Kalbi Braised Beef Sandwiches

Recipe By Chef Kaleena Bliss | Conversation at THompson Seattle

Beef Substitutes

It seems like everywhere you turn at the grocery store or your local restaurant you see meat substitutes popping up. But, isn’t beef really the ultimate substitute? It can make any dish more delicious, more special, more of a celebration. Chef Kaleena Bliss shows off how anyone can beef up an all-American staple. She levels up BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Kalbi Braised Beef Sandwiches for the flavor win. The Substitute: Beef Short Ribs braised in an umami-rich Kalbi sauce before building a delicious sandwich that will be your new favorite hand-held meal.

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  • 2 pounds boneless Beef Shortrib 
  • 2 white onion, peeled and large chop 
  • 1/4 cup ginger, peeled and minced 
  • 1/4 cup garlic, peeled and minced 
  • 1/4 cup gochujang paste 
  • 1 tablespoon star anise 
  • 1 cup mirin 
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce 
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 3 sprigs thyme 
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorn 
  • 4-8 cups beef stock
  • 6 brioche buns, toasted
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • cilantro, to garnish
  • slice green onion, to garnish
  • pickled red onion, recipe below


  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Season Beef Shortrib with salt and black pepper. Cut into to approximately 3-4 inch cubes and grill on both sides until the outside is nicely marked and charred.   
  2. In a Dutch oven with a little cooking oil, add the onion, ginger, and garlic, and sweat gently for 2-3 minutes. Add the gochujang and continue cooking on low heat with the aromatics for another minute. Add the anise, mirin, soy sauce, fish sauce, bay, thyme, peppercorn and 4 cups of beef stock. 
  3. Carefully lay in the grilled Shortrib pieces. Depending on the size of your Dutch oven, the liquid should just cover the beef. Add more beef stock as necessary to fully cover the beef. Place heavy lid on securely and place in a 325F oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  4. The Shortrib is finished when it is pull apart tender. Remove the Shortrib from the pot and strain the remaining braising liquid. Return the liquid to the pot and reduce until thickened. You can adjust the sauce at this point to your own liking by adding more gochujang or chile paste for a spicier sauce, more mirin for sweetness, more fish sauce for that umami kick. 
  5. Gently pull the braised Shortrib in to small pieces. It should not be completely shredded. Return the shortrib to the reduced sauce to coat.
  6. Build your sandwiches by layering approximately 4 ounces of Shortrib on a toasted brioche bun. Garnish with shredded cabbage, cilantro leaves, green onion and pickled red onion slices. You can drizzle more sauce over the sandwich as well, or serve with sauce on the side.

For Pickled Red onion:

In a small sauce pot, heat 16 ounces red wine vinegar, 10 ounces water, and 4 ounces sugar until dissolved. Cool down viegar mixture to lukewarm and add 1 julienned red onion. Lay a layer of saran wrap loosely over the surface of the liquid and onions to ensure that all of the onions are submerged. Put in fridge and let cool completely.