Friday, March 4, 2011

Slow Cooked Korean Short Ribs

One of my favorite Korean dishes is kalbi--thinly sliced short ribs. This cut differs from how you usually see short ribs. They're either cut several ribs across, about half an inch thick and with several pieces of bone in them, or they're cut butterflied, like the picture on the left. And they're grilled.

We got a package of short ribs in our CSA package this month, but I was running into problems. I usually braise short ribs with red wine, but it was Sunday and we had no wine in the house. So I thought, well, I'll make them Korean style then. But we were out of propane! What to do?

Well, I wasn't letting a little detail like no propane stop me from making something good. I decided to put the crock pot in charge. It turned out to be a good decision!

The sauce for my short ribs started with a cup of soy sauce.

For sweetness, I added brown sugar and honey. I measured them both in the same measuring cup.

Sesame oil was next. Have I mentioned how much I love sesame oil? Because I do. A lot.

Three green onions (aka scallions) got added.

Then came the garlic.

I used the flat side of my knife to smash the garlic cloves. It made removing the garlic's papery coating easier. If your garlic didn't get a good enough smash the first time around, give it another one before adding it to the slow cooker.

Koreans love garlic. Don't be afraid, though--even though it's a lot, there wasn't an overpowering garlic taste. Cooking everything for so long really helps mellow the garlic bite.

I turned the crock pot on high and let the sugar and honey heat up a little. Everything got a nice layer of pepper and then was stirred together.

The short ribs came next. I placed them in horizontally. If you have as many short ribs as I did, you might need to do some cutting to get things to fit.

You'll probably have an easier time than I did. Usually short ribs purchased from the store are cut into individual ribs. These weren't, so they were a little bulkier.

After the short ribs were added, I poured in just enough water to reach halfway up the ribs. Just to keep things moist.

I also gave the ribs a good coat of ground pepper.

Let things go in the slow cooker for at least 5-6 hours at low heat. Here they are after a few hours.

Here they are, fully done. The meat should fall off the bones.

 I served mine with rice and Man Du. Give your slow cooker a break from regular Pot Roast and introduce your family to the taste of Korea!

Recipe: Slow Cooked Korean Short Ribs

1 c. soy sauce
1/8 c. packed brown sugar
1/8 c. honey
1/4 c. sesame oil
5-6 cloves garlic, smashed
3 green onions, roughly chopped
2-3 lbs. beef short ribs
pepper, for flavor
1/2 c. water

In a crock pot, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, sesame oil, garlic, and green onions. Turn crock pot on low and stir well.

Add short ribs and pepper. Add enough water to go halfway up short ribs.

Cook over low heat for 5-6 hours or until beef is tender and falling off the bone. Serve over rice.


  1. This looks delicious!

    Hey do you live in Roch? If so, which CSA offer meat? I could only find a handful but all offer vegetables (and limited fruits) only...

  2. No, I live closer to Mankato. The farm I buy from, Painted Hill, delivers to Mankato, Chanhassen, St. Paul, Eagan, and Maple Grove.

    Have you checked out Grass Run Farm ( It looks like their box offers variety but you get the same box every month (and I don't think it's year-round.) It also doesn't look like they deliver to Rochester (although their goods are sold at the Good Food Store, so maybe something could be arranged?)

    I also found Hilltop Pastures Farm ( offered a meat CSA for 2010--I assume they're continuing it for 2011. Unfortunately, it looks like they want full payment up front, which I feel would be difficult for most people. It looks like you get a good variety for a good price, though.

    If you still can't find anything that you like (and I'm actually really surprised Rochester doesn't have more CSAs available), maybe a letter to the Post Bulletin and/or the people who run the farmer's market addressing the issue would help? With the Rochester farmer's market going on through winter now, I can imagine that the idea would be a popular one. If more people were openly interested in the idea, I bet it would take off.

    CSAs are just picking up here--I believe there are one or two new veggie ones starting up this year, but I believe Painted Hill is our only meat CSA. The Mankato farmer's market is nowhere as impressive as the Rochester one--it's three times a week but doesn't have near as many vendors, and it ends in October.

  3. Thanks for the info! For some reasons I thought you live in Roch. I also wonder why we don't have more CSAs. I keep meaning to go to the Farmer Markets... just that we tend to sleep in on the weekend and keep forgetting about it!

  4. I'm from the Rochester area and would like to move back in the future :)

    I haven't ever been to the winter market--usually when we come into Rochester, it's already too late in the day for it. If you go, let me know how it is! I cannot wait for summer.