Korean Beef Barbecue

Two slabs of Korean beef barbecue ribs next to a bowl of white rice.

Ask your butcher for flanken-style ribs, which are thin enough that they require no cutting. Simply marinade them for a few hours in the refrigerator. If you buy the thicker English-style short ribs, you’ll want to prepare them by making a horizontal cut just over the bone of each rib. Stop just before you cut all the way through the meat. Continue to make horizontal cuts and butterfly the meat until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Then cut very shallow slits in the meat to help the marinade penetrate and tenderize it.–Jamie Purviance

How to Buy Asian Pears

Surprised to see that this Korean marinade calls for Asian pear? Don’t be. The rotund, golden Asian pears increasingly found in standard produce aisles may seem a shocker in a savory recipe, but it lends a welcome sweetness to these sorta sweetly sesame-y ribs. When standing there at the bin pondering which pear to grab, bear in mind that Asian pears, even when ripe, will not be soft to the squeeze, so don’t go rummaging for one that’s not rock hard. It should also smell fragrant and a bit flowery (go on, be that person at the market who sniffs the produce). While you’re at it, snatch a second pear so you can slice one and nibble it while the ribs marinate. If you simply can’t get a hold of an Asian pear for love or money, you can swap a Bosc pear, which is softer and milder tasting but will do quite nicely in a pinch.

Korean Beef Barbecue

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 15 M
  • 20 M
  • Serves 4 to 6
5/5 - 1 reviews
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In the bowl of a food processor, finely chop the pear, scallions, and garlic. Add the water, soy sauce, sugar and the rice vinegar. Process until well combined.

Put the ribs in a large bowl and pour in the marinade. Mix well to coat the ribs evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat, [450°F to 550°F (230°C to 290°C)].

Brush the cooking grates clean. Lift the ribs from the marinade 1 at a time, letting the excess liquid and solid bits fall back into the bowl before laying them on the grill. Discard the marinade.

Grill the ribs over direct high heat, with the lid open, until they are nicely charred on both sides and cooked to a medium or medium-rare doneness, 3 to 5 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from the grill and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

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Recipe Testers Reviews

Oh, yum. The pear in this recipe had me hooked. It added a lovely subtlety to the scallions, garlic, soy sauce, sugar and rice vinegar marinade. I set aside about 1/2 cup, which I reduced down to 1/4 cup to serve with the ribs, which was delicious. I marinated the ribs for five hours rather than the two to four specified in the recipe (just due to a busy day), and it definitely was not too long; in fact, a few more hours would have been just right. Regardless, this was very tasty, especially when sprinkled with the toasted sesame seeds for that extra bit of nuttiness and crunch. If the recipe did not call for sesame seeds, I would have added crushed peanuts. Our flanken ribs were a bit gristly, so next time I would use flank steak (marinating longer) and cut extremely thin.


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  1. I’ve made these several times now and dream about them in between. I wait until short ribs are on sale which is still around $5.99/lb. and stock up the freezer so I can make these. The marinade lasts pretty long in the refrigerator tightly sealed in a glass jar. I’ve marinaded the short ribs for up to 4 days which I think is best the longer you wait. Soooo tasty and the smell of them on the bbq is heavenly. Highly recommend.

    1. Margie, your comment about “Dream about them in between” and “heavently” are the kindest and greatest compliments we can hope to receive! I love everything about what you just wrote. We’re thrilled that you love these as much as we do and grateful you took the time to let us know how well these work for you! Looking forward to hearing which recipe you try next…

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