Kalbi jjim

Quick Look_______________

Kalbi jiim is an easy Korean recipe when you want something special for small group. Safeway sells beef short ribs for $2.99 on sale. I went there one time and looked at it. It wasn't too meaty, but it could work. I would suggest using 2 inch cubes of beef chuck when it's on sale as a substitute. Otherwise, it's about $5-$6/lb at Korean markets!
  • Prep time: 10-20 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Labor Intensity: Could do by yourself.
  • 30 servings, adjust by 1.5x if your group tends to eat multiple servings.


  • 20 lbs beef short ribs or chuck (short ribs are $2.99/lb on sale at safeway, I would suggest using beef chuck when it's under $2/lb)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 8 bunches of fresh garlic (about $4 at safeway, much cheaper at Asian markets, don't use pre-peeled)
  • 3 cups soy sauce
  • 8 green onions
  • 1 cup corn syrup (about $2)
  • Total: $ 45-$65


  • Boil a large pot of water
  • Add meat and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Remove meat and drain liquid. Rinse off all the oil and brown, clotted blood.
  • Put the meat back into the pot and add 20 cups (1.25 gallons) water
  • Add 3 cups soy sauce and 1 cup brown sugar and heat on high until boiling, then reduce to gentle simmer.
  • Peel 8 bunches of garlic (it's a lot, I don't mean individual cloves, but bunches of cloves)
  • You can put the side of a knife on top of the garlic and press against the side of the knife to smash the garlic. It's easier to peel that way.
  • Chop the garlic into pieces, you can do coarse or fine cut pieces, just break it up
  • Add garlic to pot
  • Allow to cook at a gentle simmer for 2 hours with no lid. It should be gently bubbling still (the surface should not be still)
  • After 2 hours and when the meat is tender, pour 1/2 of the liquid into another pot and discard the rest. Remove excess oil with serving spoon or ladle. Boil the liquid until it reduces to half of it's original volume on high heat. It should be about 20-30 minutes.
  • If possible, pour liquid into multiple frying pans to increase surface area to speed up reduction.
  • Add chopped green onions and corn syrup to the reduced sauce.
  • Transfer the meat onto the reduced sauce.

Tom's Tips and Tricks_______________

It will be difficult to make this in 1 large pot. I would suggest 2-4 smaller pots to distribute all the food. The beef should be single rib bones about 2 inches long. If it is 2 or 3 bones, cut into 1 bone pieces.
Use fresh garlic. I wrote a post on why it is better than pre-processed garlic. If you use the pre-peeled garlic, use about 50% more. You can also add onions and ginger if you like.
It should be very tender after 2 hours of simmering. If you want it fall-apart-when-you-touch-it tender, let it simmer a bit longer until it reaches desired tenderness. I personally have let it simmer for 5+ hours.
If you cook meat with a gentle simmer, it will be much juicier than if you turn the heat all the way up and cook it for a shorter period. If you are a little below boiling temp, it is much more gentle on the meat and the fibers aren't destroyed so aggressively. Sometimes you can get fully cooked, tender meat that has just a hint of pink in the center (like medium to medium-well). That is actually the best way to cook the beef.
The way I like to do the last steps is to pour the liquid out to a few large pans/skillets and boil it until it reaches half volume. Using 3-4 burners will speed up the process. It should still be liquidy, but not watery. Check flavor. It shouldn't be too concentrated. I then pour this into the large pot and stir it around. I like slightly concentrated flavors in the sauce as opposed to the watery ones that naturally form.
[Possible side dish] rice and any Korean side dish...kimchi?


from Davis said…
Thanks for this recipe! I used beef roast chuck and it turned out fine. It made a big difference for the beef chuck to leave it in for 5 hours-- when I checked the meat at two hours, it was a little tough. I only had "American" corn syrup for baking, but I think it was okay, since the recipe didn't call for too much.

Thanks again for the recipe. It was really easy to follow.

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