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Recipe: Fleisher's short ribs of beef, Korean style

Here's a recipe from "The Butcher's Guide to Well-Raised Meat," featured in today's Buffalo News. The Applestones take an old-world cut and add hip Korean flavors.

Flanken, Fleisher’s Style
Serves 4

(From The Butcher's Guide to Well-Raised Meat, by Joshua and Jessica Applestone and Alexandra Zissu, Clarkson Potter, $27.50)

We marinate very few things at the shop; we don’t want to overmarinate and lose the true flavor of the meat. We prefer that our customers do it themselves. Flanken (or short ribs cut Korean barbecue style) is one of the few exceptions. It takes well to marinating, so you can leave the ribs in the marinade for up to 12 hours without losing that big, beefy taste.

Flanken has a funny place in our hearts. It appeals to both our Jewish sides and our foodie natures. Most older balabustas, or Jewish housewives, know flanken (a Yiddish term for flank, or side) as a flavorful, inexpensive cut to be braised. A good Jewish cook didn’t dare serve borscht without a good chunk of flanken in it to add that earthy, rich feel.

For years we were traumatized by this cut; older Jewish women would walk into our store and order flanken. We would say, “Short ribs, right?” and get berated. Sometimes we would be able to convince them that we were talking about the same thing. It’s the same bones, but a different cut—flanken is cut horizontally across the rib plate so that you get long, thin pieces of meat studded with many ribs.

More recently foodies have been ordering this cut and grilling it Korean style. They call it kalbi. Given the choice between borscht (which, according to my grandmother’s recipe, is meat cooked until it is tasteless accompanied by mushy beets) and kalbi, I go Korean every time.

4 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1-inch-long) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup mirin
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons toasted Asian sesame oil
1 tablespoon Asian chili sauce, such as
Thai Sriracha or Korean gochujang
3 pounds flanken, cut 1 inch thick,
2 to 3 ribs across
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 head butter lettuce (optional)
¼ cup coarsely chopped scallions (white and green parts)

Put the garlic to taste, ginger, soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, canola oil, maple syrup, sesame oil, and chili sauce in a bowl and mix well. Pour the marinade into a thick, sealable bag, place the flanken in the bag, and marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to 12 hours in the refrigerator.

Heat a grill to high. Oil the grill grates. Remove the meat from the marinade and put it on the grill; reserve the marinade. Grill the meat until done, about 3 minutes on each side. Be careful not to burn the ribs; the high sugar content of the marinade makes them char easily.

Transfer the ribs to a platter and set aside. Pour the reserved marinade into a saucepan set over high heat. Bring it to a boil and cook until it becomes thick and syrupy.

To serve, drizzle the flanken with the reduced marinade and sprinkle with the cilantro, sesame seeds, and salt. To eat, pull the meat off the bones, wrap it in lettuce leaves if using, and sprinkle with scallions.

 

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