Kalbi (Korean BBQ Shortribs)


August 7: National Barbecue Day

Kalbi is king when it comes to Islander’s favorite Korean barbecue short ribs! Her Daddy would make his own marinade and cook kalbi on a little, portable charcoal hibachi in the backyard or at the beach for the family (he has a big gas grill now at home). He often helps party hosts barbecue short ribs as well, which are included in the menu of a generous spread at friends’ local-style gatherings held in their garages and carports. Islander also orders kalbi at Korean and Hawaiian barbecue or grill types of restaurants (Yummy Korean BBQ, Loco Moco, L&L Drive-Inn, etc.) for quick cheap eats. She even admits to using a bottled sauce and packaged seasoning mix (Noh of Hawaii brand) whenever she and Highlander would barbecue kalbi at home on the mainland. But now she has gone back to her childhood basics and sought the traditional tastes from the marinade her Daddy used on his barbecue short ribs.  With minor tweaks to sweeten the sauce, our kalbi can be considered as a crown contender among common burgers and hot dogs when commemorating National Barbecue Day!


(Inspired by Daddy)


  • 3 pounds flanken beef short ribs, about ½ inch thick
  • ¼ cup soy sauce (we used Aloha Shoyu brand)
  • ¾ cup lemon-lime soda (we used 7-Up)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1-inch piece ginger, crushed or grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 5 green onion stalks, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds


Rinse the meat and pat dry with paper towels. Lightly score the meat with a sharp knife.  Make the marinade by mixing in a large bowl the soy sauce, lemon-lime soda, honey, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, green onions, black pepper and sesame seeds.


Dip the meat in the marinade, coating well. Cover and refrigerate at least overnight. Barbecue the meat to desired wellness, at least five minutes per side. Baste with marinade frequently. Serve on a platter atop shredded leafy greens. Sprinkle with extra chopped green onions or sesame seeds as a garnish.



  • We marinate our meat for 2-3 days to get the most flavor from the sauce.
  • Although the words “barbecuing” and “grilling” have been used interchangeably, technically the former cooking technique is a slower method with lower heat whereas the latter is quicker with higher heat. Click here for a more detailed description of “barbecuing” vs. “grilling.”
  • National Barbecue Day is observed by Americans on July 4 and by Canadians on August 7. Since we already posted barbecue recipes on the U.S. Independence Day, we are featuring kalbi on the Canada BBQ date. Highlander is Canadian and Islander is American.