Korean Barbecued Spare Ribs

Image of a tub of gochujangIf you haven’t come across gochujang before, I urge you to get your sticky mitts on a tub of this fabulous Korean chilli paste. Traditionally gochujang was made by adding powdered red chili peppers and glutinous rice powder to soybean paste and ageing the mixture under the sun. ‘Ooh yum’ I hear you mutter sarcastically, but trust me, it tastes amazing.

I suspect the process is rather more industrialised today but the ingredients are the same and it’s pretty much a required ingredient for Korean cooking. Having said that, I can’t claim this recipe is authentically Korean, but I don’t think you’ll regret making it. Sticky, sweet and spicy, falling-apart pork ribs. What’s not to like? Have a look at the main picture: that cat was loitering with intent.

I suggest you ask your butcher for properly chunky pork ribs with the belly meat still attached. Ask him or her to remove both the rind and the membrane as the latter makes the ribs much less tender to eat.

If you buy them with it still attached, put them meaty side down on a chopping block, slide a sharp knife under the skinny end to loosen the membrane and peel it back. It’s easier said than done, which is why I’d advise asking your butcher to do it.

PS: I thought Mrs P was looking a bit tired so she’s had an overhaul – what do you think?

Korean Barbecued Spare Ribs

Image of ribs on the barbecue


2.5 kg meaty pork ribs

100g gochujang

60 ml hoisin sauce

3 tbsp tomato puree

60 ml runny honey

60 ml soy sauce

60 ml rice wine or dry sherry

30 ml rice wine vinegar (cider vinegar will do at a pinch)

1 heaped tbsp grated ginger

1 heaped tspn crushed garlic


Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Put the prepared ribs in a roasting tin and slather them all over with two-thirds of the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours, preferably overnight.

Image of marinated ribs

Pre-heat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2 and bring the ribs back to room temperature. Cover the roasting tin tightly with foil and cook the ribs for two and a half to three hours, basting a couple of times during the process.

The meat should be so tender that you could pull the bones out (but don’t, or they’ll be too floppy to handle).

Image of ribs ready for the barbecue

Ready for the barbecue

Heat a barbecue or grill until hot, brush the ribs with the remaining marinade and cook until glazed and slightly charred, about 10 minutes. You can cut them into smaller sections to get more charring and sticky goodness and (if you’ve got a small barbecue) to fit them on the grill.

Serve immediately, with plenty of napkins and/or finger bowls. Although one of our guests managed to eat them neatly with a knife and fork, the rest of us dug in and used our hands. Some of us (okay, me) even managed to get sauce on our chins.

Any leftovers re-heat well in a hot oven, painted with more marinade and wrapped tightly in foil.

Image of cooked ribs

16 thoughts on “Korean Barbecued Spare Ribs

  1. Yes, the overhaul is nice, but actually, I thought your last incarnation was more ‘you’. This is a bit more WordPress-Standard. But then so is mine.
    Now then, when we go to South Korea in 6 weeks, can we do any shopping for you? Seriously. We’ve got a stupidly large baggage allowance. I can’t wait to be deliciously greedy over there.
    I didn’t know you’d invited ‘im Indoors for a meal by the way. That must have been him with the knife and fork.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Margaret. And lol, no, the knife-and-fork man was our friend Simon, who is more fastidious than we are. I’m soooo jealous that you’re going to South Korea. I’ve only been for work and I’ve always wanted to go back for a holiday. I’m sure you’ll have a fabulous time. Thank you for the offer of shopping. I can get the Korean ingredients I need here, thank you, although if you spot any of those beautiful slim bronze spoons (plain, no twiddly bits) and chopsticks then I would absolutely love some more as I only have two sets. Very happy to send photos and dosh. But please don’t go to any trouble as I’m sure you’ll be busy catching up with Daughter and seeing all the sights. Linda xxx

  2. Hi Linda

    Well done updating your web site.

    I would love to comment on the Ribs recipe but it seems that you have removed that option???

    I am going to look for gochujang sauce, they were wonderful.

    K x

    • I’m so pleased you enjoyed them! I have some gochujang if you need it just for one recipe, or it’s available online. The comments section is now via a speech bubble to the right of the post title, sorry, a bit hard to find but you seem to have succeeded! xxx

  3. The color of those ribs says it all, Linda. They look fantastic! We pretty much cook our ribs in the same way but now I’ve got to find gochujang! I’ve put it on my Asian shopping list. This will be good. Thanks, Linda.

    • That’s interesting, as many of the US recipes I’ve seen suggest simmering the ribs first … but I always worry too much of the flavour disappears into the stock. These were very tender and tasty. Gochujang rocks! Lxxx

    • Nowhere does it near me in rural Suffolk either, Jen! It’s dead easy to make your own though and these ribs were (she said immodestly) sensational. Thanks for the follow. Lx

      • It does take quite a long time but once you’ve knocked up the marinade the rest of it’s pretty straightforward. I’m no expert at BBQ (wrong sex, don’t have apron with naked woman on, not a huge fan of gnarly craft beers) but this turned out well. 😀

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