Korean pork ribs with gochujang glaze is a delicious dish that combines sweet, savory and spicy flavors. These tender baby back ribs are seasoned with a super simple rub and then coated with a sweet and spicy glaze. Baked to nearly fall of the bone in the oven, these ribs are a perfect balance of Asian flavors that will leave you craving more. Whether you’re cooking for a special occasion or a weeknight dinner, this recipe is sure to become a new family favorite. Like, for real!
Table of Contents
Why We Love This Recipe
- Flavor: The combination of sweet, savory, spicy, and tangy flavors in the gochujang glaze creates a complex and delicious flavor that is hard to resist.
- Versatility: The gochujang glaze can be used with other meats such as fried chicken wings or as a dipping sauce, making it a versatile condiment to have on hand.
- Easy to make: With just a few simple steps, this recipe is easy to follow, even for those with limited cooking experience.
- Crowd-pleaser: This dish is sure to be a hit at any gathering or dinner party.
- Restaurant-quality at home: Making this dish at home can save you money on eating out, while still enjoying a restaurant-quality meal.
- Leftovers: The ribs can be stored and reheated for later, making it a great option for meal prep or easy lunches throughout the week. They’re actually even better the next day!
What is Gochujang (Korean Red Pepper Paste)?
Gochujang is an essential component in Korean cuisine, created from red chile pepper flakes, glutinous rice (or sticky rice), fermented soybeans, and salt. It has a thick texture and is known for its complex blend of sweet, spicy, and savory flavors. With its balanced sweet and spicy notes, gochujang is a versatile ingredient that adds depth and richness to a range of dishes.
Ingredients Needed to Make Korean-Inspired Pork Ribs
For the Ribs:
- Baby Back Ribs: Look for a rack of ribs that are on the meaty side. We purchased our ribs from Butcher Box and they were super meaty! See my full review of Butcher Box.
- Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper: We kept the rub simple but feel free to add additional spices such as garlic powder and onion powder. You can also opt to use your favorite BBQ dry rub.
For the Glaze:
- Gochujang: A spicy Korean fermented chili paste, which gives the ribs a sweet, savory, and slightly spicy flavor.
- Brown Sugar: Provides sweetness to balance the heat of the gochujang and caramelizes when baked creating a sticky glaze on the ribs.
- Mirin: A sweet Japanese cooking wine that adds depth of flavor.
- Rice Wine Vinegar: Adds tanginess and acidity to the glaze. You also use apple cider vinegar.
- Soy Sauce: To keep this recipe gluten-free, use tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.
- Sesame Oil: Adds nuttiness and richness to the glaze, giving the ribs a more complex flavor.
- White Miso Paste (optional): We amped up the umami flavor with the addition of white miso paste.
How to Make Korean Pork Ribs in the Oven
Preheat oven to 250°F.
Remove the membrane from the underside of the ribs if it hasn’t already been removed. Removing the membrane from the ribs is an important step to ensure that the meat is tender. To do this:
- Place the ribs on a cutting board, bone side up.
- Use a butter knife or your fingers to loosen the membrane from one end of the rack.
- Once you have a good grip on the membrane, use a paper towel to firmly grip it and pull off the ribs in one piece. If the membrane is stubborn, you can use a pair of pliers to get a better grip.
Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
Lay the ribs on a separate sheet of aluminum foil that is large enough to wrap around them. If the foil is not large enough and you need to use multiple pieces, place a piece of parchment paper on top of the foil pieces before laying the ribs.
In a small bowl, whisk together the gochujang, brown sugar, mirin, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, miso paste and sesame oil until well combined.
Generously, season the ribs with salt and pepper on both sides.
Evenly coat both sides of the ribs with half of the sauce, starting with the back side, to ensure the meat side is facing up during cooking. Keep the remaining sauce aside for the final glaze.
Wrap the ribs tightly in the foil with the seam facing upwards, then place them on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for two and a half hours to three hours, until tender. You can check for desired tenderness with a fork.
Take out the ribs from the oven and from the foil-lined baking tray. Remove the foil from the ribs and place them onto the same baking sheet. Save a few tablespoons of the juices that may have accumulated at the bottom of the foil in which the ribs were wrapped.
Combine the leftover juices with the remaining glaze, then pour the sauce over the ribs, spreading it to cover the entire top and sides.
Preheat the broiler and broil for about 5 to 10 minutes. Cut into individual ribs. Garnish with green onions and white sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy!
Tips for Success When Making Oven Baked Ribs
- Choose the right cut of meat: Look for ribs that have plenty of meat on them and are not too fatty. The meat should be tender and juicy when cooked.
- Remove the membrane: Removing the membrane from pork ribs before cooking is an important step that should not be overlooked. The membrane, also known as the silverskin, is a thin, transparent layer of connective tissue that covers the back of the ribs and helps to hold them together. When cooked, this membrane can become tough and chewy, making it difficult to enjoy the ribs.
- Wrap the ribs: Wrap the ribs tightly in aluminum foil to help them cook evenly and retain moisture.
- Cook low and slow: Cook the ribs for at least 2.5 hours or until the meat is tender and easily pulls away from the bone. This low and slow cooking method will ensure that the ribs are juicy and tender.
- Rest the ribs: Allow the ribs to rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat keeping them tender and moist.
What to Side Dishes to Serve with Korean Pork Ribs
- Steamed rice: A simple bowl of steamed white rice is a traditional accompaniment to Korean dishes and pairs well with the spicy, savory flavors of the pork ribs.
- Pickled vegetables: Korean cuisine is known for its use of pickled vegetables as a side dish or topping, and these tangy, crunchy veggies provide a refreshing counterpoint to the rich flavors of the pork ribs.
- Kimchi: This fermented cabbage dish is a staple in Korean cuisine and is packed with flavor and healthy probiotics.
- Skillet Green Beans: This quick and easy side dish made with fresh green beans is the perfect side dish for any meal.
- Cucumber salad: A simple cucumber salad dressed with sesame oil, rice vinegar, and soy sauce is a light and refreshing side dish.
- Lemon Miso Brussels Sprouts: These crispy roasted lemon miso brussels sprouts are a flavorful, vegan side dish, made with just a few ingredients.
How to Store Leftovers
- Allow to cool: Allow the ribs to cool down to room temperature before storing them. This will help prevent bacterial growth and maintain their texture.
- Separate into portions: If you have a large batch of ribs, consider separating them into individual portions. This will make it easier to reheat only what you need.
- Store in an airtight container: Place the pork ribs in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent them from drying out.
- Refrigerate or freeze: Store the pork ribs in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or freeze them for up to 2-3 months. If freezing, be sure to label the container with the date.
- Reheat properly: When ready to eat, reheat the pork ribs in the microwave, oven, or on the stovetop until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Be sure to reheat only what you plan to eat and avoid reheating multiple times to prevent overcooking and loss of flavor.
Where can I find Gochujang?
Gochujang can be found in most Asian grocery stores, local grocery stores or online.
Can I substitute baby back ribs for another cut of pork?
Yes, you can use other cuts of pork such as spare ribs or St. Louis-style ribs, but the cooking time may vary.
Can I make the glaze ahead of time?
Yes, the glaze can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
How do I know when the ribs are done?
The ribs should be cooked until the internal temperature reaches 165°F or until the meat is tender and pulls away from the bone easily.
How spicy is the gochujang glaze?
The spice level of the glaze can be adjusted by adding more or less gochujang. If you prefer a milder flavor, you can reduce the amount of gochujang and add more brown sugar.
Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
Yes, you can use a gluten-free soy sauce, coconut aminos or tamari instead of regular soy sauce.
These Korean baby back ribs with gochujang glaze is a delectable dish that’s sure to impress your friends and family. The combination of juicy, tender ribs and the spicy-sweet flavor of gochujang glaze creates a mouthwatering experience that will leave your tastebuds yearning for more. With our easy-to-follow recipe and helpful tips, you can make oven-baked ribs that are perfect for a weeknight dinner or a special occasion. Give this recipe a try and experience the delicious flavors of Korean cuisine in the comfort of your own home.
Sweet & Sticky Korean Pork Ribs With Gochujang Glaze
For the Ribs
- 1 rack baby back ribs
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp pepper
For the Glaze
- 1/2 cup gochujang
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. mirin
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp white miso paste
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- Preheat oven to 250°F.
- Remove the membrane from the underside of the ribs if it hasn’t already been removed.
- Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
- Lay the ribs on a separate sheet of aluminum foil that is large enough to wrap around them. If the foil is not large enough and you need to use multiple pieces, place a piece of parchment paper on top of the foil pieces before laying the ribs.
- In a small bowl, combine the gochujang, brown sugar, mirin, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, miso paste and sesame oil. Mix well.
- Generously, season the ribs with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Evenly coat both sides of the ribs with half of the sauce, starting with the back side, to ensure the meat side is facing up during cooking. Keep the remaining sauce aside for the final glaze.
- Wrap the ribs tightly in the foil with the seam facing upwards, then place them on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for two and a half hours to three hours, until tender. You can check for desired tenderness with a fork.
- Take out the ribs from the oven and from the foil-lined baking tray. Remove the foil from the ribs and place them onto the same baking sheet. Save a few tablespoons of the juices that may have accumulated at the bottom of the foil in which the ribs were wrapped.
- Combine the leftover juices with the remaining glaze, then pour the sauce over the ribs, spreading it to cover the entire top and sides.
- Preheat the broiler and broil for about 5 to 10 minutes until well-charred. Cut into individual ribs. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy!