One meat dish that cannot go unlauded in Korean cuisine is “doeji kalbi,” gochujang marinated pork ribs. I grew up eating doeji kalbi at a small restaurant chain named Ham Ji Park (Los Angeles), which specializes in it along with a few other pork dishes.\nI still remember the aroma of the pork cooking when walking into the dining room for a down-home meal. The chile marinated meat and charred bits coming together in a single bite is a gustatory pleasure that is hard to forget.\nMy home version is so easy to make though — you’ll be able to recreate this dish at home with little effort and high reward.\nIngredients\n\n2.25 pounds pork spare ribs\n¼ medium yellow onion, roughly chopped\n⅓ cup gochujang (plus 1 tablespoon gochujang for glaze)\n2 tablespoons gochugaru (chili pepper)\n¼ cup rice syrup\n3 garlic cloves\n1 teaspoon ginger, roughly chopped\n2 teaspoons sesame oil\n3 tablespoons cup soy sauce\n¼ teaspoon black pepper\n\nDirections\n\nStep 1\nIn a blender, combine all ingredients except pork. Blend until smooth.\n\nStep 2\nPortion the rib rack in halves or thirds and place in a baking pan. Pour the marinade (saving ¼ cup for glazing later) over the ribs, making sure every part is covered. Cover and marinate overnight.\n\nStep 3\nNext day, preheat the oven to 275 F. Remove rib sections from the marinade pan and wrap each piece tightly in foil. Bake in the oven for 2.5 to 3 hours until ribs are tender but not falling apart. Remove the ribs from the oven.\n\nStep 4\nSwitch oven setting to broil. Remove pork ribs from the foil and place on a foil-lined sheet tray, meat side up. Mix the remaining glaze with 1 tablespoon gochujang and cover the meat evenly. Broil until caramelized. Slice into individual ribs and enjoy!\nServing suggestion: Freshly steamed short-grain rice and kimchi.\nPairing idea\n\nSince spring is around the corner, “umeshu” (plum sake) came to mind as a pairing with the spicy pork ribs. Spring is ume season, and the unripe fruits are picked to be turned into umeshu. The smell of the freshly-picked ume is the smell of spring — bright and floral with fruity plum notes.\nFor pairing with the pork ribs, I suggest Aiyu “Plum Sake,” brewed with Shiro-Kaga plums in Ibaraki prefecture. Lightly sweet and balanced with a natural sourness typical of ume, this makes a great beverage choice for the spicy pork ribs. The umeshu is so refreshing, while the fruity notes complement the spicy notes. Try it on the rocks and if you fancy a splash of club soda. This is a recipe and pairing to remember for the beautiful sunny days to come!