.


Blogger Alex said...

Korean freakin' barbecue! Ironically, I was thinking of making galbi this weekend. You've solved my dilemma!

12:40 PM  

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