Introducing Galbi

Introducing Galbi

Galbi, a signature dish in Korean cuisine, is often regarded as the pinnacle of Korean meat dishes. This delectable dish features thinly cut beef short ribs, marinated in a blend of sweet and savory sauce, then grilled to perfection. Join us for a dive into its history, preparation, and enduring appeal in the following article.

Introducing Galbi

LA Galbi on the grill



Historical records associate Galbi with King Sukjong’s reign in the late 18th century, during which a variation called Tteokgalbi was popular at royal banquets. In modern day Korea, dishes like Galbi and Bulgogi found a new home in specialized restaurants known as "Gogigui Jip," or "meat roast house." In these places, customers could grill their meat at the table, a practice that has become emblematically associated with Korean BBQ today.

Introducing Galbi

An old-school Gogigui Jip


Introducing Galbi

A modern Gogigui Jip

Emerging in the 1980s within the bustling Korean American community of Los Angeles, a new method of preparing beef short ribs took center stage. This technique involved thinly slicing the ribs across the bone, a practice that catered to the rapid pace of American life by significantly reducing cooking time. The new style, which included the bone in each slice of galbi, became popularly known as "LA Galbi.". Today, this "LA Galbi" style is commonly found on the menu of many Korean BBQ restaurants, showing its continued popularity.

Introducing Galbi

LA Galbi



Let's explore the meticulous process of preparing Galbi, right from the freezing stage to the final marination.

Beef short ribs are the foundation of Galbi, and the preparation process starts with freezing these ribs. Freezing the beef allows for a firm texture that makes the cutting more manageable and precise.

The next step involves one of the most critical tools in a chef's arsenal: a sharp knife. A highly sharp blade is essential when handling Galbi, especially LA Galbi, to prevent bone chips from contaminating the meat and to achieve a clean cut. The knife's quality significantly influences the final product. Our supplier has decades of experience supplying the highest quality Galbi to renowned Korean restaurants in the NY area, guaranteeing our customers a consistently clean cut of Galbi with every order.

Once the meat has been carefully sliced, it undergoes a cleansing process. This involves soaking the meat cuts in cold water and purpose of this process is twofold: it draws out the blood, which can negatively affect the taste and the appearance of the final dish, and it also helps to tenderize the meat.

Introducing Galbi

Galbi being marinated

After soaking, we move to the all-important stage of marination. The marinade is a blend of savory and sweet taste and typically comprises a mix of soy sauce, sugar, garlic, sesame oil, and a fruit component such as Korean pear or apple to tenderize the meat and add a touch of sweetness. The fruit's natural enzymes break down the proteins in the meat, making it tender and absorbing the marinade better. The meat is then left to marinate for a few hours to allow the marinade to fully permeate the meat, enhancing its flavor.



Galbi can be cooked in a variety of ways, on a pan, in an oven, and even in an air fryer. Our favorite way to cook Galbi is on a charcoal grill. It offers an unfair advantage over other methods because of the delightful smoky flavors imparted by the charcoal. As the marinated beef short ribs sizzle on the hot grill, the fat and marinade drippings create aromatic smoke that infuses the meat, resulting in a deliciously charred and savory taste. Aside from cooking on a charcoal grill, we find that air fryers are surprisingly effective.

Introducing Galbi

Galbi on charcoal grill


Pairings & Suggestions

Galbi is typically enjoyed in a 'ssam' style, which means 'wrapped.' A piece of Galbi is taken from the grill, placed onto a piece of fresh red leaf lettuce or perilla leaf, and often topped with Ssamjang (a savory and slightly spicy paste made of fermented so bean paste, red chilli paste, sesame oil, and other ingredients), a slice of raw or grilled garlic, and perhaps a slice of green chili for a bit of heat. This small parcel is then wrapped up and eaten in one bite. This method allows for a perfect combination of flavors and textures in each mouthful - the tender, savory-sweet meat contrasts with the fresh, crisp lettuce, while the Ssamjang adds a depth of flavor. This is often accompanied by a bowl of steamed rice.

Introducing Galbi

A perilla leaf Ssam


Here are some popular Korean dishes and drinks that are paired with Galbi:

Naeng Myun: Cold noodles to provide a cool, refreshing contrast to the rich, grilled flavors of Galbi.

Introducing Galbi


Pahjeon: Korean scallion pancakes, offering a savory and crispy side dish.

Introducing Galbi


A traditional Korean rice wine, providing a unique pairing with the rich flavors of Galbi

Introducing Galbi

Soju: The national liquor of Korea, it is often enjoyed alongside Korean BBQ including Galbi.

Pinot Gris: Pairs well with Galbi due to its crisp fruit flavors and moderate acidity, which can balance the rich, sweet, and savory flavors of the meat. Its touch of residual sugar can offset any spice, providing an exciting contrast of flavors. (LA Times article)

Ginger Ale: The spicy and sweet notes of ginger ale can complement the sweet marinade of Galbi.

Unsweetened Iced Tea: The tannins in the tea can help cut through the richness of the Galbi, providing a refreshing contrast.


Additional Topics on Galbi


'3-Bone Galbi' vs. '4-Bone Galbi'

The terms "3-Bone Galbi" and "4-Bone Galbi" denote the number of rib sections in a piece of Galbi, reflecting the specific parts of the beef rib cage from which they are cut.

3-Bone Galbi: Cut from the chuck end of the rib cage, specifically ribs 6 through 8 near the cow's shoulder, this section typically has a substantial amount of meat between the bones and is favored for grilling due to its superior meat-to-bone ratio.

4-Bone Galbi: This is cut from the back end, encompassing ribs 9 through 12. These ribs are nearer to the loin and have a flatter bone structure compared to the 3-bone section. The meat on these ribs can sometimes be leaner than the 3-bone section.

In Korean cuisine, particularly when it comes to Galbi, the 3-bone section is often considered superior due to better marbling and overall meat quality. However, the preference can also come down to individual tastes and specific preparations.



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