Is there anything more felicitous than sinking your teeth into a moist beef rib, caramelized to perfection and bursting with smoky, peppery notes? It tingles the tongue in a way that hits all parts of it like an electric current. I love the way the four flavors of sweet, salt, hot, and omami (that’s savory to some of us) hit your mouth in one bite. I first stumbled on these luscious, lacquered wands of paradise a few years ago when I went into Koreatown in midtown Manhattan to investigate a bathhouse some of my fashionista friends had discovered. I still go to the bathhouse, and I always revive myself after being pummeled, steamed, oiled, and baked in the sauna for two hours (looking good is exhausting) by sampling one of the many Korean barbecue joints in the neighborhood. My friends roll their eyes, telling me the point of going through that kind of medieval torture is to be more svelte, and here I am with a plate of ribs piled high. But I can’t resist. My mind never strays from food for long.
Mix all ingredients except the ribs in a large bowl. Combine well. Place the ribs in a baking dish and pour the mixture over them. Slather the ribs with your hands to coat them well and evenly with the sauce. Marinate for 2 to 3 hours, covered, at room temperature.Heat the grill. Place the ribs on the grill rack or barbecue when the coals are glowing red hot and white and the flames have died down, and baste with any leftover sauce. Turn often to cook both sides, until the meat is brown, tender, and caramelized.