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Korean Beef BBQ Kalbi

Korean Beef BBQ Kalbi recipe has tender melt in your mouth boneless short rib seared over the grill, dunked in a spicy gochuang, soy and sesame dipping sauce and served with a side of quick pickles.Korean BBQ Beef Kalbi /

Have you ever been to a Korean BBQ restaurant? Don't you just love all the delicious pickles, delicious cuts of beef and veggies to grill. I love my grilled Korean Beef BBQ Kalbi drizzled with a little spicy sauce and rolled up in a lettuce leaf. Unless you have an extravagant dining room table with a pop up grill in the middle you need to simplify this whole process down to a family meal but with some delicious traditional Korean flavours.

Korean BBQ Beef Kalbi /

The best part of enjoying a Korean Beef BBQ Kalbi, it is like an instant party. Everyone loves assembling their own food and sharing it at a table together. In addition, all of the items can be prepared in advance of your party and gathering and all you need to do is grill your marinated boneless short ribs for just 1-2 minutes. I don't have one of those fancy pop up grills in the middle of my dining room table either so I either grill outdoors or when I am lazy I grill on my grill pan indoors.

Korean BBQ Beef Kalbi /

It is around this time of the year that I cannot not wait for flip-flop season. I am sick and tired of weeks and weeks of fog, smog and dampness in Hong Kong and can't wait to see the sun again. Are you sick of snow, sleet and mother nature? If you want to be ready for the spring/summer, we need to start thinking about lightning up our meals but still keeping all the flavours.  This delicious Korean Beef BBQ Kalbi is sure to deliver with all of its delightful spices and textures.

Korean Beef BBQ Kalbi is a great low carb meal and diabetic friendly if you use a sugar alternative in the quick pickles recipe. If you are vegan, just replace the beef with hearty Portobello mushrooms. If you want to keep this recipe gluten-free, use tamari sauce and use gluten-free gochuang sauce.

Korean Beef BBQ kalbi, sometimes also called galbi, all starts with the cut of beef and the special marinade. I used beef short ribs without the bones for this recipe but it is really your choice and you can use a rib eye, strip loin or tougher cuts of meat if you marinade the beef overnight.

Korean BBQ Beef Kalbi /

I know some of you may be asking what is the difference between Kalbi and Bulgogi? It is the type of beef and how it is cut. Usually, kalbi is made from short ribs either with or without the bones and it is cut somewhere around 1/4 inch thick. Bulgogi can be cut from really tender cuts of beef like tenderloin or rib eye or other cuts of meat and it is cut super paper-thin.

My marinade is much like the usual marinade but healthier. Many of my Korean friends use a sprite or lemon/lime soda pop or brown sugar in the marinade but my version only uses kiwi fruit to sweeten the marinade along with tamari (soy) sauce, sesame oil, onions, white pepper and of course lots of garlic. You can exchange the kiwi fruit with a grated Asian pear and that is also very nice.

Korean BBQ Beef Kalbi /

Grilling over the hot coals, outside gas grill or even on your inside grill pan all work well. You only need to quickly sear the meat about 1 minute on each side and it is done. You have to love that. Dunk your masterpiece into the delicious gochuang, soy and sesame dipping sauce for a lip smacking delicious treat. Gochuang is a delicious Korean fermented chili paste and if you cannot find that near you exchange with a little Siracha sauce.

Man cannot live on meat alone and that is why I like to accompany Korean Beef BBQ kalbi with a quick pickle. I like to use the tiny skinny Asian cucumbers but you could use other types as well. If your pickle has lots of seeds, you are going to want to remove those before you dunk them in the pickling juice.

Korean BBQ Beef Kalbi /

There is no heating up vinegar or fussing.  Just splash a little rice vinegar, salt, coconut sugar or sugar alternative, sesame oil and of course fresh chilis and toss and let stand for about 15 minutes at room temperature and these delicious quick pickles are ready to be served. These are not like regular pickles and are best eaten within 24 hours but can be kept up to 3 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Korean BBQ Beef Kalbi /

If you want to set up a full Korean Beef BBQ Kalbi, then some of the fun side dishes are lettuces to wrap up your beef in and then loads of your favorite toppings. You may like to include special spicy gochuang, soy and sesame dipping sauce, kimchi, quick pickles, bean sprouts, marinated or grilled garlic cloves, sesame seeds or whatever your little heart desires. In addition, today I needed to fill up my boys and also made a side of Kimchi Pantry Fried Brown Rice too.

Korean BBQ Beef Kalbi /



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Healthy World Cuisine (HWC) Magazine is committed to provide a lifestyle traveling culinary experience featuring fresh ingredients, easy recipe preparation and culinary enjoyment. READ MORE...

Korean Beef BBQ Kalbi

By HWC Magazine  , , , , , , ,   

February 22, 2016

Korean Beef BBQ Kalbi recipe has tender melt in your mouth boneless short ribs seared over the grill, dunked in a spicy gochuang, soy and sesame dipping sauce and served with a side of quick pickles.

  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yields: 4 Adults or 1 Hungry Teenager


Marinade for Beef

beef short ribs - 1.5 pounds (boneless) - can also use ones with bones

kiwi - 2 kiwi peeled and mashed (can also use grated Asian pears)

tamari (soy) sauce - 1/2 cup

sesame oil - 2 tablespoons

garlic - 3 peeled and minced

onion - 1 small onion or about 1/2 cup peeled and grated

sesame seeds - 2 teaspoons

white pepper - 1/2 teaspoon

Quick pickles (optional)

cucumbers - 4 small skinny Asian Cucumbers or obtain the kind without seeds or remove the seeds before slicing. Cut into thin slices leave the skin on.

chili peppers - 1 mild chili pepper or pepper of choice, sliced thinly

rice vinegar - 3 tablespoons

sesame oil - 2 teaspoons

salt - 1 teaspoon

sugar or sugar alternative - 1 teaspoon coconut sugar or sugar alternative of choice

white pepper - 1/4 teaspoon

GoChuang Dipping Sauce (optional)

gochuang sauce - 1 tablespoon or to taste (very spicy) - I found a gluten-free and vegan GoChuang Sauce from Chung Jung One.

tamari (soy) sauce - 1/3 cup

sesame oil - 1 teaspoon

Final Product

olive oil - 1 tablespoon if using indoor grilling pan and if grilling outdoors prepare your grill.

lettuce - bibb lettuce or soft leaved lettuce to wrap up your grilled meats (optional)

bean sprouts - handful, chopped into thirds (optional)

sesame seeds - 1 teaspoon, toasted- to garnish beef (optional)


1Marinate your boneless short ribs. In a plastic bag or plastic container add short ribs, kiwi, tamari (soy) sauce, sesame oil, garlic, onion, sesame seeds and white pepper mix and seal bag or container. Place your short ribs in the refrigerator overnight to marinade or at least 4 hours. The longer the marinade time the more tender the beef.

2Step 2) Make your quick pickles. (optional) In a medium bowl, add your sliced cucumbers, chili peppers, rice vinegar, sesame oil, salt, sugar or sugar alternative of choice and white pepper. Stir until well mixed and set aside at room temperature for 15 minutes and then they are ready to eat. Consume within 24 hours.

3Make your Gochuang Dipping Sauce.  (optional) In a small bowl, add gochuang sauce, tamari (soy) sauce and sesame oil and mix well. Set aside.

4Grill Korean Beef BBQ Kalbi. Take your marinated beef out of the refrigerator and allow to come up to room temperature about 20 minutes. Pre-heat and prepare your outdoor grill or indoor grill pan with a little olive oil or spray oil to prevent sticking. Grill boneless short ribs for about 1-2 minutes on each side over a medium hot grill. (Do not overcook, just get quick grill marks on each side) Sprinkle your tender and delicious Korean Beef BBQ Kalbi with a little toasted sesame seeds, if desired.

5Assemble Korean Beef BBQ Kalbi party: Gather your family and friends and place the grilled Korean Beef BBQ Kalbi, lettuce leaves, quick pickles, gochuang dipping sauce, beans sprouts, kimchi,  and what ever fresh vegetables you like. Take a lettuce leaf in your hand and place on a slice of grilled Korean Beef BBQ Kalbi, add the quick pickles, kimchi, fresh bean sprouts and gochuang sauce on top. Roll up like and tortilla and eat. Enjoy!

  • Oh I love Korean BBQ, the mixture of grilled meat, lettuce, raw garlic slices and irresistible spicy sauce… mmm! It’s interesting to see kiwi in your marinade and your pickles is definitely to die for! I don’t really want the cold to go away though, summer here can be a tad too unbearable!

    • Bams Kitchen

      You are so cute Jasline. Girl you are from SG, how much hotter can it be over there…? Does it bother you that it is a dry heat instead of a humid heat? Of course you have to have some raw pickled garlic slices in your lettuce wraps for sure. The combination of the heaty and the cool items make this a delicious treat. Wishing you a super week.

      • It can go up to 40C here during the summer months, a lot higher than in SG (but last year we were out of country during that period so I was spared from the heat!) The dryness doesn’t bother me much during summer but during winter we had to apply tons of moisturiser, a problem I never had when I was in SG! Here’s wishing you a happy hump day! 😀

        • Bams Kitchen

          You poor thing! I hope you have plans to find a cool place this summer to visit. So when are you moving back to SG? Stop over in HK as I would love to see you!

  • kitchenriffs

    This dish really is an instant party! Great line. 🙂 Great recipe, too — this looks SO flavorful. Thanks.

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you John! It would only be a super party if you were there with your martini shaker doing what you do best. I will make the kalbi and you can make the cheer…

  • I love Kalbi. It’s one of the best Korean BBQ and paired with kimchi. . . yum! This making me hungry now. Have a good week, Bobbi. 🙂

    • Bams Kitchen

      Hello Ray! This would be the perfect party meal for this weekend, don’t you think? Have a super week.

  • This dish looks absolutely mouth watering. You are the second blog focussing on Korean food today on my blog tours and it’s very tempting. I don’t have red meat at home often, we usually save it for going out but this looks like a recipe that my husband would love.

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thanks so much Eva. Maybe we are starting a Korean foodie trend!! I hope so as there are so many dishes that are waiting to be explored. You I don’t really think much about it as when I go to the market it is easy to find rice cakes, gochuang sauces, kimchi and all the Korean snacks. My boys beg for Korean Dried laver (seaweed)… lol (Now that would have never happened 8 years ago.) Maybe you can save this as an extra special dinner at home but you really do not need to much beef as all the fresh toppings are so delicious.

  • I didn’t expect to see kiwi in the beef marinade, very cool! I’m loving all of the flavors and textures here with the pickle as well!

    • Bams Kitchen

      I know I remember the first time my Korean friend told me to marinade my beef in kiwi fruits and I looked at her like she had 3 eyes but she was really on to something here. I am glad you liked this recipe.

  • I love the flavor combination and the cool cucumber to spicy gochuang – this dish looks like perfection.

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you Marissa. My family loves this fun dish. You are right the heaty and the cool are delicious together. The good news is that you can determine how spicy you want your sauces.

  • Carlyn

    I’m looking forward to trying Kalbi on my backyard grill! We are already wearing flip flops here in Austin!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you Carlyn! I bet you are already wearing flip flops… get the grill fired up. I will be right over!

  • This looks fabulous Bam, my husband and I are just getting started on Korean food, love that you served fresh cucumbers and lettuce with this.

    • Bams Kitchen

      Korean food rocks! I love all the small plates of pickles, lettuces, garlic, dipping sauces with this kind of menu. It is great to entertain with.

  • Eha

    Oh Bobbi – this is a recipe which will be used here soonest! Have never used kiwifruit in the dish and it does play quite a dominant taste role, so can’t wait to try!! One does use the term ‘flavour-of-the-month’ around the world: well, in Australia recently that was Vietnamese [and in many ways still is], but interest in Korean food has increased manifold in the last couple of years and now e’one seems to have the Korean chilli pastes etc in the pantry! And kimchee home-made or bought 🙂 !!!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you Eha! I just cut in half and squeeze the flesh and juice from the kiwi into the marinade and like it almost better than using an Asian pear. Korean food really has some bright and delicious flavors and I could see why it will be the new foodie craze.

  • Holy smokes, Bobbi, this looks so darn delicious. Your shots always make me feel like your gorgeous food is right on the table in front of me. Marvelous flavors! Sharing 🙂

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you dear. Now all we need to do is to get you to Hong Kong so I can set the food within your reach. How are your chopstick skills?

  • This beef looks so good! The quick pickles sound really great, too!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you Nancy. The beef was really melt in your mouth tender…the longer the marinade the more tender the beef becomes.

  • I cannot remember the last time I went out for a Korean meal. This sounds scrummy Bobbi 🙂

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you Tandy! Now you have a delicious Korean meal right in the comfort of your own home… take care

  • This beef is cooked to perfection! Living in Hong Kong made you a master in Asian food Bobbi! Sharing love around!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you Katerina, you are so sweet. It is fun to be able to have everything you need to make Asian food conveniently. Thanks for sharing.

  • These look amazing and sound absolutely delicious!

  • I can’t believe you lined up each bean sprout! This looks great, by the way, and Korean food is so hot right now! I want the pickles!

  • I love Korean cooking, this is such a delicious recipe, I like the idea of using kiwi. Pinned

  • Beautiful post Bam. Apologies for the long absence from commenting. This is a lovely post to return to.

  • Definitely saving this recipe. Wondering if kiwi will work with pork, have you tried it?

  • Oh do I long for this right now!! Looks amazing!

  • One of my favourite Korean dishes! love the simple flavours with rice and Korean side dishes.
    BTW those bean sprouts are so straight and long.

  • Korean BBQ is very popular herein Los Angeles where I live. There is a large Koream community hre, and there are lots of wonderful restaurants there. But with this recipe it looks like we can stay home and enjoy some terrific Korean BBQ! Thanks!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Korean restaurants seem to be sweeping the world and it is no wonder why with all of the delicious flavours and interactive dining experience. This really is a fun recipe to make at home for family and friends.

  • Ooo, I want this for dinner tomorrow evening. What a fabulous meal!
    Have a super day Bam.
    🙂 Mandy xo

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you Mandy! I hope you are feeling a little bit better each and every day!

  • My absolute favorite korean bbq is beef kalbi. My hubs loves bulgogi but I prefer the marbling on beef short ribs. It’s just soooooooooooooooooooo good. Yes, with that many O’s. 🙂

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you soooooooo much AiPing. The marbling on the beef makes this beef really tasty. Have a super week!

  • OH man I was craving Korean BBQ recently and this looks so perfect. Love that you sweetened the marinade with fruit instead of the less healthy options. Craving this so bad!!!

  • We love going to Korean BBQ’s and the kids especially adore it. Your beef looks incredibly succulent and delicious! A Korean beef bbq kalbi sounds like such fun – I know I would be so very popular with my family!

  • My friends and I meet at the BBQ Korean restaurant every month, we LOVE Korean BBQ, all that delicious grilled meat. Droooool! Kinda intrigued by the kiwi, tis an excellent substitute for the unhealthy sweetener. I reckon I will can eating out with my pals next month and have a crack at preparing the meal at home. Thanks love. Hope you are well and have a super weekend. 🙂

  • Buongiorno, BAM! This sounds like a fantastic — and easy — dish to prepare. Judging by the restaurants, Korean food is becoming more popular here. It would be nice to be able to create a few of the dishes at home. Like you, I enjoy a quick pickle and serve them with many of my dishes. It’s the acid content. I love a bit of acid on the plate during dinner.
    Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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