Korean food and Korean flavors have been taking American by storm for the last few years. More and more, Korean barbecue is becoming just as essential as any offerings from Memphis, Austin, and Kansas City. This grilling season we want to help you take these amazing sweet, spicy, fermented flavors from pages of restaurant menus right into your kitchen. So go ahead, fire up the grill!
The centerpiece of a Korean barbecue is the meat. Whether you marinate or not, the number one rule is to cook hot and fast, this method lets thin cuts cook quickly over high heat, all with the intention to keep your protein nice and juicy and maintaining the prized chewy texture.
You can also approach classic Korean flavors in a more classic Texas barbecue style, we love this recipe for Sweet and Spicy Korean Spareribs. Staring ssamjang, a sauce made of red miso, chile paste, green onions, garlic, sugar and sesame oil, it’s spicy and salty with a distinct fermented complexity that makes it interesting. You can use it as a sauce, stir it into braises or glaze grilled meats with it for a caramelized, spicy crust.
Sweet and Spicy Korean Spareribs
3/4 cup (1 full recipe) of Ssamjang Sauce, omitting sesame seeds
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sake
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 racks pork spareribs (about 8 pounds), membranes removed
1. Preheat the oven to 325°. In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients except the ribs and salt. Layer 2 long sheets of heavy-duty foil on a work surface and set 1 rack of ribs in the center, meaty side up. Brush with 3/4 cup of the sauce and wrap tightly in the foil. Repeat with the remaining 2 racks of ribs. Transfer the foil packets to 2 large rimmed baking sheets and bake the ribs until tender, about 2 hours.
2. Unwrap the racks and transfer them to a work surface. Cut them into 3- or 4-rib sections.
3. Light a grill. Season the ribs with salt and grill over high heat, brushing with the remaining sauce and turning occasionally, until glazed and lightly charred in spots, about 4 minutes. Cut into individual ribs if desired. Transfer to a platter and serve.
Make Ahead: The ribs can be prepared through Step 1 and refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before grilling and glazing.