Home > Cooking > Cook, Pop, Cook: Galbi Jjim

Cook, Pop, Cook: Galbi Jjim

As a disclaimer, I’ll say this recipe is not for the faint of heart. I normally try to cook healthy recipes for my family; this isn’t one of them. The beef isn’t lean and discarding the fat is a no no. So if you’re not a fan of braised fat or eating meat off the bone we are friends off you’re not going to like this recipe much.

Korean BBQ is pretty popular in most Metropolitan areas, so most people are familiar with galbi – Korean beef short ribs. Served bone-in or cut into cubes, the beef is usually grilled over high heat and results in juicy meat and chewy tendons. Not as many people are familiar with galbi jjim – braised Korean short ribs (jjim is a method of cooking where meat is steamed or boiled). This is because most restaurants don’t serve galbi jjim. In fact, it’s usually a dish reserved for special occasions like weddings. The braising results in meat that is fall-off-the-bone tender and the tendon becomes like butter. So crash a Korean wedding if you’d like to try it. Or just follow my recipe. After all, what occasion is more special than a family dinner? Don’t you love your family enough to make this for them?

Galbi Jjim

To make this recipe, it’s easiest to visit an Asian grocer. If there’s not one near you, you could try to get the short ribs English cut at your grocery store or butcher. The other ingredients are wine, radish, carrots, soy sauce, sugar, and rice vinegar – all of which should be available at your grocer. Some other ingredients people put in are shiitake mushrooms, pine nuts, chestnuts or jujubes.

As vaunted as this dish is, it’s pretty easy to make. The vegetables are chopped into large chunks so you don’t need any knife skills. The beef is stewed so you don’t need to worry about overcooking it or making nice grill marks. The only complication is you need to soak the meat repeatedly, so you’ll have a few large bowls to wash afterward.

Enough talk. Let’s begin.

If you’re in the DMV, and particularly near Silver Spring, go to Korean Korner (Viers Mill & Randolph). Most Koreans in the area know that they have the best meats for Korean food. I’m not sure why; this is just the rumor, and if you know Koreans, rumors are as good as facts. I didn’t have a chance to get out to KK, so I had to settle for an Asian grocer near our home and the beef wasn’t nearly as good.

Typically, you’re looking at $3-$5/lb for English cut ribs. Since it’s served with the vegetables and rice, you can usually plan on 0.5/lb per person; 1+lb/person if you’re feeding ravenous carnivores. This recipe is for 2+lbs of ribs – scale accordingly.

2lbs @ $3.29/lb

Put the beef into a large bowl and soak them in cold water for at least 30 minutes. As I said before, I’m not really sure why Koreans/Asians soak beef–probably to do with getting rid of the blood–but I’m a pretty obedient Korean boy, so when momma says soak the beef, I’m gonna soak the beef.

Goin' for a soak

While that’s soaking, make the marinade: 6TBS rice vinegar, 6TBS of red wine, 4TBS of sugar. Dissolve as much of the sugar as possible.

Rice vinegar, red wine and sugar

Drain the water from the beef. Throw the beef into a bowl–I usually like to use a new bowl for the marinating, but you can reuse the same bowl if you’d like–and pour the marinade over top. Now fill the bowl with water until the beef is fully covered. Give that a soak for 30 minutes.  If you’d like to reduce that time, increase the ingredients in the marinade proportionally and use less water to cover the beef.

Goin' for another soak

As the soakin’ time for the beef comes to an end, it’s time for it to get in the hot tub! Boil a large pot of water, drain the marinade from the beef and throw the meat into the bowling water and boil for 10 minutes. Drain the beef and rinse it in cold water and remove any loose pieces of fat, if you’re so inclined.

If you have a dutch oven–we have a Member’s Mark dutch oven, which was $38–heat it over medium heat; otherwise, use a large pot. Once the dutch oven is hot, put the beef in and sear it.

Searing the beef

While the beef sears, prepare the sauce: 2C water, 5TBS soy sauce, 5TBS red wine, 5 cloves of garlic minced, 2TBS rice vinegar, 2TBS agave nectar (or brown sugar), 1TBS garlic powder, and 1 green onion sliced.

Galbi jjim sauce

After 3 minutes of searing, mix the beef around and sear for another 3 minutes. Then throw in the sauce – don’t worry if the sauce doesn’t fully cover the beef. SIZZLE!

In the hot tub, poppin' bubbly

Put the lid on and let that cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes.

While that’s boiling cut up 1lb of radish and 3-medium carrots. If you’d like, add 1/2 an onion. I usually love cooked/caramelized onions, but they become a little too soggy for me in this dish. I like to add 3 green Korean peppers – you can find them at most Korean grocers and they’re not spicy at all.


Here’s the galbi jjim after 30 minutes.

30 minutes of cooking

Some people like to put the veggies in with 30 minutes left in the cooking time; I like to put them in for at least an hour because the radish and carrots absorb all the flavor. Throw in the veggies – once again, don’t worry if the sauce doesn’t fully cover the ingredients. Mix well.

Everyone in the pool!

Over medium heat, bring that to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for an hour, stirring from time to time.

Halfway through, you can add potatoes or mushrooms if you’d like.

Here’s the galbi jjim after an hour. Poke or try a piece of the beef – if it’s to your liking move on to the next step, otherwise, continue to simmer over low heat.

Almost done...

Give it another mix, turn the heat up and bring it to a boil.

Turn up the heat

Some people like to reduce the sauce all the way – I like to leave some to drink pour over my rice. So typically, I boil it for about 10 minutes. And you’re done!

Easy? Yes. Time-consuming? Yup. Lots of dishes to do? Certainly. Delicious? Absolutely! Galbi jjim is easily one of my favorite foods, and D1 likes it too!


Having been soaking in all the flavor for more than an hour, the veggies end up being delicious.

So hungry!

The meat is delicious and  falls of the bone with little to no effort. Just look how clean the bone is:

So tender

The meat is so tender, that I think you can eat it without teeth. If I ever lose all my teeth, I’ll ask my wife or kids to make me galbi jjim or braised pork belly every day.

Some chewing necessary

*sigh* doing food posts in the morning sure makes me hungry.

Galbi Jjim

So give it a try and let me know what you think! For those that have made galbi jjim before, what else do you put in there?

  1. July 27, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Geez Louise, I’m gonna start sending you the hospital bills I rack up everytime your food posts make me bang my nose! Yum, yum, yum.

    • Pop
      July 27, 2010 at 11:21 am

      Sorry about that PP. Good luck getting a new monitor. 🙂

  2. Sam
    July 27, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Agave nectar and red wine!!!?!?!?!?

    High brow, “healthy” gourmet galbi jjim 😉

    Looks delicious … and it reminds me, I need to sit down with my mom and interrogate her for all her recipes.

    • Pop
      July 27, 2010 at 11:22 am

      That’s right! And you have to eat it with your pinky up.

      I’d buy Mama Ro’s galbi recipe. For serious.

  3. July 27, 2010 at 11:57 am

    I want to come live with you, but there is probably not room with the sweet new baby and all….

    • Pop
      July 27, 2010 at 1:43 pm

      haha. Yeah, sorry, LD. But when she grows out of her crib, you’re welcome to stay in it. 🙂

  4. July 27, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    I’ve noticed you’ve been using agave nectar in place of sugar–is it your preferred sweetener now? I like it a lot too, esp for baking b/c other natural sweeteners (like honey, maple syrup) change the flavor too much but agave is so mild it makes a better substitute for sugar. Anyway, this actually looks really yummy and looking at the bones, I know my dog would love to chomp those down when we were done! I would like to make it but it will probably be a while before I get around to it. I’m focusing on NOT cooking right now…which is kind of strange b/c the heat isn’t keeping me from baking. Just cooking. I guess you can tell which I prefer. 🙂

    • Pop
      July 27, 2010 at 1:45 pm

      Yes! Thank you so much for the recommendation! My mom’s diabetic, so I’ve been trying to see how agave nectar would be with Korean food and so far, the results have been great!

      Haha. Yeah, my wife says the same thing Re: cooking/baking. “It’s too hot to cook” but apparently, not too hot to bake.

  5. July 27, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Grunt, grunt. Meat!! That looks sooo good!!! I like the bad stuff. 🙂

    • Pop
      July 28, 2010 at 9:35 am

      haha~ Me too, Angelia! It’s ok to indulge every now and then. 🙂

  6. July 28, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Ok! I just ate breakfast and now I’m hungry again! lol! That looks reeeeaaaalllllyyy good! My husband would love it. Maybe I’ll try it this weekend. And you said D1 likes it too? If I could get my kids to eat anything other than plain,boring, seperated food, it would be priceless…..and timeless!

    • Pop
      July 28, 2010 at 9:35 am

      Yeah, anytime D1 likes anything besides Cheerios and Mac ‘n Cheese, I’m happy.

  7. July 31, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Love how you include pictures. So often when I’m at recipe I wish I could “see” what it’s supposed to look like at the different stages. Showing this particular one to my husband – he would love to try this!

    • Pop
      August 3, 2010 at 11:26 am

      Totally agree, Kate! I try some recipes I find b/c the final picture looks so amazing, but when I get done cooking, my dish looks nothing like the picture and doesn’t taste very good.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  8. August 3, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Oh, I think we are going to try this one at home. I do not live near a Korean grocery and wonder if country ribs bone-in would be a good substitute for the meat?

    • Pop
      August 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm

      Hi Karyn. At most butcher shops, you should be able to ask for English-cut short ribs (beef not pork). It should be relatively cheap as it’s a pretty tough cut (hence the braising).

  9. yangsc
    September 27, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    i am so making this for dinner after my final

    • Pop
      September 27, 2010 at 12:46 pm

      And I’ll be there to eat it!

  10. Ina
    May 10, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Hey!! Cyrus and I just got a dutch oven and I used maangchi’s recipe to make galbi jjim. Then we decided to look up how other people made it and Googled “galbi jjim dutch oven” and this entry was the second link to come up!!

    The marinade and the searing that you do sounds like something I wanna try next time. Thanks for your recipe!

    • Pop
      May 11, 2011 at 10:26 am

      Nice! Maangchi is fantastic! Now I’m craving some galbi jjimmmmmmmmm.

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