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Hey lookit everybody! It’s a special Vikings bye week edition of Sunday Gravy. Bonus! I’ve been enjoying the Tailgate Time write-ups because it usually means I’m cooking something less labor intensive but I was kind of missing doing the Sunday Gravy features. Now that the Vikings have their bye week, after four fucking weeks dammit, I thought I would drop an in season special recipe post. For anyone who is looking for a Vikings game preview, sure I’m delusional, I did a bye week recap earlier in case you missed it.
This recipe right here is a beauty and it actually comes to you today as a simple twist of fate, kismet you may say. I had originally planned on bringing you an entirely different recipe (keep your eye out for braised short ribs in the future) but due to the butcher counter at my store being inept? Incompetent? Clairvoyant? All they had was the thin cut beef flank short ribs. I originally puzzled and puzzled on what to do with these. I even went so far as buying all of the braised short rib ingredients, none of which will make it into today’s recipe. Then late last night after much alcohol consumption it dawned on me, it was a goddamn epiphany I tell ya! Kalbi style ribs! I have made these many times in the past and hot diggity damn are they delicious. I had my mind and heart so set on braising some short ribs that I completely forget the pure unadulterated awesomeness of these grilled Korean style ribs. Not to mention it’s the middle of freaking October and it’s fucking 95 degrees out there. I ain’t turning the oven on and slow braising shit!
My history with this dish comes about in an unusual way. A couple of jobs ago I was production manager in a 24/7 full blown computer production type environment with over 60 employees. Under my employ was a Vietnamese family. Almost the entire family worked for me. Dad was a driver, the daughter was a billing coordinator and two of the sons worked in operations. Only the mom and a younger brother weren’t employed by me. These people are some of the warmest, kindest, most wonderful folks I have ever met in my life. The mother was a tremendous cook. My entire family was “adopted” by this family. Both of my daughters were in the wedding when their daughter got married to another one of my employees. We were also invited to parties/barbecues at their house every couple of months and let me tell you something, these folks can flat out throw a party. It was spending time with these folks that I learned about the Vietnamese culture and it’s many diverse roots. I learned about the strong French influence (owing to French occupation when it was known as Indochina) on both the food and the overall culture. If you wondered where the Bánh mì came from since you won’t find bread in pretty much any other Asian cuisine it’s because of the French baguette. The mother of this family made a ridiculously delicious batch of ragout as well as spring rolls, lettuce wraps, Vietnamese noodles and an amazing pho. They also grilled kalbi ribs which may seem odd since kalbi ribs are generally thought of as being a Korean dish but they didn’t care since these things are goddamn delicious. When we went to these parties it was most fortuitous that my (now ex) wife didn’t drink and was the designated driver because sweet Jesus could these people drink. I couldn’t set down an empty beer bottle without another one being put in my hand and they loved cognac. At the daughters wedding which was insanely elaborate involving a Catholic, for the groom and a Vietnamese, for the daughter, service they had a couple of hundred guests. The reception must have cost a fucking fortune. There were probably 30 tables of 8 per table and there was a bottle of Courvoisier on each table. The father drank a toast at EVERY FUCKING TABLE! Seriously, he probably did 30 shots of cognac at the wedding. I don’t remember the drive home and I’m pretty sure my wife left me in the car in our driveway until I staggered out of it in the morning. Fun times!
Here we go!
Korean Barbecue Kalbi Style Ribs:
Couple two-three pounds of beef short ribs cut to kalbi style. Your butcher can do this and you can find them pre-cut at Korean/Asian markets.
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 teaspoons of sesame oil
5 cloves of minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon of sake
some grinds of black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flake
Juice of 1/2 kiwi – really. It acts as a tenderizer. Can be made with some lemon or lime juice as well.
Rub the brown sugar on both sides of the ribs. Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, sake, pepper and red pepper flake in a bowl and mix well. If you are using the kiwi, massage the kiwi juice into the ribs and place the ribs into a one gallon zip top freezer bag. Add the marinade and refrigerate for two hours. Important safety tip! If you are using the kiwi you don’t want it to marinate longer than 2 or so hours as the beef will break down to a ridiculous level making the ribs stupid tender but difficult to grill. If you are not using the kiwi you can just use the rest of the ingredients and marinate over night.
Start up your charcoal grill and get ready for a quick grilling session. These will only cook a few minutes per side and you want to keep a close eye on them. The brown sugar and the marinade will give these a beautiful caramelization that can quickly turn into an ass-ugly burn if you don’t pay attention. Cook in batches if needed and cover the cooked ribs with foil until all of the ribs are cooked.
Today we are going to be serving these with teriyaki Asian style rice noodles. I would love to impart this recipe on you but it’s my brother’s recipe and while he would share, I feel like it would be cheating because I didn’t actually make it.
What I will give you is a handy idea for starting a charcoal grill without using lighter fluid.
Take a cardboard type egg carton, rip off the top and we are going to use each little egg cup as a fire starter, shred up a little of the top part of the carton and put the little shredded pieces into the egg cups, take some melted candle wax and put on top of the shredded bits, repeat until each egg cup is about 1/2 to 2/3 full. If the wax was solid when you started, you can put the whole contraption in the microwave for about 45 seconds just to melt some of the wax. After the wax is melted if the egg carton is too hot, place in the freezer for a few minutes to set. If you used all 12 of the egg cups you have a fire starter for your next twelve grilling sessions. For proper use, tear off one of the egg cup/fire starters and take it to the grill. Build a little mound of charcoal with a space for the fire starter in the middle. Light the fire starter and build some charcoal up around it while it is burning. Let it catch a couple of coals and add as much additional charcoal as needed on top of the smoldering coals. It may take a time or two to figure out the details and it will take a couple of extra minutes to grill but I have been starting my coals this way for the past 25 years and I sure as fuck don’t miss the gasoline taste of charcoal lighter fluid in my food.
The best part about your team being on a bye week is you can relax, there’s no game day stress and you can enjoy the games for the games themselves. Pour up a bunch of frosty cold beverages and grill things.
You don’t want to get too drunk though because according to Proverbs 20:1
To which I humbly reply:
Hope you all have a good football Sunday and may all of your two-team parlays pay off.