Koreatown Baby Back Ribs

The warm weather finally has arrived which means grilling season has started.  My family loves ribs and when I saw this recipe in Gaby Dalkin’s recent cookbook “What’s Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food” I knew I had to make it.

Why – when I already have a few versions for grilling ribs; Ina Garten’s which I have posted and another by Michael Chiarello (chef who specializes in Italian-influenced California cuisines) that I have yet to post. They are all different using a variety of ingredients but this recipe with a Korean twist uses my new favorite ingredient, gochujang.

Gaby persuaded a friend to share his recipe which reminded her of the ribs she orders from Koreatown. These Korean communities are spread out all across the country and whether big or small the restaurants revolve around the traditional foods of Korea.

The marinated pickles (be sure to double the recipe as these pickles will be popular), a spicy rub where the flavors are allowed to blend overnight and a Korean Barbecue sauce using gochujang are part of these mouth-watering ribs. They are first baked in the oven and then finished off on the grill giving you melt-in-your-mouth ribs and a perfect summertime dinner.

Gaby has outdone herself with this cookbook – I highly recommend 🙂

Koreatown Baby Back Ribs, Adapted

Spicy Pickles:

  • 1 lb. Persian or English cucumbers, sliced 1/2-inch thick (not Kirby’s)
  • 1 tbsp. Kosher salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 6 scallions, white and light green parts, chopped
  • 5 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (seeds removed for less heat)
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil

Place the cucumbers in a colander set over a bowl; sprinkle with the salt and give them a quick toss. Let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse the cucumbers and pat dry.

Toss the cucumbers with the garlic, ginger, scallions, vinegar, chile, honey, soy sauce and sesame oil and stir to coat. Refrigerate overnight…

Be sure to double the recipe as these spicy pickles will be popular. They are crisp and nicely flavored with a little heat.


  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 racks baby back ribs (a rack is 8-14 ribs)
  • 1 cup water or beer

Combine the sugar, salt, ginger and chili powder. Place the ribs on a baking sheet and rub the spice mixture all over ribs, top and bottom. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the ribs from the refrigerator 30-60 minutes before baking. Peel back a corner of the foil and pour in the water or beer and close it back up. Place the ribs in the oven and bake for 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until the meat nearly falls off the bone.

Korean BBQ Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup gochujang paste
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 8-10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and minced (I used less)
  • 5 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil

Combine all of the ingredients and store in the refrigerator.

Grilling the ribs:

Remove the ribs from the oven and preheat the grill to medium high. Brush the ribs with the BBQ sauce and place on the grill. Grill for about 5-7 minutes on each side, meat side down first, until charred. Remove from the grill and brush on more BBQ sauce.

Slice the racks into individual ribs and add more BBQ sauce. Arrange on a platter and top with the chopped scallions, sesame seeds, jalapenos and spicy pickles.


  • 4 scallions, white and light green parts, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 jalapeno chile, thinly sliced


Barbecue Sauce:

Marinated Pickles:


Spice Rub, After 2 Hours of Baking, BBQ Sauce is Brushed on and Ready to Grill:


The Ribs After Grilling 6-7 Minutes Per side and The Spicy Pickles:


18 thoughts on “Koreatown Baby Back Ribs

    • They were Julianna – I hope you give them a try. The weather was cooler so I didn’t mind baking them for 2 hours and then finishing the ribs off on the grill. I know you like your “many cookbooks” and I do recommend Gaby’s book. There are so many recipes I want to try – I just like the way she writes and cooks. I also follow her blog 🙂


  1. How delicious! I love all of these components. By the way, I tried samjang (sp?) and it was very good, but I’d have to pick gochujang so far if I was forced to choose one!


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