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Test Kitchen: Prepare the grill for kalbi

By Jessica Rodrigo
March 20, 2013 at 1:04 p.m.
Updated March 19, 2013 at 10:20 p.m.

Kalbi, a sweet and savory marinated short rib, is perfect in the current grilling weather we've had the last few days. If you can't grill outdoors, use a grill pan on the stove and it's just as good.

Seven-ingredient Kalbi

Serves 2

• 1/2 cup soy sauce

• 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

• 1/2 cup sugar

• 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes, optional

• 1 or 2 stalks of green onions, including the white ends, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces and extra from garnish

• 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

•  About 1 pound of lean short ribs, thinly sliced

Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix until the sugar is dissolved. Once dissolved, pour contents into a Ziplock bag and add ribs. Expel the air from the bag and make sure all the meat is submerged or coated in the marinade. Shorten the length of the ribs by cutting in half if necessary. Allow the ribs marinate for a few hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator. When ready to cook, prepare an outdoor grill or cook indoors with a grill pan over high heat. Cook the ribs on each side about 2 to 3 minutes. Garnish with thinly sliced green onions and serve with rice.

The weather is warming up, and it feels like Mother Nature is hitting the fast forward button on spring to get to summer. But that's OK, all that means is more time to lounge around outside in a comfy chair and enjoy the beautiful weather, especially if it includes time around a fresh-lit grill.

This time, however, let's stray from the usual burgers and brats (as in bratwursts) and try something a little different, but equally - if not more - finger-licking good.

I present you with a super easy recipe for ribs - ribs of the Korean kind.

Kalbi (or galbi, depending on where you go) is a grilled, marinated short rib sliced thin and cut into small manageable pieces. If you go to a Korean barbecue house, you can cook it yourself at a table, and servers will usually arm you with a pair of kitchen shears to cut them after they're cooked. (Have you ever noticed Asian-themed restaurants don't include knives in the table settings?)

When I made my rendition of kalbi at home, I marinated the ribs for just a few hours because I left them at room temperature rather than in the refrigerator. It's safe to do as long as you don't leave it out for too long. And, of course, you want your meat to be completely thawed out.

I bought bone-in, beef flanken ribs from Dick's Food Store and asked the butcher to slice them about a quarter of an inch thick. He returned with a little more than a pound of beautiful, lightly marbled meat and a friendly, "Here you go, babe," as he handed it to me over the deli case.

Be sure to ask for lean meat, as the fat in this recipe can make for more finger-licking than some may find favorable.

The next day, I prepared the marinade and let the ribs soak for almost three hours at room temperature. If you want, you can let it sit in the fridge overnight, too.

I was too hungry to prepare the Weber grill, so I used my cast-iron grill pan. It produces the same grill marks as a traditional grill, just minus the smokey charcoal flavor and adds that smokey flavor to the kitchen (unless there is an overhead vent above the stove).

The recipe is easy to double, too. The Test Kitchen meals are usually just for Luke and me, so the serving sizes aren't big. But it's not baking, so the dish won't change too much if the amounts in the recipe are altered.

Serve the ribs with steamed white rice. If you have some kimchee Korean pickled fermented cabbage serve it on the side to make it traditional Korean fare.

Do you have a recipe you're dying to have tested? Send them to jrodrigo@vicad.com or tweet me ideas for a Test Kitchen review @eatseatseats.

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