If you’re a fan of sweet, sticky, tangy, spicy, tingly Asian ribs, stick around for these Korean Pork Ribs. I use some traditional Asian flavors and Gochujang, a Korean hot pepper paste in my inspired Korean BBQ Sauce which acts as a marinade, glaze and dipping sauce for these incredible Korean spare ribs. Par-cook the ribs in the oven, then finish on the grill for the best lacquered Asian spare ribs with crusty char and irresistible flavor!
I have an ulterior motive for these Korean ribs. The Super Bowl. What??? As my daughter would say, “Spill the tea...“
Our Super Bowl ritual
I’m not a football fan (at all), but I can appreciate the hard-work, sacrifice and dedication it takes to get to the Super Bowl and I certainly won’t deny my family watching the big game — so in order to make it fun for me too — we’ve instituted a Super Bowl ritual. Our game day spread is composed of foods from the areas of the country where the two rival teams hail from! In the past, we’ve saluted the Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, LA Rams, Seattle Seahawks and New England, New England, New England (Thanks, Tom — for giving us a break). This year it’s the San Francisco 49ers vs. the Kansas City Chiefs.
So you’re probably asking — how do Asian ribs fit into this math? This might be a stretch, (however, it’s my blog and this is what I’ve decided). San Francisco has a HUGE Asian population. Every time I visit this food-centric city, I make a point to spend at least a day eating my way through China town. I’ve taken chef-led tours – tasting and learning about Asian food and culture… So when the 49ers won their Division Title, I naturally veered to these Asian spareribs to represent the team for our annual bash.
Ingredients for Korean BBQ sauce
- Soy Sauce
- Hoisin Sauce
- Sesame Oil
- Rice Wine Vinegar
- Brown Sugar
- Lime Zest
- Lime Juice
- Orange Juice
You’ll love this recipe because it really is an easy one! It takes a little time, but that’s really just marinating… and most of the cooking is hands-off! The secret to the Korean BBQ sauce is Gochujang. It’s a Korean red pepper paste, that’s got a lot of flavor and a moderate heat. This BBQ sauce recipe requires a whole cup of thick Gochujang, but it makes a lot of BBQ sauce. Keep in mind, this flavorful blend acts as the marinade, glaze and dipping sauce for the Asian ribs.
Korean BBQ sauce for Asian ribs
- Combine the ingredients for the BBQ sauce in a bowl.
- Trim the silver skin from the pork spareribs and blot them dry with paper towels.
- Transfer the spareribs to a large enough container or food storage bag to hold them. (you may have to cut the ribs in half to fit).
- Pour HALF of the Korean BBQ sauce over the ribs and spread to coat them.
- Marinate for at least 4 hours or (preferably) overnight.
There are two methods you can follow for these Korean pork ribs. Either cook these ribs over indirect heat on a grill, like I do for these St. Louis style ribs, or follow this easier (more hands-off) method of par-cooking them in the oven and finishing on the grill. The oven method is pretty fool proof and will give you tender Korean pork ribs with a little tug… They’re not quite fall-off-the-bone… and they shouldn’t be… you don’t want to pick up a bone while the meat remains on the plate, right?
Par-Cooking Korean Ribs
- Preheat the oven to 250°.
- Fill the bottom of a broiler pan with enough water to measure about 1/4″
- Place the broiler rack over the pan.
- Remove the spareribs from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels.
- Place the ribs on the pan and wrap tightly with aluminum foil (so no steam can escape).
- Cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until tender.
When the Asian ribs have par-cooked remove the foil and pour out about half of the reserved Korean BBQ sauce for basting the meat on the grill. This will give it that lacquered, burnished crust that everyone loves.
Finishing Korean pork ribs on the grill
- Heat the grill to about 400°-425°.
- Add the ribs and baste with the Korean BBQ sauce.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until the sugars in the sauce start to caramelize and fuse to the Korean spareribs and the ribs take on a slight char.
- Remove the ribs to a cutting board and slice into 2-3 rib segments to serve.
- Garnish with sliced onions, sesame seeds and fresh cilantro and serve with reserved Korean BBQ sauce.
Best game day eats
Friends, you are going to L-O-V-E these Korean ribs. Frankly, they’re so good, I might cheer for the 49ers every year henceforth, and let’s be REAL, doesn’t this beat those sad “party deli platters” from the grocery store? It’s time to step up your Super Bowl menu with these Asian ribs. Want to see what’s coming up for Kansas City? Stop back in a few days for our homage to the Chiefs!
More game day snacks:
- Smoked Salmon Cheese Ball with Everything Bagel Seasoning
- Bacon Cream Cheese Crescent Rolls
- Creamy Avocado Tomatillo Salsa
- Island Style Conch Fritters
- Hatch Chile Pork Empanadas
If you love these Barbecued Korean Pork Ribs, here’s more of my favorites:
More ribs & BBQ recipes:
- Tangy Barbecued Pork Sandwiches
- Carolina Pulled Pork
- Caribbean Jerk Smoked Pork
- Grilled Chicken Thighs with Herbed Spice Rub
- Barbecue Bacon Cheeseburgers
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Asian Style Ribs
- 2 racks pork ribs
- 1 cup gochujang
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic about 4 large cloves
- 1 1/2 tablespoon finely grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon lime zest (about 1 lime)
- 1/4 cup lime juice (about 1 1/2 limes)
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- extra reserved marinade
- green onion chopped
- cilantro chopped
- toasted sesame seeds chopped
- lime wedges
- In a medium bowl, combine the gochujang, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, minced garlic, grated ginger, lime zest, lime juice, and orange juice. Whisk until smooth.
- Peel the silver skin from the ribs and discard. Transfer the ribs to a storage container or food storage bag. Pour half of the marinade over the ribs to coat. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Transfer the rest of the marinade to a storage container and refrigerate until you're ready to cook.
- Preheat the oven to 250°.
- Remove the ribs from the marinade and pat to dry. Add just enough water to the bottom of a broiler pan to cover by about 1/4". Fit the rack insert onto the pan and rest the ribs on the rack. Cover them tightly with aluminum foil, so that no steam will escape.
- Transfer the ribs to the oven and cook until the ribs are tender, about 2 hrs 15 min.
- Divide the reserved Asian barbecue sauce in half. One half is for basting the ribs on the grill, the other is for dipping when served.
- To get a crusty exterior and laquer the ribs with the sauce, heat up a charcoal or gas grill to a medium high temperature (about 400°-425°). Transfer the ribs to the grill and brush with extra sauce. Cook on each side about 4-5 minutes to get color and grill marks and to glaze the ribs.
- Transfer to a cutting board and separate the ribs into 2-3 bone servings. Serve with extra dipping sauce, sesame seeds, cilantro and green onions.