Korean BBQ Pork Ribs

Tender, moist and flavorful Korean BBQ pork ribs! Choose from two different marinades –sweet and savory or spicy. 

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These Korean marinated baby back ribs are tender, moist, and flavorful! You can choose from two different marinades –  sweet and savory or spicy.

The ribs are first slow cooked in the oven and finished off under the broiler or on the grill until lightly caramelized and 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. 

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How to prepare baby back ribs

I love to cook with back baby back ribs (aka pork loin ribs or back ribs). They are tender, lean, and meaty. I usually buy mine at Costco. Their ribs are well trimmed with the membrane (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).

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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.

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What to serve with the Korean ribs

For an easy side dish, 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. 

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Have you tried this Korean BBQ pork ribs recipe? Please rate the recipe below and leave a comment! Stay in touch by following me on YouTubePinterestTwitterFacebook, and Instagram. 
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Korean BBQ Pork Ribs

4.45 from 25 votes
Main
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
8 hours
Servings: 4
Print Recipe

Ingredients

For each marinade:

  • 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 sugar 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 See note 1
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Spicy Marinade:

  • 2/3 cup Korean red pepper paste (gochujang, 고추장)
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons Korean red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru, 고추가루)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine (or mirin or white wine)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar Use regular sugar if unavailable
  • 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 See note 1
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

For the marinade

  • Prepare the ingredients for the marinade of your choice. Mix all of the ingredients well.
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Preparing the ribs

  • Pull off the membrane if it's not been removed (see note 2). 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 a minimum of eight hours (preferably 24 hours to 48 hours). Turn them over once after half of the marinating time has passed. (You can use large zip lock bags for easier handling.)
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Cooking the ribs

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (300°F if using a convection oven). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. I used 2 baking dishes. Arrange the ribs, meat side down. If using the mild marinade, pour some marinade into the baking sheet or 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.
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  • If used the mild marinade, you will have a lot of liquid in the baking sheet/dish. Pour it out into a sauce pan along with any reserved marinade, and bring the liquid to a boil and reduce by about half or until it turns into a thick consistency. You don't need to do this with the spicy marinade as it doesn't have as much liquid. Brush the sauce onto the ribs.

Finishing the ribs

  • Option 1: Change the oven setting to broil (500°F) and preheat for a few minutes. Then broil the ribs until the ribs are lightly caramelized and charred, about 5 minutes on each side. Baste the ribs with the sauce a couple of times while broiling.
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  • Option 2: Preheat the grill and grill the ribs over medium heat until the ribs are lightly caramelized and charred, about 5 minutes on each side. Baste the ribs with the sauce while grilling.
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Notes

1. For convenience, you can blend garlic, ginger, apple and onion in a blender. 
2. To remove the membrane, insert a paring knife under the membrane to carefully loosen it, then slowly pull it by hand away from the bones.
Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!

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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Comments

  1. This was excellent thank you! I did both the sweet and the spicy and they were both great. I’ve now made several of your recipes and my wife says it’s okay that I love you for this site πŸ™‚

  2. how long can I bake if using convection oven? Thank you

  3. Hi, can I use beef instead of pork? Thanks.

    • I haven’t tried this particular way of cooking with beef ribs. I am sure it can be done with some adjustments to cooking time depending on your beef cut.

  4. 5 stars
    Easy. Awesome. Love. I followed the recipe exactly, I did the spicy version, and I finished them up on the grill. Best ribs ever!

  5. This was ABSOLUTELY wonderful! Only omission of the Hot sauce. Is there a way to intensify the flavor? and what other meats or veggies would you recommend using this on?

  6. I was wondering if I could use the same recipe but with pork shoulder instead of the ribs? I’ve tried it with the ribs, which was delicious (thank you!), but was wondering how it’d be with something pork shoulder.

    • Oh sorry for the delayed response. Yes, but you’ll need to adjust cooking time depending on the thickness of your pork shoulder.

  7. Do you cook the ribs in the sauce (in the oven) or drain it first? Thank you

  8. Frank Dawson says

    Korean cuisine is delicious. As a Texan, I enjoy taking other region’s grilling recipes and mash it with Texas barbecue cuisine. Unfortunately, for those on low glycemic or no-sugar diets, Korean cuisine has many recipes that include sugar, sugar syrups and honey. There is really not reason people on these diets should shy away from making Korean recipes such as this delicious spin on Kalbi at home. Just leave out the sugar or glucose ingredients OR do as I do and replace them with low glycemic, fruit alternatives such as Granny Smith Apples, natural apple juice, etc.

    That is how I adapted this recipe and it worked fine. In fact, there was less tendency for charring or burning the pork ribs, because of the absence of the sugar and honey.

    Also, you can avoid the sugar levels of store bought Gochujang by using other Asian garlic chilli condiments with zero sugar. I also make my own Doenjang from zero sugar Japanese Aka Miso paste.

    Providing recipe notes with dietary alternatives for those on diets or with illnesses that preclude sugar would be a wise and helpful addition to your recipes.

  9. Loving Korean food and living in Puerto Rico is not the best combo. There is only ONE Korean food place, and it’s food truck. Happy I stumbled across your site, I’ll update my comment to let you know how it turns out πŸ™‚

  10. Hi there,

    You mentioned that you baste with a sauce…

    I don’t see a recipe for a sauce.. or are you basting with the leftover marinade..

    I love Korean BBQ and am for sure gonna try the spicy marinade!

  11. I made this recipe this evening and must admit that i was seriously disappointed. I marinated overnight, cooked covered at 325Β° for 90 minutes, broiled with leftover marinade, and . . . . . . . . .flat. I love Korean food and literally can’t think of any food I don’t like, but this, while not bad, just didn’t pop. No exotic or interesting flavors.

    • Sorry to hear that, Earl! Which marinade did you use – sweet and savory or spicy? Did you use all the ingredients in the amounts the recipe calls for? I’m trying to figure out what happened with yours. As you can see, there are many positive feedback by others in this comment section.

  12. What an unbelievable recipe! The ribs turned out amazing! Thank you so much for making my 4th of July meal a complete success!

    • So happy to hear that! Thanks for trying it out for such an important event and letting me know how it turned out. Cheers!

  13. steven s says

    Your receipe for Korean style pork ribs was delicious. I used yams instead of regular white potatoes. Loved the dish as i do love all Korean food. Much thanks

  14. I just made these for our 4th of July BBQ and they were AMAZING. Thank you so much for the recipe.

    One note: I actually just reserved some of the marinade instead of adding all of it to the ribs to marinate and use the reserved portion to baste the ribs before broiling. The sauce is so delicious, I didn’t want it to get diluted from the liquid that comes off while cooking the ribs in foil. πŸ™‚

  15. Charles Reiner says

    Made your recipe for my wife Birthday Dinner with her Family – JACKPOT! the pork was so tender and moist. The glaze lit up our tastes buds from all different directions. Thank you so very much for sharing.

    κΈ΄ μ‚΄κ³  번영

    • Aww I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you so much for trying out my recipe and letting me know how you and your family liked it. Cheers!

  16. Lite Home Bake says

    Hi, i thought i would let you know that i tried this out and our family loved the results, they were lip smacking delicious! Gamsahabnida for the recipe πŸ™‚

  17. Is there something I can use instead of rice wine?

  18. Anonymous says

    Where should I look to buy the Korean chili paste/peppers or can I substitute with other types of local peppers? Thanks

    • Hyosun Ro says

      If you don’t have any Korean market where you live, you can find those ingredients on-line. You can use other peppers, but the taste would be different because the Korean chili paste has unique flavors. Hope you can find the ingredients. Thanks!

  19. Anonymous says

    The ribs were great! We just finished eating every last one!!

  20. i just stumbled upon your website as i have a slab of pork ribs sitting in my oven. thank you for the recipe. my mom is not always on hand when i need such recipes.

  21. I made this for 4th of July and it was a HUGE hit that I’m making it again for Labor Day Weekend BBQ. Thank you for sharing this recipe, I can’t wait to try everything else.

  22. Anonymous says

    Thank you for sharing your recipes. I made the spicy ribs after I marinated them overnight, baked, & then grilled them. Unfortunately, the flavors did not penetrate throughout the meat as we would like. Any suggestions for next time?

  23. Hi, just stumbled across your blog and made these ribs (sweet and savoury) for a birthday dinner. They were amazing! I’ll definitely be using the recipe again. Thanks!

  24. Samantha says

    WOW!!! Made these ribs today for lunch and OMG AMAZING! I’ll definitely be these ribs a lot and sharing your recipe. I preferred the non-spicy version but, the spicy version was definitely really good too. In my opinion, this is THE recipe for dwaeji galbi. It’ll save me a lot more money in what would have been korean restaurant visits. Thank you so much!

  25. I lived in South Korea for a bit with my (now) ex-husband, and our favorite weekly dinner out was Dweaji Kalbi! I have gotten cravings for it,but no recipes I have tried have lived up to expectations (yet). This looks like it will!

  26. Thank you for replying so promptly! I’ve stumbled across your blog less than 2 weeks ago and am enjoying it very much.

    I am embarrassed to admit that I did not discard the marinade when I placed the ribs in the oven. I guess that explains the “watery” bit. My little boy wants me to make your pork ribs again this week! That’s said a lot from a 9 years old boy.

  27. Anh – Glad to hear it turned out quite good! It’s okay for the ribs to be a little watery. It happens because the ribs are marinated with a liquid sauce and baked tightly covered with the foil at a low temperature. This method steams them for tender and moist ribs before getting finished off under the broiler for caramelizing and charring. If they get too watery, you can remove the foil cover during the last 30 minutes or so of baking. Also, it will help to shake off excess sauce before arranging them on a baking sheet. Hope this helps next time. Thanks for taking the time to write me the feedback!

  28. We made this last night and it was quite good! It was a bit watery while cooking in the oven though. Do you know what we did wrong? Thank you!

  29. Vickie – Any kind of salad will be good, especially with rice vinegar vinaigrette (http://eatingandliving.blogspot.com/2010/03/edamame-salad-with-rice-vinegar.html). Or, you can make a Korean side dish such as hobak bokkeum (http://eatingandliving.blogspot.com/2011/06/hobak-bokkeum-stir-fried-zucchini.html). A broccoli side dish will be good too. Hope this helps. Enjoy!!

  30. I am trying this dish tonight, well marinading tonight for tomorrow. Just had a quick question about what to serve with the ribs? Any suggestions?

    P.S. This will be my first time having Korean Ribs… can’t wait!

  31. Hyosun Ro says

    Thank you, everyone, for such nice words. It’s very nice to hear from all of you. These ribs turned out so good that I am making another batch for some friends visiting tomorrow. I hope you get to try them too.

  32. Oh wow, Hyosun! These ribs look SO delcious! I have got to try this recipe. I know my husband would appreciate me dearly if I made these for him. πŸ™‚ Your family is so lucky to have you cooking for them! How have you been? Hopefully well. I’ve been so busy w/ all the kids’ activities since summer began that I haven’t had a chance to visit my blog friends as often as I would like. I’m happy to have stopped by to see what you’ve been cooking! πŸ™‚

  33. Nami @ Just One Cookbook says

    Hi Hyosan! I totally bookmarked this! I usually buy korean BBQ sauce (with the pear picture on it) and add honey….and that’s it. This will be a big hit in my family this summer!!

  34. A SPICY PERSPECTIVE says

    Yes please!!! I want those this very instant!

  35. trialsinfood says

    looks delicious!

  36. denise @ quickies on the dinner table says

    Hi Hyosun! Thanks for visiting and leaving such kind words on my Tokyo post πŸ™‚ I have missed blogging and all my blogger buddies but have been so caught up in certain projects that blogging just had to take a back seat.

    This is just gorgeous!! I love the flavor of gochujang just as it is, but adding all the other ingredients in the spicy marinade made the ribs just explode with flavour, I’m sure. Goodness, they really look absolutely mouthwatering!!