An unfortunate fact of life is that we don't get to choose the places where our culture goes. Yes, The Last Samurai was played by a Scientologist from Syracuse. No, we don't ride horses to school. And call it blasphemous, but "Gangnam Style" was a meme that should never have happened.
It's through this lens that I view galbi, Korean for short ribs. The majority of Korean short ribs (don’t quote me on this) are cooked on an open flame. Those thin, cross-cut slices of ribs, marinated in a blend of soy-saucey-garlicky-sweet, head towards the gas or coals to be cooked and crisped. This trend has caught on in the U.S., with most Korean restaurants sporting some kind of barbecue grill at their tables.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s delicious, especially the all-you-can-eat kind. But personally, I'm partial to short ribs cooked in a slow cooker. This is the stuff I learned in college: Grab your crock pot. Set it. Forget it for about eight hours. And then you eat it.
4 pounds short ribs (the thick kind, drained of blood)
- 2 cups soy sauce
- 1/4 cups fresh ginger
- 1 onion
- ¼ cup garlic
- 1 Korean pear, destemmed and peeled
- ½ cup mirin (sweetened sake)
- ½ cup Sunny D (no, really)
- 2 tablespoons rosemary
- 1 tablespoons thyme
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 2 carrots, cut thick
- 2 bunches of scallions, roughly chopped
- 2 bunches of shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
- cilantro, to taste
- ½ pack of cylindrical rice cakes (find them at H-Mart)
- Sesame seeds
- Blend the sauce ingredients until smooth. Marinade the meat overnight. Save the sauce, but pat the meat dry before you cook.
- Melt butter in pan and sear the meat until it's achieved a uniform brown.
- Add the veggies (besides cilantro and mushrooms) in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Put everything in the slow cooker, including the marinade. Set it on low for 8 hours.
- Four hours later, add the mushrooms and rice cakes.
- When ready, finish with sesame seeds and cilantro.