Galbi, or Korean short ribs, is one of the most loved and popular Korean dishes both inside and outside Korea. Since galbi literally means ribs in Korean, flank steak galbi is actually an oxymoron! But with short ribs hard to come by during the pandemic, and hungry boys dying for some old fashioned galbi, I decided to give the humble flank steak a try.
The flank steak cut is located very close to the short rib area and a flank steak galbi recipe on the PBS website looked very promising. I love Hyosun Ro’s galbi marinade and had most of the ingredients so I decided to use this tried and true marinade on my flank steak. I probably also saved a bundle since short ribs are quite a bit pricier than its neighboring flank/flap.
Galbi tastes so much better when tenderized and flavored with Korean pears but pantry cooking calls for making do with what we have and our pandemic galbi had to go without. The grated onions is key so try not to skip that step.
Normally galbi is best when the marinade is allowed to sit for at least 6 hours (best overnight), but hungry boys prevailed and our galbi was well seasoned even at the 3 hour mark.
It’s best to grill LA galbi over charcoal or wood charcoal (sootbul, 숯불), but a gas grill or a grill pan over the stove top works well too. You can also broil galbi in the oven but make sure you have good ventilation.
Don’t let the pandemic stop you from making delicious galbi! With a steaming bowl of rice and some lettuce and ssamjang, flank or flap steak will substitute just fine.
Flap Steak Galbi (Adapted from Korean Bapsang)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinating: 3 hours to overnight
Total Time: 20 minutes
- 2-3 pounds flank or flap steak
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 cup rice wine or mirin
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1/2 Korean/Asian pear grated
- 1/2 medium onion grated
- 3 scallions thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds
- 1 scallion
- Pound the meat lightly with a meat tenderizer, or stretch it out with your hands. This step helps tenderize the meat, but you can skip it if you want.
- Cut the steak into 3 inch strips.
For the marinade:
- Mix all marinade ingredients well. Marinate the meat for 6 – 8 hours (overnight for best results). The thicker the meat, the longer you’ll want to marinate.
- Preheat the grill over medium-high heat. Grill the short ribs, turning only once, 5 – 6 minutes on each side. It’s best to grill over charcoal or wood charcoal (soot bul), but a gas grill or a grill pan over the stove top works well too. (See note for the oven broiling method.)
- Remove the steak from the heat and place on a plate. Tent the plate with aluminum foil to allow the steak to rest for 5 minutes before cutting.
- Cut the steak into thin strips against the grain.
- Garnish with the roasted sesame seeds and green onions.
To broil galbi in the oven, set the oven to broil and preheat. Lay the meat in a single layer on a broiling pan and place it on the top rack of the oven, usually about 6 inches below the broiler. Cook until the beef until slightly charred and caramelized, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip them over and cook for an additional 3 – 4 minutes. Watch closely not to burn them.