Galbi Reigns Supreme

By Cindy Bokser

Better than hamburgers. Trust.

Summer is about putting meat on open flames and otherwise participating in this American activity called “barbecuing.” Here’s our All-American BBQ, Mash-Up Style.  Our first recipe comes to you from Korean-American Mash-Up Cindy Bokser, who has this to say about the supremacy of grilled Korean meat over all others. We think this will go nicely with our not-overboiled Russian potato salad and not-sad soba salad.

Here’s the thing about Korean food:  When I was little, it was basically the only food I liked. I used to come in the house from playing with friends to take a potty break and smell galbi(short ribs) and doenjang chee-geh (a stew made from fermented soy paste) cooking and wouldn’t go back outside until I ate some. I’d climb onto the kitchen counter and sit there while my mom cooked, and that’s how I learned to make galbi.

My parents actually claim I was a very picky eater and said they were so frustrated with my eating preferences, because I refused to eat McDonald’s hamburgers like all the other kids in my tiny Midwestern suburb. Can you imagine trying to force feed a kid McDonald’s? Times have changed!

To this day, I have never eaten a Micky D’s burger and I’m proud of it! Here’s the recipe that won me over for life. Nothing is measured when my mom cooks, so I’m just guessing. [Editor’s note: Aren’t we all?]

 

Uhmma’s Galbi Do hamburgers have brown sugar and garlic? We think not. Korean shortribs FTW!
Ingredients

galbi (not sure about weight….approx 20 long ribs sliced across the bone, three bones per slice)

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

10 garlic cloves

1 medium white onion

2 cups soy sauce

3/4 cup sesame oil

1 Asian pear, peeled (or you can substitute 2 kiwi)

1 bunch scallions, chopped

sesame seeds, more chopped scallions (for garnish)

 

Preparation

Get the largest bowl you have and put a layer of galbi at the bottom. Sprinkle a generous amount of sugar. Layer more galbi and sprinkle more sugar. Continue layering and sugaring until you’ve run out of galbi. Let sit for a few hours until the galbi starts to soften and release juices. Grind up the garlic and onions in a food processor or bullet mixer until it’s roughly pureed. (You can also chop it very very very finely with a knife, but that takes forever.) Then pour the sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic/onion mixture all over the sugared galbi. Take a gloved hand and mix it all up so that everything is incorporated. Grind the pear until thickly pureed and mix in. Finally, add the chopped scallions. Cover and let sit a few hours or overnight in the fridge. Remove from fridge and let the meat rise to room temperature. Grill until well done. Galbi is best eaten well done — even a little crisp on the thinner edges. Garnish with sesame seeds and more chopped scallions, and…. Enjoy!

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