What David Chang Would Rather Have On Thanksgiving Over Turkey

Chef David Chang is known for his strong opinions and controversial takes on food. When it comes to Thanksgiving, the Momofuku restaurateur doesn't mince words about his thoughts on turkey at the table. Per GQ, the James Beard award-winning chef deems turkey breast "meat-cotton" and relegates the Thanksgiving staple to "the tail end of the list of delicious birds." Ditching the beloved bird, Chang would rather have his mom's galbijjim, or Korean braised short ribs, over white rice.

Historically, in Korean society, the dish was more popular in royal courts and as banquet fare because galbi costs more than other beef cuts. And since traditionally galbijjim is reserved for holidays and Korean festivals such as Korean New Year's Day (Seollal), Chuseok, and birthdays, Chang might have a point about galbijjim's place at a Thanksgiving celebration.

Chang champions his mother's galbijjim as a substitute for turkey

The name galbijjim reveals the basic recipe. Galbi means ribs, while jjim refers to the technique of steaming or braising meat and vegetables, often in a sauce or seasoned liquid. The result is a dish with tender short ribs in an unctuous, sweet, and savory sauce. 

For his mother's galbijjim, Chang describes searing seasoned beef short ribs in a skillet or large pan. The browned short ribs are then braised in a liquid, among which includes pear or apple juice, sake, mirin, sugar, garlic, and soy sauce for two hours, and then again with potatoes and carrots until the meat falls off the bone. The meat and vegetables are further cooked down in the braising liquid until it becomes almost a candied, syrupy, umami glaze.

While Chang's galbijjim is served over white rice, other variations of these succulent short ribs include serving it with more potatoes (mashed or whole), noodles, or even rice cakes. Some versions even sub out the beef short ribs for pork spare ribs, which is known as dwaeji galbijjim. While this traditional Korean food might be an untraditional addition for Thanksgiving, forgetting the turkey and watching a football game with a cold beer and galbijjim is the perfect Changsgiving meal.