dinner/korean food/meat/recipes

Kalbi Baby Back Ribs Recipe

Posted April 21, 2014 by Stephanie
kalbi baby back ribs recipe

kalbi baby back ribs recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

I used to be considered somewhat of a “baby back ribs expert” in my family. Back in high school I had an obsession with barbecue baby back ribs. I didn’t have a DIY smoker or anything like that. Nope, I just had my mom’s trusty oven (the one that locked the turkey in it on Thanksgiving, but that’s a story for another day) and store-bought barbecue sauce. Still it was enough to impress my family and that was good enough for me.

kalbi baby back ribs recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

I can’t remember the last time I bought jarred barbecue sauce. It was probably back in high school. These days I lean more towards marinades instead of sauces — one of my favourite marinades is Korean kalbi. Kalbi is sweet, savoury and addictive. It’s usually used with cross-cut beef short ribs, but it tastes pretty good with pretty much any grilled meat and especially good with baby back ribs.

kalbi baby back ribs recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

Speaking of BABIES, I’m excitedly awaiting my new baby nephew’s arrival. My sister-in-law is in labour as I type and I’m wishing her a speedy and smooth labour. I’m definitely making her some celebratory ribs when she’s up for it. Congrats Kevin, Kim and Isaac! I love you guys SO MUCH!

kalbi baby back ribs recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

Kalbi Baby Back Ribs Recipe
makes 1 rack of ribs


  • 1 rack of baby back ribs
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 pear, minced with juices or finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, minced or finely grated
  • 1/4 cup honey


  • sliced green onions
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • toasted sesame oil

If there’s a thin membrane on the back of your ribs (when the ribs are placed meaty side down) loosen and remove. Place the ribs in a deep baking dish, meat-side down. Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, pear, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic and onion in a small bowl. Pour over the ribs making sure all surfaces are coated. Marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 325°F. Remove the ribs from the marinade (reserve the marinade) and wrap the ribs (again, meat side down) tightly in foil. Place the ribs on a deep baking sheet and bake for 2 and a half to 3 hours. When the ribs are done, they should be fork tender.

Fifteen minutes before the ribs are done cooking, take the reserved marinade and add the honey. Bring to a boil over high heat and then turn down and reduce until the sauce is sticky and slightly thick. Remove the ribs from the oven and carefully unwrap the foil. Carefully place the ribs back onto the baking sheet (they should be very tender so be careful when moving them) and brush on some of the reduced marinade.

Turn the oven to broil and broil until a deep brown, 3-5 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip so the ribs are meat-side up and brush on the marinade. Broil until deep brown, about 3-5 minutes. Keep an eye on the ribs as they are broiling as oven temperatures vary. Remove from the oven, slice and garnish with sliced green onions, toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil. Enjoy!

kalbi baby back ribs recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com


  1. Leah Davis says:

    I am 100% sure my husband would LOVE these. Definitely going to give these a try this summer!!

    1. steph says:

      Summertime ribs, here we come!!!!

  2. Anjanee says:

    These sound delicious! Looking forward to trying them!

    1. steph says:

      Thanks Anjanee!

  3. Erika says:

    OMG.. My husband cooks ribs all summer..I mean it’s like the southern way.. We will definitely add this recipe to the mix.

    1. steph says:

      I like the Southern way :D

  4. Cindy says:

    I am definitely going to give these a try. I like that they’re done in the oven, so they’re doable even when it’s 40 below.

    1. steph says:

      What, you don’t grill in the winter!? :P

  5. Jeffrey says:

    That’d also work well on a rack of lamb I think.

    1. steph says:


  6. Ceme says:

    I don’t understand the part about the reserved honey. Please clarify because I want to make this. Also would it work with beef short ribs?

    1. steph says:

      Beef short ribs are usually grilled as opposed to cooked in the oven. All of the marinade ingredients (except for the honey) are used to marinate the ribs. When you remove the ribs from the marinade to wrap in foil, keep the marinade. That reserved marinade is what you add the honey to.

  7. Sophie says:

    Love the pear in there! Sounds so good!

  8. cynthia says:

    Yeeesss this looks soooo drool-worthy, Steph! Kalbi marinade is one of my ultimate favorites — such a sucker for sweet and savory (especially with that pear, mm!!!) Love.

  9. Kat says:

    In the recipe – you say to add the honey when making the marinade; and again when adding the reserved marinade to glaze the ribs. Do we need a quarter cup of honey each time?

    1. steph says:

      Whoops, it’s fixed now, thanks!

  10. Funny how Korean marinades always have pear or pear juice in them. Didn’t even know pears were native to Korea at all…

    1. mindi says:

      Hi J.S.,
      Pyrus pyrifolia, or commonly known as “asian pear,” is native to China and Korea. :)

  11. Jennifer says:

    I just prepared 2 marinated batches in the fridge. So excited! I realized though that the white onion isn’t mentioned in the instructions. I assume it’s thrown in with the soy sauce/brown sugar/pear mixture for the marinade?

    1. steph says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      Yes, it’s in the soy mixture. I’ve fixed the recipe. Thanks!

  12. Rahul says:

    Great recipe, can’t wait to try it out. Pics are making me drool. Gotta say I love your blog and your collection of recipes and the way you have displayed everything BUT I do have one tiny complaint.. theres no print friendly option where only the recipe gets printed along with a picture :(

    That would truly make your blog perfect. Regardless, thank you very much for all your work!

  13. Celia says:

    It’s been much too long since I’ve made ribs. Trying these this week. Thanks!

  14. gahhh delicious!!! my husband is vegetarian so i never get a chance to meat it up. my dad, however, would love these… stoked to give it a try! (PS – congrats auntie!)

  15. Wendy says:

    These ribs were so good! Between two of us, we nearly finished a whole rack. We will be making this again very, very soon.

  16. Randall Cobb says:

    An excellent recipe! There was nothing I had to tweak, it was spot on and my guests loved it. I did a test run prior to the dinner party and my test rats left nothing on the plate. Thanks for making me look good!!

  17. Richard says:

    they are marinating in the frig as I write this. Will have for dinner tomorrow night , with family & friends. More to follow

  18. -leek says:

    These look so tasty! I haven’t made ribs before, so these will be the first! Can’t wait!

  19. Marisa says:

    What can be served on the side with these? Going to start making them tonight!

  20. Rawi Sara says:

    you food pix r so beautiful. maybe you should have an article on how you done ur food photography ^^

  21. Joshua dixon says:

    These were a huge winner tonight for my friends and family. Thank you for the creative inspiration to bring this amazing goodness to the table. I’m a chef, and I generally exhibit all the bad habits that our field has to offer- like not following recipes very well. However, your ability to write a recipe that, when followed, is some of the best instruction I have ever listened to. There are quite a few things that you have posted that have been adopted as standard operating procedure. I took some creative license today with this recipe, just to adapt to life and the timing considerations it that can bring- the results were amazing. They all asked me for the recipe, so I just emailed the link to give credit where it is due. Funny and good note- the ribs were so popular that I started to run out of food. I had some commercially prepared Carniitas which I simply warmed up in some remaining sauce- turned out just as well as the ribs! If I had any leftovers, they would make an insane taco with some kimchi and other garnish. This was an extroidanarily long way of saying “thank you” for all the efforts you go through to write and describe a great recipe. I go through the process of creating recipes for my clients on a regular basis, and wish that I had your skills to communicate it as well as you do.

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      thank you so much for taking the time to write – i really appreciate it. lots of times, only the negative comments make it through, so this just warms my heart to hear that you and your friends and family really enjoyed this recipe! :)

  22. Jacob Crim says:

    I am going to make four racks for the Super Bowl this weekend. Do you think it would be ok to put all the marinade components into a blender and plus it so its still relatively chunky, not yet fully pureed? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      yes, that would definitely work, just try to keep the pear and onions on the slightly chunky side! sounds like it’s gonna be a tasty superbowl! :)

  23. Cyndi says:

    I made these for a dinner party on Saturday night, and they were absolutely perfect. Thank you so much for the recipe and cooking method!

  24. lg says:

    I want to make these this weekend for Father’s day. How sweet are they?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi lg,
      they’re on the sweet side, but super sweet. if you want to cut down on the sugar, take the sugar out of the marinade, but keep the honey. hope that helps!

      1. lg says:

        Ok. Thanks for the advice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

$(function(){ var trigger = $('.hamburger'), overlay = $('.overlay'), isClosed = false; trigger.click(function () { hamburger_cross(); }); function hamburger_cross() { if (isClosed == true) { overlay.hide(); trigger.removeClass('is-open'); trigger.addClass('is-closed'); isClosed = false; } else { overlay.show(); trigger.removeClass('is-closed'); trigger.addClass('is-open'); isClosed = true; } } $('[data-toggle="offcanvas"]').click(function () { $('#wrapper').toggleClass('toggled'); }); bindBehavior.subscribe(); });