Episode 102: East Meets West

Lone Star Kalbi

Lone Star Kalbi

Other Recipes from Planet Barbecue Episode 102: East Meets West

Travel the world’s barbecue trail and you’ll find beef ribs on every continent. Here in North America, we cut them so big, you need all day to cook them and two hands to hold them. Koreans have devised an ingenious method for butterflying beef ribs so you can grill them in minutes and eat them with chopsticks. Get ready for an East West mashup: Lone Star kalbi.

Note: Don’t be intimidated by this recipe—it’s really just a series of simple steps. You can find the special ingredients (like kimchi—Korean pickles—and hot bean paste) at Korean and Asian markets and many natural foods stores.

Method: Direct Grilling
Serves: 4


Lone Star Kalbi


  • 3 pounds beef short ribs, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Onion powder
  • Dried oregano
  • Sesame oil for drizzling and basting

For the dipping sauce:

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup cane syrup or dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno chile, thinly sliced

For serving:

  • 3 poblano chiles
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed
  • 1 European cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 8 small flour tortillas
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter

Recipe Steps

1: Butterfly the short ribs, leaving the bone attached. Score the top and bottom of the resulting rectangle of meat in a diamond pattern. Spread out on a baking sheet. Season the meat on both sides with salt, pepper, onion powder, and oregano. Drizzle with sesame oil, patting the seasonings into the meat with the flat of a fork. Let marinate while you prepare the dipping sauce and garnishes.

2: Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce: Place the soy sauce, bourbon, cane syrup, and sesame oil in a mixing bowl and whisk to mix. Whisk in the pepper, ginger, scallion, and jalapeno. Divide this mixture between 4 small bowls for serving and dipping.

3: Set up your grill for direct grilling and heat to high. Brush and oil the grill grate.

4: Grill the poblanos until charred on all sides, 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut the poblanos into strips, discarding the stems and seeds.

5: Lightly brush the scallions with sesame oil and season with salt. Grill until browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces.

6: Arrange the poblano strips, scallions, and cucumbers on a platter.

7: Lightly brush the tortillas on both sides with sesame oil. Warm on the grill, then transfer to a cloth-lined basket. Keep covered and warm until serving.

8: Just before serving, grill the beef short ribs until sizzling and browned, 2 minutes per side. (In the best of all worlds, you’ll be using a charcoal burning hibachi.) Transfer to a hot platter and cut off the bones.

9: To eat, have each guest take a tortilla. Top with grilled beef, poblano pepper strips, grilled scallions, and cucumbers. Roll it up into a sort of taco. Dip it in the bowl of dipping sauce and get ready for some of the tastiest—and healthiest—barbecue on the planet. Don’t forget to gnaw the bones!

NOTE: To Butterfly Short Ribs:

  1. Have the butcher cut the short ribs into 3-inch lengths.
  2. Position one piece of short rib at the lower right corner of a cutting board with the cut side facing you and the thick meaty part of the rib on top. (Reverse directions if you’re left-handed.)
  3. Using a small sharp knife, holding the blade parallel to the cutting board and working from right to left, slide the knife through the meat along the top of the bone, almost to the left edge to free it. Don’t cut all the way through; you want to leave the meat attached to the bone. Fold the meat flap over to the left to make a flat rectangle of meat attached to the bone.
  4. Now, holding your knife parallel to the cutting board, make another cut through the meat two-thirds of the way down, again almost to the left edge, and open this flap up, too. You’ll have a strip of meat with a left half twice as thick as the right.
  5. Make a final cut through that thicker section on the left, this time through the center, to but not through the left edge. Again, the knife should be parallel to the cutting board. Open up this last flap of meat. You should wind up with a very thin strip of meat 4 to 5 inches long and about 2 inches wide, with the bone attached at the right side.
  6. The last step is to tenderize the meat. Place the strip of meat flat on the cutting board and score it slightly by tapping it with the back of a heavy knife on the diagonal–first in one direction, then in the other–to make a crosshatch pattern.
  7. This sounds a good deal more complicated than it really is. Cutting and unfolding the beef is quite similar to unrolling a flattened roll of paper towels.

Recipe Tips

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