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You Should Bring Korean-Style Short Ribs to Your Next Potluck

Eater Young Gun Jason Chow (’19) wants to save his host oven space and brings grillable meat

A party hat, ribbon, and sparklers fly through the air near a “Party Time” logo.

This is Party Time, a column featuring industry and Young Gun-approved approaches for acing a dinner party. In this installment, some tips to take into consideration when you’re the guest, rather than the host.

Jason Chow (EYG ’19) is hyper-conscious of your oven space. “Most of the time, oven space is very limited, especially during the holiday time,” Chow says about being mindful of potluck party etiquette. “I try not to bring anything that requires an oven.”

But perhaps not surprisingly for the butcher, who has experience with Hawaiian, Chinese, and Filipino cuisine, the better cooking implement to borrow from your host is one that’s outdoors: the grill. “There’s always a grill at big potlucks and family get-togethers,” Chow says. “My go-to if somebody [confirms] that they have a grill is to make kalbi — Korean-style short ribs.”

Chow seasons his ribs with a mixture of soy sauce, brown sugar to add depth of flavor, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil, and if he wants to make it a little spicy, he’ll add gochujang, a Korean red chile paste. He marinates the ribs overnight the day before a party by throwing the mixture in bags, then transporting the bags themselves to the event. “I love Ziploc bags for marinating or brining anything,” Chow says. “A good tip when you’re bringing it to the house is to empty out the marinade before you go. That way you’re not carrying around a bag full of marinade; just in case it pops, it’s not going to go all over your front seat.”

Chow’s special tip for the kalbi is a plug for small butcher shops: He gets flanken-style short ribs cut at about three quarters of an inch. “I find that it’s hard to get at a local grocery store because that’s not the standard size, but if you go to a small butcher shop, they should be able to do that for you,” Chow says. A common cut is called English style, or a two-inch-long single bone typically meant for braising, but Chow says flanken-style short ribs, which have three or four ribs lined up in a row, cut crosswise, will yield a nice chew.

“It feels more meaty to me, more like a steak on a bone, essentially, versus when you cut it thinner,” Chow says. “It has a tendency to burn really fast and then overcook.” Cook the ribs over medium heat for five to seven minutes per side, Chow recommends, and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and green onions. Your host will be glad you got out of the way in the kitchen.

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