Korean BBQ: Wine and the Kimchi Conundrum

photo-of-grilled-barbecue-3186654 (1)

One of the fun things about cooking is that we need not follow recipes precisely.

Leave out one or two of the ingredients, add one or two of your own, and you can make a dish your own.

That’s certainly true of Korean barbecue. You’ll encounter kimchi in many Korean BBQ recipes, and it can create a wine-pairing nightmare. Spicy, fermented cabbage isn’t something that goes well with wine.

At the same time, an argument can made that it really isn’t Korean BBQ without kimchi.

What to do?

For the recipe that follows, which includes kimchi among the ingredients, opt for a well-chilled sparkling wine. The “freshness” of the wine will help mitigate some of the spiciness of the kimchi.

Another option: Remove kimchi from the dish, and opt instead for a California Zinfandel.

The good news is that you don’t have to decide what to do right away, because the kimchi is added after the ribs are cooked. That means you can soak in the scents of the ribs wafting from the slow cooker throughout the day, and determine whether you want sparkling wine or Zinfandel as meal time approaches.

The following recipe — which includes a kimchi option — makes six servings.



  • 3-lbs. pork loin baby back ribs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 12-oz. jar pineapple preserves
  • ½ cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup kimchi, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped green onion


  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Cut ribs into two-rib portions, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place ribs on unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil 6 inches from heat for 10 minutes, or until browned, turning one time.
  4. Transfer ribs to a 4- or 5-quart slow cooker.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the pineapple preserves, pineapple juice, ginger, soy sauce and garlic. Pour sauce over ribs.
  6. Cover and cook on low for 6.5 hours, or on high for 3.25 hours.
  7. Transfer ribs to a platter, and skim fat from cooking liquid.
  8. Drizzle some of the cooking liquid over ribs, and sprinkle with kimchi and green onions.
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Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes
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