Galbitang – Beef Short Rib Soup

It’s that time again to plan out my meals for the week. Galbitang (beef short rib soup) easily became one of our top choices for weekday meals after we made it just once!  This soup is hearty and the meat is soooo tender (falls off the bone for not having to cook too long). If you’re a noodle lover like me, add more dangmyeon (sweet potato starch noodles), otherwise it’s traditionally served with rice. A side of kimchi is perfect as well! The question is how much effort is this of a weekday meal?

Not going to lie there is some prep work involved like most soups but a lot of passive prep and cooking time. Once you get into the routine of making this, it’s one of the easier soups to cook! Just like any other bone broth, it’s necessary to soak the bones in cold water for at least 2 hours (1 hour should work in a pinch) or up to 24 hours to drain out the blood for clean and clear broth. The night before cooking, soak the bones in a covered large pot (same pot you plan to cook in) and leave it in the fridge until you are ready to cook it the next day.

Total cooking time can be up to 2-3 hours, but only 30-40 minutes of that is active cooking. Besides that you just need to check back twice to adjust the heat and serve.  The broth cooks just slightly higher than a simmer for the remaining 1.5-2 hours so you can easily multi-task during that time!

Alternatively, you can cook the soup 1-2 nights before (following steps 1-4), refrigerate the broth in the pot, and then proceed to steps 5 and 6 plus prepare the rice on the serving day.

Another reminder is to buy short rib specifically cut for soup or bone broth, rather than for grilling (i.e., Korean BBQ). A quick way to tell is to look at the bone to meat ratio. There should be more bone and less meat and the price should be less than the cuts meant for KBBQ. H-Mart’s short rib for soup (pictured below) is my favorite cut for this soup. Meat for KBBQ would normally come in several long strips of short rib with three or so bones on one side, and much more meat than bone. There’s nothing wrong with using that, it’s just a lot more expensive (sometimes 2-3x more)!

Makes 2 servings

~3 lb short rib / galbi (for soup)
1lb Korean radish, 1 inch wide thin slices
1 medium onion, halved
2 large scallions, white part only (chop the green part and set aside for topping)
10 garlic cloves
3-5 slices ginger, thin slices
2 Tbsp soup soy sauce (or 1 Tbsp of regular soy sauce; adding more to taste)
1.5 tsp salt (to taste)
1/4 tsp black pepper (to taste)
1-2 tsp garlic, minced (to taste)
70g sweet potato starch noodles (dangmyeon)
1-2c rice
kimchi (optional)

  1. Soak the bones for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours (not necessary but can keep overnight) in a large pot covered and refrigerated.
  2. When you’re ready to start cooking, take the pot out of the fridge, drain the water and rinse the bones.  Add enough fresh water to cover 2 inches above the bones.  Parboil the bones (bring to boil and let it continue boiling for 2-3 minutes). Dump the hot water and rinse the bones again to remove scum and coagulated blood.
  3. Fill the pot with 12-14 cups of fresh water (closer to 12c for 2.5 ~ 3lbs short rib and closer to 14c for 3 ~ 4lb short rib) and add Korean radish, onion, scallion (white part), garlic cloves, ginger slices, 2 Tbsp of soup soy sauce, 1.5 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper.  Bring the pot to boil then back down to the lowest setting possible to maintain a steady boil (for me this was a tad higher than medium heat). Once boiling, keep the pot boiling and uncovered for 20 minutes. This is a good time to prep the rice as well.
  4. Reduce the heat to low medium (slightly higher than a simmer) and remove all the aromatics (radish, onions, scallion, garlic cloves, ginger slices). Continue cooking with the pot covered for 1.5 – 2 hours, or until the meat is tender.
  5. Add 1-2 tsp of minced garlic and salt to taste if needed. Once satisfied with the tenderness of the meat and the seasoned broth, add starch noodles and cook for 5-7 minutes (or according to package instructions).
  6. Add the cooked radish that was previously set aside and chopped scallions (green part) to the pot about a minute before serving. Top off each bowl of soup with fresh ground black pepper and serve with a side of rice and kimchi.


  1. Can’t wait to try this! Wonder how I might adjust this with an instant pot?

    • minimunchie says:

      I’ve never tried this in an instant pot, but I recommend reducing the cooking time to around 45 minutes, using less water (10c for 2.5 ~ 3lbs short rib and 12c for more than 3lb short rib), and slicing the radish after it’s cooked. Perhaps you can cook the noodles in a separate pot and add it along with the minced garlic when the broth is ready. Hope this works out well!

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