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[Diana’s Table] Baby back ribs Korean style

Korean style baby back ribs (Courtesy of Diana Kang)
Korean style baby back ribs (Courtesy of Diana Kang)
Baby back ribs bring back fond memories of our backyard BBQ parties with family and friends when we lived in the US. We first lived in the Washington, DC area when my husband and I got married. We were both graduate students and we had to live on a very limited budget. As such, BBQ ribs were the most cost effective menu choice for our restaurant outings. So we tried many types of BBQs and we came to love the tender yet finger licking taste of BBQ baby back ribs the most. So when we moved to California for our jobs, these baby back ribs still remained our favorite menu with family and friends. We were also introduced to a more variety of BBQ meats, from Texan to Mexican styles.

When we returned to Korea, we really missed the taste of those BBQs. Every time I travelled to the US, my suitcase was filled with different types of BBQ seasonings and sauces. Over time, I learned to develop my own recipe with limited ingredients that are available here to recreate that taste. So this is a mixture of American BBQ sauce with Korean seasoning and I think that it works very well for the baby back ribs.


600 gram of baby back ribs, washed and cut into individual pieces. Pre-season with 1/2 cup ginger sake and set it aside.

For the marinade sauce

4 tablespoon soy sauce

4 tablespoon BBQ sauce, (any type of American BBQ sauce will work)

2 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 cup chopped green onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 tablespoon fish sauce

4 tablespoon pureed Asian pear or pureed onion

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1/2 tablespoon ground pepper

Mix well and set aside


Cut baby back ribs into individual pieces. 600 grams should yield about 14 pieces. Soak in water for 30 minutes to drain blood. Wash and marinate ribs in ginger sake for a minimum of one hour or overnight, preferably.

Drain the ribs. In a large pot, add the pork ribs and 2 cups of water. Water should just cover the ribs. Braise in high heat for about 10 minutes. Add the marinade sauce and braise on medium heat for another 30 minutes.

It is done when the meat is soft and the sauce has thickened. Add chopped pine nuts when serving.

This style of baby back ribs also tastes good a day after. You can add potatoes and carrots in the same marinade and serve it with rice as well.

Diana's Table Logo (Courtesy of Diana Kang)
Diana's Table Logo (Courtesy of Diana Kang)


Diana Kang is a lifestyle content creator specializing in Korean food and food culture. She has worked as an executive producer of the PBS series on Korean food “Kimchi Chronicles,” and has written regular columns on celebrity chefs, specialty ingredients and family recipes. -- Ed.
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