Beef Curtains

…One time, long, long ago, a male friend of mine referred to a date’s…er…hoo-ha….as “beef curtains”. This has forever been engraved into my mind, and I STILL cannot write or say the word “beef” without thinking of it. And seriously, I haven’t seen many girl’s hoo-ha’s, but I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t look like BEEFY CURTAINS.

Which is my disgusting segue into talking about one of my favorite meals I have ever cooked, last night’s korean beef Kalbi with stir-fried wok veggies and scallops:

Ok so I’m not the prettiest plater….I actually am on an extensive wait-list for a “basic knife skills” and “meal presentation” class here in nyc, but trust me when I say I have never really made anything as tasty and simple as this sweet and garlicy beef.

Beef Kalbi:


  • 5 pounds Korean style beef short ribs
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup mirin (asian markets all have this, sometimes even “ethnic” grocery store aisles, google for photo of bottle)
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 small asian pear, peeled and finely grated (**I didn’t have a pear but oh well)
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic (I used 8 or 9 garlic cloves in mine because I’m a garlic freak)
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)

I had 8 thin slices of flanken (this slice of beef is usually called this in asian markets and grocery stores), which is certainly not 5 pounds of beef. I had way too much marinade but trust me, make it all…it’s just more juice for the beef to absorb, thus making it mind-blowingly tasty.

You probably won’t need the entire cup, but use the brown sugar to evenly coat the flanken. Seriously. Rub the brown sugar all over it like you are feeling up some hot body. Get in there:


Let this sit for 10 or 15 minutes while you make the marinade, which is literally just mixing all the remaining ingredients together. You can put the green onion in the marinade if you wish, but it’s prettier to garnish with it…although I forgot to in the end.

After 15 minutes, your beef should be a nice, deep red from absorbing the brown sugar (that’s what she said). By the way, I used regular golden brown sugar for this but let me know if you use dark…wondering if that’s delicious as well. Anyhoo, moving on…

I recommend you now put the beef into a big ziplock freezer bag and poor the marinade in. I didn’t do it because I wanted to take pretty photos and ziplocks create a disgusting, sticky mess. At least when I use em. I poured it over, covered it, and let it sit in the fridge for an almost 2 hours…


If you don’t have that kind of time, really, 1.5 hours or so is pretty amazing. I’m sure overnight would just be skeet-worthy.

Do do do, la la laaaaa, a few hours pass, take it out and GRILL THAT SHIT! I was too lazy to go down and use the bbq, so I used a pancake griddle. Don’t judge me!


Ugh. Posting this makes me sad I didn’t really buy 5 pounds of beef to munch on throughout my day. This was that good. Put a tablespoon or so of olive oil on the pan to evenly coat, then let it get nice and hot on medium high heat….closer to high.

Toss the strips on (careful of your fingers in the oil! it should crackle) and watch closely. It should only take 2 minutes each side, and it’s much better to take it off too early than it is to leave it on too long. Make sure it’s hot enough to get it nice and dark brown (i like almost a black, crusty deliciousness of brownsugaryness) and take it off when it’s to your liking. I know I say that a lot, but I love recipes where it really only relies on how you want it to taste, recipes where you really can’t fail.

You know what? Screw the scallops. They were ok but the kalbi is the real star here. If you must, do as I did and stir-fry some broccoli, sliced shiitake mushrooms and onion by pouring a few tablespoons of olive-oil into a wok (my fav) or sauté pan. Toss some minced garlic in (a few cloves) and let it crackle. Toss the veggies in, squirt some soy sauce in to taste and just keep stirring and tossing until it’s to your liking. Super easy.


Now hurry along, everyone. Start marinating this thing! You can have a delicious dinner by 8pm tonight : screen-shot-2011-06-28-at-2-44-08-pm1