Food + Wine

Easy Slow Cooker ( Korean Inspired ) Glazed Pork Ribs

I thought about taking one to three of those words out of the title… but then I didn’t feel like it.
I also found it highly important that you enter knowing, without a doubt shadow, that this recipe is :

  1. Easy (always a plus)
  2. Made in a Slow Cooker (robot, take the wheel!)
  3. Korean Inspired (I am 100% not Korean and 100% a white lady)
  4. Glazed (that good kind of sticky)
  5. Pork Ribs (just in case you thought it was something un-ribby, but also see below how they are also not technically ribs.)

Clarification over whew.

(Also, it would be very remiss of me not to declare that this post was birthed last year and just never grew legs until now. It’s not the recipe’s fault; she’s a beaut. The fault lies in the lap of my life.
But aren’t you super excited to read it now because of its origin story??)

And here we go-
I’m using country style pork ribs for this recipe because they’re super cheap, easy to find, and always delicious (how Everyday Champagne, of me). But what you’re seeing in the grocery stores are not actually from the rib area of the pig, which is confusing… and reason enough for a history lesson.

‘Country Style Ribs’ are a cut of meat that started in the late 60’s by a butcher in Chicago who was having trouble selling the rib end of the boneless pork loin. The rib end is the darker, fattier, and misshapen end of the lion. And since boneless, skinless pork chops were, and still are, a popular grocery store staple, any chops sliced from it don’t come out looking as uniformly pretty as they do on the other end of the loin. Thus, the new PR campaign. (I’m actually partial to the darker rib end side of the loin… but I wasn’t around in the 60’s for my opinion to make an impact.)

Rebranding this part of the loin as ‘country style ribs’ was a huge success. So much so that in the 80’s, butchers started cutting these ‘ribs’ from the shoulder / butt of the pig because there’s more meat there than at the rib end, thus providing more opportunities to sell this popular, yet lying, cut of pork.

I see country style ribs marked down all the time at the grocery store now… I just think a lot of people don’t really know what to do with them. They’ll never win a beauty contest, but hot damn, they’re sexy as hell. So when I see them, I’m the foster mama who rescues them. This means I tend to have a lot country style ribs in my freezer, so I’m always thinking of new ways to cook them. And however I’ve prepared them, they always turn out to be really flavorful, juicy and tender.

In this case, I wanted to write my own version of those glazed boneless ‘ribs’ you find in a lot of Chinese American and Korean restaurants. They’re always guaranteed to be delicious because of the fat keeping the meat tender and the flavorful sauce they are marinated and cooked in.

Using this cut of meat was perfect for that. I’ve made this recipe several times and it always comes out really well, even when I’ve changed a few things due to inventory. So please have fun and play around with it like I do! Just stick to the method and the flavor profiles of all the ingredients, and you’ll be fine.

You’re essentially just dry ‘marinating’ the meat overnight (or at least for a few hours), slow cooking them in a sauce you’re making by just throwing some things together in the slow cooker, then forgetting about them until go-time when you glaze them in the broiler.

I love saving this meal for those days I know are gonna be bonkers. So when you feel one of those babies coming on, just set aside a few minutes the night before to season the meat, and a few more the following morning to throw them in the slow cooker before you go about your day. When you’re ready to eat, you just have a small amount of extra things to tend to and your home already smells incredible!
My preferred way to serve this is over rice garnished with green onions and cilantro, and a side of crispy green beans… but – as always – you do you.

You’ll see below that I’m including some notes on where to buy certain ingredients and also for variations in the recipe. One important note being that an excellent sub for Chinese 5 Spice seasoning blend is… Pumpkin Pie Spice! The ingredients differ a bit, but the overall takeaway is so very close… especially if you tend to find yourself with a pantry full of partially filled pumpkin pie spice jars you keep forgetting are in there year in and year out. I use it in savory applications all year round in my recipes; it’s truly a fantastic blend to play around with.

I’d also like to mention that you could make this exact same recipe using a whole pork butt for pulled pork. The dry rub and the sauce are just so good, they’d be great on almost anything!

However you decide to throw this together in your home, this meal is such a winner for so many delicious reasons.

And you, my darling, deserve nothing but the sexiest and most delicious of things.

Easy Slow Cooker Korean Inspired Glazed Pork Ribs

serves 4-6

You will be using 3-4 pounds country style pork ribs (this would be the ‘family size’ pack size if you’re picking them up pre-wrapped in the meat section)

Overnight Seasoning :

2 TB Chinese 5 Spice (or Pumpkin Pie Spice if you have that!)

2 TB Garlic Powder (not garlic salt)

2 TB Poultry Seasoning

1 TB Brown Sugar

On a large plate / sheet tray, rub your ribs all over with the blend. Cover and refrigerate all night, or at least 3 hours if you’re short on time, for best results.

The next morning, toss the seasoned pork into a large slow cooker (I use my 10 quart… you could probably get away with using a standard 6-7 quart if that’s all you have, but be cautious when adding your liquid just to be safe.)

Slow Cooker Sauce :

Add the following ingredients to the slow cooker with the marinated pork (no need to pre mix them and waste your sweet time washing another container… and don’t be too precious with the amounts here, just watch your ratios) :

Heaping 1/3 cup coconut aminos (you can use soy sauce / tamari, but I try to reduce my soy and also my sodium intake whenever possible… my preferred brand is Coconut Secret, available in most grocery stores, also online here.)

Heaping 1/3 cup hoisin sauce

Heaping 1/3 cup honey / agave / date syrup (I have used them all and even a mixture of them to equal the 1/3 cup amount and it’s always been great)

1/4 cup fermented gochujang chili garlic sauce (Mother In Law’s brand is what I use and I strongly recommend buying it, but if you don’t have it and don’t wanna, you can use Sriracha… it just won’t be as deep of an overall flavor. Most other hot sauces could also work in a pinch. I have also had great success finding Mother In Law’s Fermented Gochujang Chili Garlic Sauce at most grocery stores in the international aisle.)

1/4 cup orange marmalade

Top with a healthy sprinkling of sweet paprika, mainly for color.

pretend this picture is as beautiful and necessary as you are

Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or high for 4-5 if time is an issue.

They will be very tender at this point and simmering in a lot of sauce.

Carefully remove the pork pieces and place onto a foil-lined sheet pan (for easy clean-up).

Skim the fat from the liquid, allow the skimmed liquid to cool completely, and pour it into a small saucepan.

Preheat your broiler on high.

Whisk in 2 tsp cornstarch (if your liquid is too hot, you will get lumps so please be sure to start with a cooled sauce. You can short-cut this by removing about 1/4 cup of the liquid and placing it in a separate bowl to cool, whisking the cornstarch into that small amount until smooth, and then whisking that into the rest of the liquid.)

Boil to thicken and create your glaze. It does not take long.

Brush the pork with the glaze, and broil on high for a few minutes until caramelized.

Garnish with sesame seeds, green onions and cilantro.

Serve over rice with a green vegetable on the side.

…and if you snap a better photo of yours than I did, for goodness sake, send it over.

thanks for reading ya’ll . much love x

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