Kalbi Short Ribs – Delicious Korean Recipe!

by NaturalDeets

This weekend was one of those that reminds me why we put up with the Seattle weather 9 months out of the year! The sun was out, it was warm and the evenings were perfect for BBQing Kalbi Spare Ribs and eating dinner outside!

pin of kalbi short firbs

But traditional Kalbi is made with white sugar and when you are clean eating, sugar is a no-no. So we replaced the sugar with honey (maple syrup just didn’t taste right). 

Now it’s not only kid friendly, but it is clean eating compliant too!

Is Kalbi Beef or Pork?

This is a common question! Kalbi is beef short ribs. Short ribs are the lower ribs of the cow. It is near the brisket and chuck areas. It can be tough and is often braised or slow cooked. 

picture of kalbi

In Kalbi, the short ribs are sliced thin and then marinated. That makes it a little more tender and oh, so delicious!

What Is Kalbi Sauce Made Of? 

Kalbi sauce is a simple sauce, and if you have made any sort of Asian food in the past, you likely have the ingredients on hand! 

picture of short ribs marinade

The base of this recipe is: Soy Sauce, Garlic, Ginger, Honey, Green Onions and Sesame Oil. That’s it! These basic ingredients will give the short ribs that flavor you recognize!

Once you make it a few times, you can start experimenting. Try adding red pepper flakes, gochujang, apple cider vinegar and sesame seeds. 

You really can’t mess it up!

How to peel and chop garlic

There are all kinds of fancy gadgets that can help you peel garlic. From plastic tubes to garlic presses. But I really hate buying gadgets when I can do it with a knife (for free!). Also, I don’t have enough room for more stuff! 

To peel garlic, break off a few cloves. Place them on a cutting board on their sides. Put the flat side of your knife on the garlic cloves and with a quick movement, hit down on the knife. 

This will smash the garlic and loosen the skin. Put the knife down and peel off the skin. Then chop up the garlic cloves.

What Do You Serve With Kalbi?

Rice…always serve it with rice! 🙂 But if you have ever gone to a Korean restaurant to order Kalbi, you are probably also familiar with the sides that you get to chose from. I have seen anywhere from 5-10+ different options and I love most of them! 

picture of pouring marinade on meat

My absolute favorite are the bean sprouts, AKA Kongnamul Muchim. If you haven’t tried them before, they taste like a marinated bean sprout. It has a light flavor and it goes perfectly with Kalbi and rice! Check out THIS recipe if you want to try it!

Get The Kids In The Kitchen

When I know that the kids are going to love a recipe, I am always excited to find a way to get them involved. We put these short ribs on the BBQ, so the only part that they could help out with was making the marinade. 

They were able to measure the ingredients and mix them up. I also had them pour the marinade over the short ribs. They were excited to help and in the end they loved the dinner! 

picture of the kids eating kalbi

The whole family kept saying “I’m full but I can’t stop eating!” Now, that is a compliment if I ever heard one! 

This is definitely a winner!

Is Kalbi Healthy? 

I would not consider traditional Kalbi to be healthy since it is high in sugar. However, in this recipe we replaced the sugar with honey. 

picture of kalbi

This recipe is clean eating compliant and delicious! If you are gluten free, just switch out the soy sauce for coconut liquid aminos. You won’t notice a difference in flavor. The Kalbi you buy is likely not gluten free! 


As always, grab the kids and get them involved! Here are just a few things they could learn from making this recipe with you! 

  • How to peel and chop garlic
  • How to measure wet ingredients
  • How to marinate meat
  • How to Grill (though they may need to just watch)

Looking for an online cooking class designed to teach kids real kitchen techniques? Check out our Apricot Kids course. Click HERE for the Deets!

5 from 3 votes

Kalbi Short Ribs

Kalbi short ribs are perfect for the grill! Have the kids mix up the marinade and get outside to enjoy the sunshine!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Korean
Keyword clean eating recipes, healthy kalbi recipe, kalbi Short Ribs, kid friendly recipe
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 394 kcal


  • 2 Pounds Short Ribs
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce or Liquid Aminos
  • 1/4 Cup Green Onions thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 Teaspoon Ginger minced or grated


  1. Place the short ribs in a large bowl

  2. In a small bowl, combine the Soy Sauce, Green Onions, Honey, Sesame Oil, Garlic and Ginger. Mix well, until the honey is dissolved

  3. Pour the marinade over the short ribs.

  4. Cover the short ribs and let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Overnight is best.

  5. Heat the grill. Place the short ribs on the grill and cook until done. About 3-4 minutes per side. Keep a close eye on it so the fat doesn't flare up and burn the meat

  6. Remove from the grill. Serve and enjoy!

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Erika July 23, 2019 - 12:22 am

5 stars
Oh my, this looks so good. I know my family would love it.

NaturalDeets July 23, 2019 - 4:12 pm

We have even had picky eaters over who loved these! 🙂

Angela Greven | Mean Green Chef July 23, 2019 - 9:43 am

5 stars
Beautiful and simple recipe, these look so mouth-watering! I’m anxious to talk with my butcher to get my hands on this cut! 🙂

NaturalDeets July 23, 2019 - 4:11 pm

Thanks! This is definitely one of our favorite grilling recipes!

Beth July 23, 2019 - 1:15 pm

5 stars
These look so flavorful, yet to simple to prepare, and I enjoyed the video. We don’t have a grill yet, but whenever I see a recipe like this one, I think it might be about time. I’m wondering if you can buy Kal Bi ribs already cut or if you have to ask for them to be custom-sliced?

NaturalDeets July 23, 2019 - 4:11 pm

If you see a good deal on a grill, I’d say get it! 🙂 We use ours every weekend, rain or shine! You can buy Kalbi from the butcher, but sometimes we see it in the store. It usually shows up in the summer and I always grab a pack when I see them.

Kari July 29, 2019 - 1:40 pm

I didn’t realize how easy Kalbi is to prepare! We are definitely going to try this!

NaturalDeets July 30, 2019 - 2:53 am

The hardest part is remembering to make it ahead of time! 🙂 I would love to hear what you think!


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