LA Galbi/Kalbi (엘에이 갈비) is one of my favourite Korean BBQ meats. It’s tender, sweet and slightly salty seasoned meat is quite addictive. Licking each finger as you eat each meat and bone piece is also another entertainment you could enjoy while BBQ-ing this LA Galbi.
I only discovered this delicious dish several years ago just before I left Korea (Unfortunately my mum never made this for me.) I have often seen the name at Korean restaurants in Korea, but I thought LA Galbi is the same as traditional Korean Galbi kind (including the shape and everything), except that the meat is imported from Los Angeles USA.
Interestingly enough, the LA Galbi and so called ‘traditional Korean Galbi’ look quite different due to the way it is cut. Korean Galbi is cut in segments alongside the rib bone shapes and it is thicker while LA Galbi is cut through the rib bone, usually displaying three rib bone eyes. It is also thinner, hence easier to marinate and quicker to cook on a BBQ grill.
According to Korean encyclopaedia, there are two theories about the origin of the LA Galbi name.
- LA initial comes from rib bone being cut laterally.
- Korean immigrant community in Los Angeles using thinly sliced Galbi for grilled BBQ and this culture being brought back to Korea
Whichever is true, the taste of traditional Korean Galbi is the same as the LA Galbi if marinated and cooked the same way. (Though, I would think the tenderness and the texture might be different). Which one would you prefer? Korean Galbi? or LA Galbi? I think I am leaning towards LA Galbi.
- 800g LA Galbi meat (Beef short rib)
- 7 Tbsp soy sauce
- 3 ½ Tbsp dark brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp cooking wine (or rice wine/sake/soju/mirin)
- 2 Tbsp grated apple (I used red kind of apple not the green apple, if you can substitute this with Korean/Nashi pear that is even better)
- 2 Tbsp grated onion
- 1 ½ Tbsp minced garlic
- 1/3 tsp minced ginger
- 4 sprinkles of ground black pepper
- Soak the meat in cold water for 1 hour to get rid of the blood. Change the water a couple of times as it releases debris (blood and floating fat).
- While waiting, mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. (You can use a blender to quicken the process).
- One hour later, pat-dry the meat with some kitchen paper. Then put it into a sealable container. Pour out the sauce onto the meat and mix them with a spoon to thoroughly season. Close the lid.
- Marinade the meat for about 3 hours at room temperature (24 -27 Celsius degree). Turn the meat over 2-3 times during this time, so that the meat gets marindated thoroughly. (You can also marinade this overnight in the fridge to give extra tenderness and flavour.)
- Place baking paper on a tray and line the meat on the tray. Grill it in an oven for 10 mins. (I cooked both side 5 mins each.) Alternatively you can cook it on a BBQ grill or pan.
- When both sides are all cooked, serve it on a plate & Enjoy.
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