Trader Joe’s Korean Style Beef Short Ribs Review

Trader Joe's Korean Style Beef Short Ribs

Every once in a while, we’ll be wandering the aisles of Trader Joe’s and something will make our eyeballs pop out of our heads like we’re characters in a Tom & Jerry cartoon. We had one of these moments recently when we spotted the Trader Joe’s Korean Style Beef Short Ribs at our local TJ’s store. Are you telling us we can simply buy a bag of frozen ribs and fry them up at home? Well yes, we can. And apparently, folks on Reddit love these!

The recommended cooking method for these is a grill, and we think that’s probably a great idea. However, we cooked ours in the Freezer Meal Frenzy office, where we don’t actually have a grill, so we decided to use the stovetop method instead. No matter how you cook these, you’ll want to thaw them first, but you can read the full cooking instructions at the bottom of this review.

One thing we should point out is that we thawed ours in a bowl of warm water, but we accidentally cracked open the inner bag (yes, these are double-bagged) at some point. We noticed that the marinade was starting to leak into the bowl, so we dumped it before we lost too much sauce. This is something you might want to watch out for if you thaw yours in water.

Trader Joe's Korean Style Beef Short Ribs

Now, because of our marinade loss, these tasted perhaps a little subtler than intended. We can’t be sure how much sauce was lost due to our carelessness, but we assume it was enough to make at least a little bit of difference. But we’re not really complaining. Even when it’s subtle, the marinade here is very good. It’s a Korean style sauce with brown sugar, rice wine, soy sauce, and garlic, and it has that classic Korean BBQ flavor to it.

Each strip of meat can be cut down the middle, and on one side you have the actual meat portion, and on the other you have a row of rib bones and a whole lot of fat. You can eat this down to the bone if you’d like, but we preferred the non-bone side to the boned side. Even so, we found this beef to be a bit tougher than we hoped it would be. It tastes great — especially with that marinade, but it’s hard to cut through and it sticks in your teeth. You’ll definitely want to eat this with a fork and a steak knife, and prepare to spend a good amount of time cutting around fat and bone.

We haven’t actually been to a Korean restaurant in a good long while due to the pandemic, but this is certainly no replacement for a good restaurant trip. Still, it cuts that Korean-style ribs craving down to size.

According to the bag, there should be about five pieces of meat inside (ours had exactly five). One piece is a serving size. If you stick with that, you’ll be downing 320 calories (240 from fat) and 230 mg of sodium. The calorie count is a little high, since we think you’ll easily down two or three of these in a sitting, but the sodium level isn’t super bad, as long as you eat just one or two of these. If you eat more than that, the sodium starts adding up. Then again, we’re not sure how much of each piece you’ll actually end up eating, as there tends to be a lot of fat around the edges.

The Trader Joe’s Korean Style Beef Short Ribs are a pretty tasty way to enjoy Korean-style ribs, but they’re certainly not perfect. They’re a bit of a chore to eat, because you’re going to be doing a whole lot of cutting, and there’s a lot of bone and fat that you’ll probably end up tossing out.

Oh, and we should mention that you’ll want to be careful about how you dispose of the bones. This meat has a deliciously sweet scent to it, and if you live in a rural area, you could find yourself attracting wild animals if you simply toss them into a trashcan out back. Be responsible with your discarded fat and bone.

To learn more about the nutrition content, ingredients, or cooking instructions for these frozen ribs, check out our package scans below.

Trader Joe's Korean Style Beef Short Ribs
Trader Joe's Korean Style Beef Short Ribs
Trader Joe's Korean Style Beef Short Ribs