Paleo Korean BBQ Short-Ribs {Kalbi} (Whole30, Keto)

4 minute read

Savory, slightly sweet, rich Korean short ribs are what you have been missing this whole time! You don’t have to go out to get these decadent mouthwatering ribs anymore! The most difficult part about these ribs is waiting for them to marinate properly, but other than that, they are so easy and so delicious!

As I child I was not a huge beef eater.  I loved all things poultry and fish, but beef?  Just wasn’t my thing, however, when it came to kalbi, the gloves came off! I just loved when my mom would make these savory ribs and I think I overcompensated and ate more than my fair share when she did!  These ribs taste almost exactly like my mom’s soy-sauce marinated ones but with whole food, soy free ingredients.  Get the grill ready and make some of these Korean style ribs and you can thank me later!

Why Beef is So Good For You!

Let’s first talk about why I prefer grass-fed beef over grass-finished and industrial beef.  In their natural habitat, cows eat grass and small amounts of grain when the grass is seeding [1]. This provides the cow all the nutrients it needs to healthy, and we want to eat healthy animals.  When cow are fed a lot of grain, like in industrial beef, the food source is not the natural source of food for the cows and it lacks the nutrients the cow needs to stay healthy, thus creating a less nutritious beef.

Additionally, because grass-fed cows are eating what they are supposed to be eating, the beef they produce is the most nutrient dense and has the omega-3’s that are supposed to naturally be in the beef.  Due to the lack of nutrients in industrial beef, it does not contain the omega-3’s thus creating a nutrient deficient beef.

Grass-fed beef is not necessarily the same as grass-finished beef, so make sure you ask your butcher or the farm you source your beef from to clarify.  Ideally you want beef sourced from an animal that grazed on grass its entire life, however there are farms that grain-feed most of the life and then “finish” on grass, or even grass feed most of the life and “grain-finish” to fatten the animal up in the last few months.  As mentioned before, 100% grass-fed beef is the most nutrient dense beef and is my preferred choice when eating ground beef, steak, or using bones for broth.

Grass-fed beef is loaded with nutrients such as protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. 

  • Protein is an essential nutrient and beef is a complete source of all essential amino acids you need.  Amino acids are the building blocks to the proteins in your body, including collagen, and they are necessary in cellular health and repair.
  • Over one third of the fat found in beef is oleic acid, the same monounsaturated fat that is also found in avocado oil and extra virgin olive oil.  Oleic acid supports brain and nervous system function and support healthy blood sugar regulation [2].
  • Vitamins: B3 (niacin: support healthy blood fat levels and blood sugars ), B6 (supports a healthy immune system), B12 (essential vitamin necessary in red blood cell formation.)
  • Minerals:
  • Iron: Heme iron that is easily absorbed and is necessary in the formation of hemoglobin.
  • Phosphorus: Supports healthy teeth and bones, muscle recovery after working out, and detoxification.
  • Selenium: Supports thyroid health [3] and supports your immune system.
  • Zinc: Essential in digestion, thyroid health, and a healthy immune system.

So grab some 100% grass-fed beef and let’s get cooking!

Paleo Korean BBQ Short-Ribs (Kalbi) Ingredients

Serves 6-8

2-3 lbs Flanken Short Ribs, cut 1/4″ thick*

1 cup Coconut Aminos

2 Tbsp Pure Sesame Seed Oil

1/4 cup Fish Sauce

1 bunch Green Onions, julienned

1 tsp Ground Black Pepper

4 cloves Garlic, finely minced

1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar

1 Tbsp Sesame seeds (opt)

*This type of cut is not commonly found outside of a Korean market, I usually ask my local grocer a few days ahead to cut the ribs flanken style for me for this dish. I would recommend no thicker than 1/4″ thick as this cut of beef can be very tough when cut too thick and since it is quickly cooked on the grill, the thinner the better.

How to Make Paleo Korean BBQ Short-Ribs (Kalbi)

1.  In a large bowl combine all the marinade ingredients, stir well to combine.

2.   Add the short ribs and submerge them in the marinade pressing them down to ensure they are covered as much as possible.

3.  Cover and refrigerate at least 12-hours up to 48 -hours, flipping the short ribs 1-2 times (bring the bottom ribs to the top and layer the tops ribs to the bottom) to ensure even marination.

4.  Preheat your grill to 450 degrees.

5.  Remove the short ribs from the marinade allowing the excess to dip off, there is not need to dab dry,  set on the grill, and cover.

6.  Grill each side of the short rib for 2-3 minutes per side until cooked to preferred doneness. 

Remove and enjoy!

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Q: Why are my short ribs tough?

A: Short ribs are a tough cut of beef and are naturally tough.  Be sure to ask the butcher to slice them really thin since they don’t cook for a long period of time.

Q: Can I use traditional English-cut style ribs for this?

A: No, that style of cut is perfect for braising, low and slow, not fast and high heat.  Be sure to get flanken style.

Q: Why didn’t my ribs caramelize?

A: It sounds like your grill wasn’t hot enough or the temperature didn’t stay high enough while searing.  Try increasing the temperature of the grill and leaving the ribs for the full 2-3 minutes per side.

If you like this recipe, check these out!

Paleo Korean Flank Steak: Tender and juicy flank steak marinated in a Korean bulgogi style marinade is the perfect dinner when you are craving something special.

Quick Korean Cucumber Kimchi: This quick Korean cucumber kimchi is a perfect combination of spice, tanginess, and umami!

Simple Asian Slaw:  I love everything about this dish from the perfectly marinated veggies that are perfectly crisp, to the delicious umami dressing that has me always going in for more! 

I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does. – Amy

Note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links to the products and kitchen gear I love. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting Almond Milk and Cookies!


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Welcome to Almond Milk and Cookies where good food, health and lots of flavor go hand-in-hand!

I am a holistic nutritionist with an auto-immune disorder, a love of cooking, and a passion for holistic health.

Sharing what I make and eat with all of you…in hopes that you find inspiration here to fuel your body and feel your best with nutrient dense whole foods and clean eating.

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