Galbi means “ribs” in Korean, and is a popular Korean dish served in many places. LA galbi is a style of galbi – barbecued beef short ribs – cut thinly (about ¼ inch thick) across the bones.
The first time I tried LA galbi was about 20 years ago when I visited my sister living in LA. She prepared LA galbi for me and my family. I enjoyed the galbi a lot even though I was a little surprised to see the short ribs cut thinly and across the bone.
Regular galbi in Korea is cut differently. It’s cut across and along the bone. Each piece that goes on the grill is one section of the rib, with one piece of bone in it. It’s a lot thicker. LA galbi is only cut across the bone, not along, so each piece on the grill is a longer, thinner strip, and includes 3 pieces of bone.
The marinade is exactly same as authentic Korean galbi.
At the time I never asked why it’s called LA galbi. I assumed it was because it’s popular among Korean immigrants in America.
But writing this recipe I researched the origin of the name, I couldn’t find the real answer anywhere. So I like to become a detective today, investigating LA galbi:
LA galbi is cut laterally, so the name comes from the first 2 letters of the word “lateral.”
Korean immigrants living in Los Angeles, California innovated this cut.
In my personal opinion, theory #2 seems more likely. If #1 theory is true, where is the HO galbi (from the word horizontal)? : )
LA galbi had already existed before I tasted it 20 years ago, but I’ve never seen any other culture use this particular cut of short ribs for BBQ, only Koreans. If your culture also uses this cut, let me know in the comments. But as far as I know, it’s unique (note: as I learned, this cut is popular in Mexico).
Last year I had a chance to go a BBQ picnic with about 20 Americans. I brought my marinated LA galbi to let them taste it. Surprisingly, none of them had seen or tasted LA galbi before. They loved my LA galbi and more than 1 year later they’re still talking about how good it was.
But if Koreans invented LA galbi, there must be someone or some group of chefs responsible, somewhere. If you’re the inventor, or know who he or she is, please contact me at [email protected] I want to interview you! You can share the history of LA galbi and the origin of the name, I’m very curious about it.
Ingredients (for 4-6 servings)
- 3.5 LB (1.5 kg) of LA style beef short ribs
- soy sauce
- toasted sesame oil
- toasted sesame seeds
- black ground pepper
- soybean paste
- hot pepper paste
- green onions
- perilla leaves
- green chili pepper
- Trim excess fat from the short ribs and rinse a couple times in cold water.
- Soak the ribs in cold water for 10-20 minutes to remove the blood.
- In a large bowl, add ⅓ cup soy sauce, ⅓ cup water or cooking wine, ¼ cup honey (or ⅓ cup brown sugar), and 1 ts ground black pepper.
- Blend 1 Korean pear (about 2 cups’ worth), 8 cloves of garlic, 1 medium onion, and 1 ts of chopped ginger until it turns into a white creamy liquid.
- Add it to your soy sauce base and add 2 tbs toasted sesame oil.
*tip: If you can’t find a Korean pear, use 2 ripe bosc pears. I sometimes use bosc pears and they work well.
- Rinse the short ribs in fresh cold water a couple more times to remove any remaining bone fragments. Drain the water.
- Add the ribs to the marinade and mix it well, by hand.
- Keep it in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Overnight is better, but an hour is ok if you are short of time.
Make ssamjang dipping sauce: (see video)
- Mix these 2 tbs soy bean paste, 1 tbs of hot pepper paste, 1 stalk of chopped green onion, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 ts honey, 1 ts of toasted sesame oil, and 1 ts sesame seeds in a small bowl with a spoon.
- Rinse and drain lettuce and perilla leaves. Put them on a plate or basket.
- Cut a cucumber into strips 3½ inch to 4 inches in length and ½ inch thick (8-10 cm long x1½ cm thick),
- Chop green chili peppers and slice a few cloves of raw garlic and put them next to green lettuce and perilla leaves.
Let’s cook and eat!
- Grill, pan fry, or BBQ the ribs. The LA style cut is thin, so they’re cooked much faster than usual ribs. It takes only about 5 minutes!
- When the both sides are cooked, put them on a serving plate. Cut the meat part off the bone with scissors into bite sized pieces.
- Put a piece of meat on top of a lettuce leaf and a periilla leaf. Add dipping sauce, garlic, and a piece of green chili pepper. Fold it over into a small package, and pop it into your mouth in one bite!
You can serve this with rice and kimchi, too.
Enjoy the recipe!