Slow-Cooked Korean-Inspired Short Ribs With Green Onion and Pear Recipe

A cold weather dish modified for warmer temps and summer meals.

A close-up of slow-cooked Korean-inspired short ribs with green onion and pear, plated with white rice on a black oval ceramic dish.

Serious Eats / Julia Estrada

Why This Recipe Works

  • The flavors from a Korean kalbi marinade are transformed into a nuanced pan sauce.
  • Chinese black vinegar lends tang, while brown sugar and apple juice introduce a balanced dimension of sweetness.

Braised short ribs may be one of my favorite comfort foods: Cooked slowly, they become incredibly tender while absorbing all the flavors they're cooked with. Comforting and delicious? Absolutely. But summery? Not really.

So when I crave short ribs in hot-weather season, I find ways to lighten them up. Here, I cook the ribs in braising liquid that's inspired by Korean kalbi marinade, then serve them with white rice and a refreshing garnish of green onion and Asian pear.

Like any braise, properly browning the meat is important, since it helps build the sauce's depth of flavor. I find a mixture of low-sodium soy and ponzu sauces works particularly well for this dish, since even low-sodium versions of the former still pack a punch—one that citrusy ponzu helps to take down a notch. Given the overall sodium content, I don't recommend adding additional salt, even when you brown the meat. Unless you're an extreme salt hound, you'll likely find the dish doesn't require it.

The additional liquids—mirin and apple juice—lend nuance and sweetness, as does the brown sugar that's incorporated into the sauce. Meanwhile, the short ribs get a touch of nuttiness from some toasted sesame oil. A dash of vinegar helps balance the whole thing out. I prefer inky, mellow Chinese black vinegar, which has an intrinsically smoky character. It's generally available in the Asian section of well-stocked grocery stores; however, rice vinegar is an acceptable substitute. Just be sure you use the unseasoned variety.

Once the meat finishes slow-cooking in the oven, I turn the braising liquid into a quick gravy by thickening it with a little of cornstarch. Just be sure to taste the cooking liquid before adding the cornstarch slurry: If it's too concentrated, dilute it with a little water and/or mirin before proceeding.

July 2014

Recipe Details

Slow-Cooked Korean-Inspired Short Ribs With Green Onion and Pear Recipe

Active 30 mins
Total 4 hrs
Serves 4 servings

A cold weather dish modified for warmer temps and summer meals.


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless beef short ribs

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

  • 1/2 cup mirin or sweet sherry, or more as needed

  • 1/4 cup ponzu sauce

  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup apple juice

  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, plus more as needed

  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • Cooked white rice, for serving

  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced, including green parts

  • 1 Asian pear or other just-ripe pear, cored and cut into matchsticks


  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Heat oil in an oven-safe Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering. Season meat generously with pepper, then sear until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes per side.

    Browned beef short ribs inside of a dutch oven.

    Serious Eats / Julia Estrada

  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until browned, about 2 minutes. Add mirin and scrape up any browned bits from bottom of Dutch oven. Add ponzu sauce, soy sauce, apple juice, sesame oil, 1/2 cup water, brown sugar, and vinegar and stir to combine.

    A two-image collage. The top image shows garlic and ginger after being added and then browned inside of the pot with the short ribs. The bottom image shows the dutch oven after the liquid ingredients have been added.

    Serious Eats / Julia Estrada

  3. Bring to a simmer, cover, and transfer to oven. Braise, turning beef once and adding water if necessary to keep it halfway submerged throughout cooking, until beef is fork-tender, about 3 1/2 hours.

    A four-image collage. The top left image shows the beef and sauce coming to a simmer inside of the dutch oven. The top right image shows the beef being turned with a pair of tongs after braising. The bottom left image shows the beef halfway submerged in sauce while cooking. The bottom right image shows the beef being pierced and then twisted with a work, to demonstrate the tenderness of the meat.

    Serious Eats / Julia Estrada

  4. Transfer beef to a platter and skim fat from cooking juices in Dutch oven. Taste cooking juices: If too concentrated, dilute to taste with water and/or mirin. Combine cornstarch with remaining 2 tablespoons water, whisking thoroughly to remove any lumps. Whisk cornstarch slurry into cooking juices, bring to a boil over high heat, and cook until gravy is thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve short ribs over rice, drizzled with gravy and garnished with green onion and pear.

    A four-image collage. The top left image shows the fat being skimmed from the cooking juices inside of the dutch oven, after the beef has been removed. The top right image shows the cornstarch slurry being whisked into the cooking juices in the dutch oven. The bottom left image shows the thickened gravy inside of the dutch oven. The bottom right image shows the beef ribs, now fully cooked, placed on a bed of rice on a serving platter.

    Serious Eats / Julia Estrada

Special Equipment

Dutch oven


The meat will be dark outside, almost black in fact. Don't worry: This doesn't mean it's burned. It's due to the numerous dark components in the dish, such as soy and ponzu sauces, dark brown sugar and black vinegar.

Make Ahead and Storage

The short ribs may be made and refrigerated up to two days in advance. Simply reheat the meat gently in the juices. Do not garnish until right before serving.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
792 Calories
30g Fat
98g Carbs
29g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 792
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 39%
Saturated Fat 11g 53%
Cholesterol 94mg 31%
Sodium 979mg 43%
Total Carbohydrate 98g 36%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Total Sugars 40g
Protein 29g
Vitamin C 31mg 156%
Calcium 79mg 6%
Iron 5mg 30%
Potassium 748mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)