Korean BBQ Pork Ribs

Tender, moist and flavorful Korean marinated BBQ pork ribs! Choose from two different marinades – mild and spicy. Slow cook in the oven until tender, and then finish off under the broiler or on a grill. 

Korean BBQ pork ribs

These Korean marinated baby back ribs are tender, moist, and flavorful! You can choose from two different marinades – mild or spicy. The ribs are first slow cooked in the oven and finished off under the broiler or on the grill until slightly charred. If you love tender, delicious pork ribs, you’ll love this recipe! It’ll certainly be a nice change from the usual fare — with a dry rub and BBQ sauce. 

In Korea, grilled pork ribs are very popular at restaurants where the ribs are partially grilled in the kitchen and finished off at the table on a wood charcoal (sootbul) grill. At home, I like this easy oven method and then either broil or grill to give them a nice char and delicious smoky flavor. 

Korean style back ribs

How to prepare baby back ribs

I love to cook with back baby back ribs (aka pork loin back ribs). They are tender, lean, and meaty. It takes much less time to cook than that of spare ribs. I usually buy mine at Costco. They are very well trimmed with the membranes (thin tough white/silver skin on the bone side) already removed. So not much prep work on my part.

If the ribs still have the membranes, you will need to remove them for the marinade to penetrate better. Insert a paring knife under the membrane to carefully loosen it, then slowly pull it by hand away from the bones.

Korean marinades

Each marinade is for 2 whole slabs (about 5 to 7 pounds total), which can easily be halved or doubled. 

Sweet and savory: This marinade is similar to the beef galbi marinade. However, for pork ribs, I use much more ginger than that of the galbi marinade. 

Spicy: The spicy version is the classic spicy pork marinade similar to that used in jeyuk bokkeum. It is slightly sweet with a lot of kick. You can increase the heat level by adding more gochugaru without altering the other ingredients. 

In either case, the secret to tasty Korean pork ribs is to use lots of fresh garlic and ginger. 

For best results, marinate the ribs overnight or longer (24 to 48 hours if you have time).

Korean spicy pork ribs

How to cook the baby back ribs

Slow cook the ribs in the oven, covered, at a low temperature with some marinade in the baking sheet/dish. This method gives the ribs a steaming effect, keeping the ribs moist while being cooked.

  1. Preheat the oven to 325.
  2. Line a baking sheet/dish with aluminum foil. Arrange the ribs, meat side down, on a baking sheet/dish. 
  3. Cover the baking sheet/dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake them for 1.5 hours (2 hours if you want to fall off the bones tenderness). Remove the foil cover.
  4. For the mild version, you will end up with a lot of liquid after slow cooking the ribs. You can pour it out into a sauce pan, reduce it to a thicker sauce on the stove top, and use it to baste the ribs. 
  5. Finish off under the broiler or on the grill until they are slightly charred and caramelized. 

If you have a favorite way to cook the baby back ribs, feel free to use it with these marinated ribs. 

You can bake the ribs up to a day before and keep them refrigerated. Bring refrigerated ribs to room temperature about 1 hour before you either broil or grill them.

Grilled spicy Korean back ribs

What to serve with the Korean ribs

I like to throw in some sliced zucchini and or eggplants and some chili peppers to the baking sheet/dish during the final step of broiling or on the grill. You can also serve any Korean vegetable side dishes with these ribs, such as spicy cucumber salad and baby bok choy kimchi salad. Some fresh vegetables with ssamjang will be great as well.

See my 15 Korean vegetable side dishes for more. 

Korean BBQ pork ribs
Korean BBQ pork ribs
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Course Main

Cuisine Asian, Korean

Keyword baby back ribs, bbq, Korean ribs, pork, pork ribs, spicy

  • 2 slabs baby back ribs (5 to 7 pounds)

Sweet and Savory Marinade:

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup rice wine (or mirin or white wine)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar use regular if unavailable
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic (8 or 9 plump cloves) See note 1
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated ginger See note 1
  • 1/2 medium onion, grated See note 1
  • 1/2 medium sweet apple, grated Fuji, Gala, or Golden Delicious - See note 1
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Spicy Marinade:

  • 2/3 cup Korean red pepper paste (gochujang)
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons gochugaru
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine or mirin
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar preferably dark brown
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic See note 1
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger See note 1
  • 1/2 medium onion, grated See note 1
  • 1/2 medium sweet apple, grated Fuji, Gala, or Golden Delicious, See note 1
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the marinade

  • Prepare the ingredients for the marinade you've chosen to make. Mix all of the ingredients well.

For the ribs

  • Pull off the membrane if it's not been removed. Cut each slab of the ribs into two pieces for easier handling. Rinse the ribs and drain. Coat the ribs well with the marinade, and marinate them for at least eight hours (preferably overnight to 48 hours). Turn them over once after half of the marinating time has passed. (You can use a large zip lock bag for easier handling)

Cooking the ribs

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (300 if using a convection oven). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange the ribs, meat side down, on a baking sheet/dish. Cover the baking sheet/dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake them for 1.5 hour (2 hours if you want fall off the bones tenderness). Remove the foil cover.

  • If used the mild marinade, you will have a lot of liquid in the baking sheet/dish. Pour it out into a sauce pan, and bring the liquid to a boil and reduce by about half or until it turns into a thick consistency. Brush the sauce onto the ribs.

Finishing the ribs

  • Option 1: Change the oven setting to broil and preheat for a few minutes. Meanwhile, pour out the sauce from the baking pan or dish into a small pot, and boil until reduced to 1/2. Then broil the ribs for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, or until the ribs are slightly charred, and the sauce is caramelized. Baste the ribs with the reduced sauce while broiling.

  • Option 2: Preheat the grill and grill the ribs over medium heat for 5 - 8 minutes on each side, or until the ribs are slightly charred and the sauce is caramelized. Baste the ribs with the sauce while grilling.

1. For convenience, you can blend garlic, ginger, apple and onion in a blender. 

This recipe was originally posted in July 2011. Here, I have updated it with new photos, more information and improvements to the recipe.

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