As a kid, I always considered Korean BBQ a special meal. We would splurge and have an endless feast of marinated spicy Korean pork ribs, short ribs, and thinly shaved brisket only on birthdays and family gatherings. Nowadays, restaurants are offering all you can eat menus which means Korean BBQ is more affordable and readily available. Korean BBQ on a Wednesday night? Why not?
One of my favorite restaurants specializes in a special type of Korean BBQ: grilled marinated ribs. These ribs are smoky, spicy, and sweet; however, they aren't as tender as Western-style ribs. To merge the best of two worlds, I decided to make my own spicy Korean pork ribs prepared in the instant pot for the quickest and best results. The outcome was exactly what I predicted, incredibly delicious, and fall off the bone goodness.
Spicy Korean Pork Ribs
- 1 full rack of ribs
- 5 tablespoon Korean red pepper paste gochujang
- 1 tablespoon Korean chili flakes gochugaru
- 2 tablespoon mirin
- 2 tablespoon sake
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 ½ teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 garlic minced
- ½ onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon ginger
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- Combine all ingredients for the marinade except the ribs in a blender and puree until smooth. Reserve ½ cup of the marinade and set aside. Pour the remaining marinade over the ribs, turning to coat. Cover and marinate overnight.
- Remove pork from the marinade. Pour apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke, and water in the instant pot. Place the steam rack in the center and an oven safe Pyrex bowl on top. Place the ribs standing up inside the bowl. The meat side of the ribs should face out. Close the lid and set the instant pot to pressure cook on high for 1 hour. Let sit for 15 minutes and release the steam.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Lay the ribs on the baking sheet, the meat side facing up. Brush on the reserved excess marinade and continue to cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and slice. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Ribs take a long time to prepare. To remedy, that, we're going to use the instant pot to cut that time from 6 hours to 2. First, prepare the marinade for the ribs. Gochujang is a Korean chili paste that can be a little sweet, savory and spicy all at the same time and gochugaru is Korean chili flakes similar to red chili flakes. To keep the recipe true to its form, do not substitute these ingredients for other chili pastes or chili flakes.
Puree all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth and pour over the ribs. Marinate the ribs overnight and turn them occasionally to allow both sides of the meat to be covered in the marinade.
The following day, set up your instant pot or pressure cooker. Pour the apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke, and water into the pot. Alternatively, you can choose to omit the liquid smoke, but it's what gives it that smoky flavor that ribs so desire.
Next, place the steam rack inside and a heat-safe bowl in the center. Put the ribs in the bowl, standing them upright with the meatier side facing out. If your rack is particularly large you may have to cut the ribs in half to help them fit. Close the lid and pressure cook for 1 hour, releasing the steam after 15 minutes of resting time.
Now that the ribs are tender, we want to finish them in the oven. Use the reserved excess marinade to brush on the ribs and give it that beautiful glaze. Finally, cook them in the oven for 20 minutes or until slightly charred and caramelized.
Take those bad boys out of the oven and get ready to be amazed. These spicy Korean pork ribs come together in less than 2 hours but they taste like they have been smoking for hours. Not to mention, the meat falls off the bone so easily and the flavor is just incredible! This may just be my new favorite Korean pork ribs.
For more Korean recipe inspiration check out these Korean spicy chicken rice bowls!