Cooking Korean in Fargo Part II: Flipping Amazing Galbi

Following my quest to make chap chae, I embarked on a journey to make galbi.

In the Twin Cities, Jake and I have eaten versions of galbi, tender and succulent marinated short ribs, grilled until charred.  The traditional galbi cut of meat is very much Korean, and difficult to locate in Fargo.  My friend’s husband made a delicious version of galbi with boneless meat Hornbachers specially sliced.

To enjoy, try wrapping these short ribs in crisp lettuce leaves alongside steamed rice and kimchee.

In my last post, I wrote about visiting a small Korean grocery store called Everday Mart in Fargo.

When I asked the owner about galbi, he showed me a supply of frozen short ribs that cost $40/four pound box, or sold by the pound.

I bought about half a box which would serve approximately 2-3 people.

I soaked the short ribs in a marinade for 24 hours, using a recipe I found on the Food Network, from Bobby Flay’s TV show.  Yes.  Bobby Flay.  Sounds strange, but the recipe is from a Korean woman named Jun Lee who was a guest on his show (I promise.  I saw the show) and user reviews were overwhelmingly positive.
Galbi Marinade Ingredients:
1.5-4 lbs of galbi beef short ribs or a substitute.
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 Asian pear, grated, with juices (I found Asian pears at the Asian & American Market in Fargo and Hornbachers)
2 Tablespoons of finely chopped garlic
1/2 small white onion, grated, with juices
1 Tablespoons of fresh, grated ginger, with juices (I used skin and all)
2 Tablespoons of light brown sugar or turbinado sugar
1 Tablespoon of honey
2.5 Tablespoons of toasted sesame oil
1 Tablespoon ground red pepper (I used cayenne)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 green onions, sliced thinly
Lemon-lime soda, about 20 oz

Directions:
1. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Marinate the short ribs in the refrigerator; the longer, the better.  I placed the frozen meat and marinade in a Ziploc bag for 24 hours, squishing occasionally.  The Asian pear will tenderize the meat.

2. Remove short ribs from the refrigerator. Drain the excess marinade, and let them come closer to room temperature.  In the meantime, wash and dry the lettuce leaves and prepare steamed rice.

3. To steam rice: Rinse your rice in a mesh strainer.  Place the rice in a saucepan with twice as much water.  Bring to a boil, stir, and cover.  Immediately reduce the heat to low and let steam for about 30 minutes.  You can open the lid briefly to peek on the rice and taste for doneness, but whatever you do, do not stir the rice before its done steaming.  Otherwise it will become gummy.

4. Cook your galbi in a hot pan or grill.  I used an electric griddle, but use whatever method you have available.  Broiling would probably work as well.  A hotter temperature will more easily caramelize the fat into melting bliss. Leave the galbi on the skillet enough to develop caramelization or cook to your desired doneness.  Lengthy marination will make sure they remain juicy and tender, no matter their doneness.

The finished short ribs were every bit as delicious as those we’ve enjoyed at Korean restaurants.  Juicy, tender, and moist.  If you use traditional Korean short ribs, you will have to navigate around the bone and fat by nibbling and pulling the meat apart with your fingers.  I enjoy this process, but a boneless cut of meat will ensure easier lettuce wrapping.

Try gochujang, Korean fermented red pepper paste.  This condiment is salty, sweet, and spicy, a perfect compliment to the lettuce wraps.

I bought a jar of gochujang (Wang brand) at the Asian and American Market in Fargo.  It worked in a pinch, but tasted sharp and contains corn syrup and MSG.  Our friends’ version was mellower and more nicely balanced, so invest in a higher quality gochujang.

Everyday Mart
707 10th Street N.
Fargo, ND 58102
701-232-2266

6 Comments

  1. Jeni,

    Would this lovely marinade work on pork ribs? We are having ribs for Easter and I m not sure if I will be able to find Korean ribs in time. By the by- Mac’s Hardware has a cold meat case up front and the ribs are some of the best!

  2. Thanks so much! We traveled to Alexandria yesterday and stopped in Fergus Falls – the Viking Cafe- for a bite. 🙂

  3. Can’t wait to try the Asian pear to tenderize meat. I use kiwi a lot for the same purpose. Thanks again!

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