Gochujang BBQ Ribs

St Louis cut ribs with a spicy, sweet asian twist.
Gochujang BBQ ribs

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Have you ever tried Korean style gochujang bbq ribs? These Asian-style ribs are sticky, sweet, spicy, and packed with umami. 

Growing up with a Korean mother,  gochujang was often part of the dishes she prepared. I never imagined them on bbq spare ribs until a few years ago when a buddy of mine started using it in a bbq glaze. 

After doing a little research and digging deep into my Korean roots, I developed a Korean bbq sauce that I’ve come to love. It’s perfect on smokey ribs, and the intense flavor will have you coming back for more. That’s a guarantee.  

Gochujang BBQ Ribs

cross section of bbq rib

Ingredients you’ll need 

  • Pork ribsSt. Louis Cut is preferred. 
  • Pitmaster’s Pick Rub -this sweet and spicy rub with ingredients like gochugaru is perfect for this recipe.
  • Sweeteners – sugar and honey will help during the wrap phase of the cook to add some sweetness and to tenderize the ribs. 
  • Butter
  • Korean BBQ Sauce – Make ahead or while the ribs are cooking, as it’s not needed until the end. Recipe here.
  • Garnishes – Sesame seeds and green onions make the perfect garnish and add flavor and texture to each bite.
ribs on a wooden board with rub and a knife

Equipment you’ll need

  • Smoker
  • Spritzing bottle
  • Aluminum foil – I used heavy-duty foil.
  • Basting Brush

What is gochujang? 

Gochujang is a fermented Korean chili paste. It is extremely popular in Korean dishes and used for marinades, sauces, soups, glazes, and dipping.

a bottle of gochujang

It’s kind of like the Korean version of ketchup with a kick. It has a thick consistency and dark red color and is very versatile. 

What does gochujang taste like? 

Gochujang has an intense, rich flavor. It has a bit of heat, along with savory and earthy notes. It is well-rounded and has a distinct umami flavor that is hard to describe. 

How to make Gochujang BBQ ribs 

1. Fire up the smoker

Preheat your smoker to 250°F.

I used my Camp Chef Woodwind Pro with a combination of hickory pellets and apple wood chunks from Bear Mountain BBQ.

2. Prep the ribs

Remove the membrane from the back of your ribs.

To do so, insert a butter knife underneath the membrane and lift it up. Then take a paper towel and grab the membrane and pull back to remove it. 

For a more detailed explanation of how to trim spare ribs, check out our article here.

Once the membrane is removed, season all sides with our Pitmasters Pick rub.

raw seasoned ribs on a wooden board
This rub perfectly compliments our Korean bbq sauce as well, and the color is amazing. 

This is the perfect rub for these ribs as it has gochugaru flakes, which are the main ingredient in gochujang. You can also use our ultimate dry rub for ribs if you want to make your own.

3. Smoking

Place the ribs onto your smoker.

After the first hour, spritz your ribs with water to help keep them moist. Continue spritzing every 30 minutes or so or when you notice the ribs are drying out.

ribs on grill being spritzed
Spritzing will help build the bark on the ribs and aid with a nice smoke ring. 

After about 2.5 hours, the bark should be set, and your ribs should have an internal temperature of around 175°F. At this point, it’s time to wrap them in foil. 

I use heavy-duty foil and place four pats of butter down, along with brown sugar and honey.

foil with butter, brown sugar and honey on it

Then I place the ribs meat side down and wrap them tightly.

ribs on tin foil
Wrapping the ribs will also help tenderize them, as they braise in their own fat, along with the butter and honey. 

The ingredients in the wrap will give the ribs some sweetness, which will balance well with the rub and gochujang bbq sauce.

ribs wrapped in foil on the smoker

After 1.5 hours, unwrap the ribs and carefully place them meat side up onto your smoker.

You should see that the bones are sticking out a half inch or so, and they should be very tender.

ribs on the grill being brushed with glaze

Brush on the Korean BBQ sauce and let them continue to cook in the smoker for another 30 minutes to finish. 

Garnish the ribs with toasted sesame seeds and green onions and pull them off the smoker.

a rib with garnish

These not only look pretty but are super delicious and packed with umami flavor in every single bite! 

Here are some more of our rib recipes to try

Gochujang BBQ ribs

Gochujang BBQ Ribs

BBQ ribs with a spicy, sweet Asian glaze
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours
Servings: 4
Calories: 1021kcal
Author: Jordan Hanger

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat your smoker to 250°F degrees.
  • Remove membrane from ribs and season on all sides with Pitmasters Pick BBQ Rub.
  • Place ribs in the smoker for 2.5 hours. After the first hour, spritz your ribs with water to help keep them moist. Continue spritzing every 30 minutes or so or when you notice the ribs are drying out.
  • After about 2.5 hours, the bark should be set, and your ribs should temp around 175°F.
  • Wrap ribs meat side down in foil with brown sugar, pats of butter, and honey.
  • Place the wrapped ribs back in the smoker for another 1.5 hours.
  • Unwrap the ribs from the foil, flip them meat side up and glaze with Korean bbq sauce. Continue to cook them for another 30 minutes.
  • Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions.

Nutrition

Calories: 1021kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 83g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g | Monounsaturated Fat: 30g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 275mg | Sodium: 545mg | Potassium: 830mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 244IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximation only. If you’re worried you could always add a side of kale.

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