first off, i apologize for no pictures. karena always harps on me for pictures in my posts, but the sad fact is that i have no pictures for the subject below. if you want to see pictures of korean barbeque it is quite easy to run a google search.
i never imagined how difficult my korean food withdrawal would be now that i’m back in the states. sure, i can find it in northern virginia, but somehow it doesn’t taste the same. maybe some places hold back on the copious panchan. maybe it is because a three-dollar dish in korea becomes an eight-dollar dish here. maybe it is because the cabbage is not grown in the dirt patch between the restaurant and the road. i dont know; there are probably lots of reasons. luckily, i can fall back on the teachings of my subcontractors to get me through the serious cravings.
you see, towards the end of my tdy at one base, the weather started getting nicer. so my subs and i decided to start grilling for lunch. we figured that since we humped through 83 inches of snow, negative temperatures, and double-digit wind speeds, we deserved some of the good life. what did we do? we grilled!! i would usually buy some meat the day before and let my guys marinate it over night. then we would find a nice grill overlooking the base and sit down for a nice lunch.
i wish i could describe the mountains of beef and meat products that usually found their way to the table. i remember one day i bought eight packs of hot dogs, seven steaks, about four pounds of short ribs, a box of potato chips, and two packs of soda. that was just from me. my guys brought fish, corn, kimchi, bean sprouts, and soup. looking back on that afternoon, i’m not sure we were too productive. haha. whatever though, that was a delicious day.
i miss those barbeque afternoons, which is one reason i’m glad i had my soju monster scribble down his marinade. my soju monster was a special sub. the other guys didn’t hate working with him, but they didn’t particularly enjoy working with him. he was an old, crusty, former korean marine. crabby. temperamental. bossy. short-tempered. prone to yelling. yes, soju monster was all of those, but we developed a great bond and were able to work together. i quickly learned that i needed to entice him with coffee, cigarettes, and long nights of soju drinking. when he realized i wanted to involve myself in the culture and experience korea, he opened things up for me.
that is a round-about way of me getting to the point of this story. my buddy, tater, and his wife have thrown a couple of grilling events since my return. i want to share my experiences from korea with most people, so i always insist on brining my galbi. it is always a hit, and today was no different. someone said my galbi were the best ribs they’ve ever eaten. right now i’m a little on cloud nine and wanted to share the soju monster’s recipe.
soju monster galbi
five pounds korean-style short ribs (also called l.a. cut)
1 3/4 cups of soy sauce (i use low-sodium)
1/2 can of dark soda (coke/pepsi/etc – use this to tenderize if ribs are a bit tough)
1/4 cup sesame oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
five to six cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
three to four scallions, washed and chopped
one tbsp crushed red pepper flakes (use more or less depending on how spicy you want it)
two or three korean peppers, deseeded and chopped
two tbsp toasted sesame seeds
mix all ingredients in a large bowl. taste and add extra seasoning as needed. place one layer of ribs in 9x13 baking dish. ladle an even amount of sauce over ribs. place another layer of ribs in baking dish. ladle sauce on top. repeat until no ribs and no sauce remains. place in refrigerator for one day. on the second day, remove ribs from refrigerator and reverse order (i.e., place bottom ribs on top and top ribs on the bottom). refrigerate one more night. grill and serve. you can cut between the joints for a more finger-friendly option as some people may not like ribs hanging out of their mouth. serve with many cold bottles of jinro.