Korean BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Summer is racing by. Since we’ve been back from Germany [which I should recap one of these days..], it has been nonstop fun stuff. The Euros and Copa America meant that soccer was on TV nearly 12 hours a day in our house for weeks. I learned that you can get into the Portland Art Museum for $5 on Fridays, which makes seeing the new exhibits that much more enticing. Andrew’s soccer team played it’s season final in Providence Park [where the Timbers play!]. There was a late night dinner party with some friends and some brewery events. We saw some friends that we haven’t seen in years. I took the train to Seattle for a friend’s birthday weekend [and had the most beautifully delicious breakfast at Chop Shop]. Andrew’s sister and brother-in-law came to town for a long weekend. We ate and drank as one does when you’re catching people up on the city since they last visited. We followed Inter Milan, Andrew’s favorite soccer team, around Portland while they visited on a summer tour. Seeing professional athletes up close like that is just…wow. We capped off their visit with a game against PSG in Eugene. They lost, and we got sunburnt, but we were finally able to try Agrarian Ales. Worth it. I surprised Andrew with a train ride in Hood River for his birthday. It was a short, two-hour, historical tour that included a boxed lunch and a 30 minute layover in the teeny-tiny fruit farming town of Odell, Oregon. It was a fun experience if you’re at all into trains.

Korean BBQ Ribs

So yeah, that’s the cliff’s notes version of what’s been up lately. We’ve managed to spend time on the patio exactly once. I’ve been racing through books now that I don’t have to fill my time with studying, and I’ve been cooking. Or grilling. Or both. These ribs were a bit of both. They were wrapped in foil and slow roasted in the oven on low heat for a few hours and then finished on the grill with a ton of housemade BBQ sauce with more than a little hint of Gochujang chili sauce. Gochujang is a Korean sauce that makes me happy. It is what drew me to Korean food. It is definitely it’s own flavor, and if you’ve had it, you know exactly what I mean. It’s a little spicy, a little tart, and a little sweet. It’s addicting. I would back off of the plum sauce a little bit next time just because spicy > sweet for me, but it is rather good as it is. That’s Bon Appétit for you. They know what’s up.

Also, this is my first time making ribs. Ever. They’re another one of those things that are mildly intimidating, but it’s only in my mind. I was fearing that they would end up overcooked, and no one wants two racks of overcooked ribs. No one. Yet the cooking method was practically foolproof. They were definitely fall off the bone tender. I served them with a simple [so simple it’s undressed int his photo] salad so I could focus on that spicy tang of the sauce.

Korean BBQ Ribs2

Inspiration: Bon Appétit


  • 2 racks of baby back ribs
  • 4-5 scallions, both the white and the green parts cut into chunks
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3 inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup Gochujang [Korean hot pepper sauce]
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons plum sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 300°. Pat the racks of ribs with a paper towel so they’re dry and then cover them liberally with salt and pepper. Wrap them in a double layer aluminum foil to prevent any messes. Place them on a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 2-2.5 hours. The meat should be falling off the bone at this point.

While the ribs are cooking, prepare the sauce. In a food processor, pulse together the scallions, garlic, and ginger. Move over holy trinity or mirepoix because wow. That smells so fragrant. In a sauce pan, heat the mixture in the olive oil on medium heat. Sauté until soft. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together. Bring to a simmer and continue to stir often to keep the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. After 5-10 minutes, the sauce should thicken up nicely. You know what the consistency of BBQ sauce should be.

Remove the ribs from the oven when they’re ready and prepare the grill. Rub the grates with oil and heat it to medium-high. Brush all sides of the ribs liberally with a few coats of the sauce. Place on the grill until all sides start to char, a couple minutes on each side. Keep basting the ribs with a few more layers for extra flavor. Let the ribs rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving with any leftover sauce.


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