Kalbi Marinade

Now that summer’s finally deigned to arrive, it’s time to break out the grills, smokers and hibachis and make ready with the tongs — it’s grilling season!

kalbi salmonWe can all appreciate how grilling brings out the natural flavor of any meat, seafood, poultry, vegetable or fruit, but there’s nothing wrong with enhancing that natural goodness with a great marinade either. My favorite is the amazingly versatile Kalbi.

Galbi or kalbi generally refers to a variety of gui or grilled dishes in Korean cuisine that is made with marinated beef short ribs in a ganjang-based sauce (Korean soy sauce). In Korean language, galbi literally means “rib” and can often indicate uncooked ribs.kalbi tuna martini

Kalbi gives meat a delicious sweet soy flavor and an amazing tenderness; the optional red pepper flakes add a little fire. In addition to the traditional ribs, I’ve found this oh-so-addicting marinade to be quite wonderful with flank steak, pork tenderloin, chicken, salmon, sea scallops and shrimp/vegetable kebabs. It also works wonderfully well to marinate some sushi-grade tuna in it and then serve chopped into a martini glass over a little shredded lettuce, sliced avocado and shrimp.

Being stuck indoors for the winter provided ample opportunity to experiment with ways to use this marinade beyond grilling. My latest experiment was Kalbi jerky – I marinated a flank steak overnight then sliced it cross-grain, removing as much fat as I could, and placed the pieces in my dehydrator for 16 hours – it turned out astonishingly delicious.kalbi jerky

Marinade ingredients

2/3 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons raw sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Intended for 1 pound of meat, this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. Whisk all of the ingredients together and marinate the meat in a covered, flat dish. Marinate meat for 12 hours or overnight, seafood only needs to be marinated for 2 hours. Drain and discard any remaining liquid before grilling or broiling your meat or fish.

Note: if you add the optional red pepper flakes, the longer you marinate, the more kick it will have. If you make the jerky, it should keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, although in our house the entire batch was consumed within two days!

What’s your favorite marinade for grilling?


If you make this recipe, snap a pic of your dish and hashtag it #kellylenihancooks. I'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

NOTE: All images and text on this website are protected by copyright. Please do not post or republish this recipe and/or images without written permission from Kelly Lenihan. If you want to share this recipe, please share the link rather than the whole recipe.

1 thought on “Kalbi Marinade”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *