Korean-Style Short Ribs

Korean short ribs have an irresistible combination of sweet, salty and spicy flavors. Traditionally, the sweetness comes from sugar or corn syrup, usually half a cup or more. Thanks to Christian Chun, who submitted a fruit-based marinade for Korean-style short ribs to the Primal Blueprint Cookbook Contest, you can lose the processed sugar without losing a bit of flavor.

Fruit provides all the sweetness the ribs need. Christian’s recipe combines apple, Asian pear and kiwi. For a slightly different but equally delicious marinade, try using antioxidant-rich blackberries instead.

The sweetness of the fruit, contrasted with tamari, garlic and rice vinegar, hits all the right notes. The result is intensely flavored and truly addictive ribs. Wrapped in a cooling leaf of romaine lettuce and served with a feisty scallion salad, Primal Korean Short Ribs will add new dimensions of flavor to your table.


2 pounds beef short ribs. For Korean short ribs, “flanken-style” is the preferred cut. Flanken-style ribs about 1/2-inch thick and contain three rib bones. This marinade can also be used with other types of beef, such as 1/2-inch thick sirloin steaks.


  • 1/2 apple, skin on
  • 1 kiwi, peeled
  • 1/2 Asian pear, skin on (optional)
  • OR use 2 cups blackberries instead of other fruit
  • 1/2 cup wheat-free tamari
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 4 stalks of scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2-4 garlic cloves


Chop the fruit up into chunks and put all marinade ingredients into a blender until smooth.

Pour the marinade over meat into a Ziploc bag, an air-tight container or a bowl wrapped tightly with plastic wrap. Make sure the meat is completely covered with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Grill ribs four minutes on each side for rare and a minute or two longer for medium rare. The ribs can also be cooked under a broiler, but might take 3-5 minutes longer to cook.

Serve with Romaine lettuce leaves and an optional garnish of thinly sliced garlic, thinly sliced Korean hot pepper or jalapeno, and scallion salad.

Scallion Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of scallions (about 12 scallions)
  • 1 teaspoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon wasabi (optional)


Chop most of the white part off the scallions and trim the top so the onion is about four inches long. Using the tip of a knife, cut the green stalks into very thin strips.

A pair of scissors will also work well for this. Submerge the sliced scallions in a bowl of ice water to make them curl. If the green stalks aren’t sliced thinly enough, they won’t curl.

Remove scallions and dry. Toss with remaining ingredients.

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