A Recipe for Korean Sweet and Spicy Pork Spareribs

  • 70 mins
  • Prep: 40 mins,
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 12 servings
Ratings (8)

Although Koreans are most famous for their love of short ribs, you'll never have leftovers with these delicious spareribs, which you can learn to whip up with this recipe. The ribs are tender and a little bit sweet but sticky and spicy.

As you make the dish, note the difference between Korean-style spareribs and American-style ribs.

What You'll Need

  • 4 lbs. pork spare ribs, in serving size pieces
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. mirin
  • 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 5 tbsp. kochujang (Korean chili pepper paste)
  • 1 sweet onion, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 slices of peeled fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil

How to Make It

  1. Heat up water in a large pot.
  2. Simmer ribs for about 30 minutes.
  3. When they are cool, put ribs, cut side up, into a shallow glass or ceramic dish.
  4. Mix all the seasonings together to make the marinade.
  5. Pour mixture over meat, coating thoroughly.
  6. Turn meat cut side down, cover and marinate for at least two hours. Can also marinate overnight.
  7. Heat a grill or preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  8. Cook the meat on the grill or in the oven (meat-side up) for 25 to 30 minutes, turning several times and basting with marinade.
  1. The meat should be very tender. Depending on the thickness of the meat on the bones, you might need to cook the ribs for a longer or shorter time.

Notes on Garlic 

Garlic has been used as food and medicine in different cultures for thousands of years. There are records of garlic being used as medicine when the Giza pyramids were being built; the Greeks would give their athletes garlic as a strength booster before they competed in their Olympic games. Garlic has been used to treat heart disease, cancer, digestive problems, infections, insect bites and many other illnesses and ailments.

South Korea eats more garlic per capita than any other country in the world. Although Korea is also one of the world’s top garlic producers, they still cannot grow enough to fulfill their demand. Like the U.S., Korea imports the rest of the garlic that they need from China. Although garlic has been used as an herbal medicine in Korea for a very long time, it is also one of the most popular ingredients in the Korean kitchen.

Notes on Ginger 

Ginger is native to Asia where it has been used as a cooking spice and as medicine for thousands of years. It is used to make medicinal and herbal teas, to increase the temperature in the body and also to increase the body's metabolic rate.

The part of the plant that Asians use is not the root, but the underground stem, or rhizome. Ginger contains many essential oils that benefit the health, such as gingerol and zingerone. Gingerols help improve the intestinal motility and have anti-inflammatory, painkiller and anti-bacterial properties.

Ginger has been used to aid digestion and treat stomach problems, gas, diarrhea and nausea for more than 2,000 years. More recently, it has demonstrated some effectiveness in preventing motion sickness. It has also been used to treat the common cold, stomach ulcers, headaches, menstrual cramps, migraines, arthritis, and colic.

Ginger is low in calories, contains no cholesterol, and is a rich source of many essential nutrients and vitamins such as pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5). It also contains a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 124
Total Fat 4 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Unsaturated Fat 1 g
Cholesterol 10 mg
Sodium 439 mg
Carbohydrates 19 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Protein 5 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)