Pork ribs don’t yield a great deal of meat, but it's sweet and tender, if cooked properly. You can cook the ribs low and slow, which breaks down the connective tissue, making the meat very soft, or over higher heat (as with this recipe), which gives the pork a little more bite.
This (or a similar) marinade is often used for Korean barbecue, although usually for thin slices of pork belly, rather than ribs. Ribs are easier when cooking for a crowd – just put them on or under the grill (depending on whether it’s an outdoor barbecue or indoor oven) and cook them all at once, instead of slice by slice on a tabletop cooker.
If your supermarket doesn't carry gochujang (Korean chilli paste) and gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes), you'll need to visit a shop specialising in Korean ingredients. While you're there, pick up some kimchi and banchan (side dishes) for serving with the pork ribs.
Roughly chop the garlic cloves, nashi pear and onion and put them in the bowl of a food processor (or use a blender or immersion blender). Mince the ginger and two of the spring onions and add them to the bowl. Process the ingredients to a paste, then add the gochujang, malt syrup (or corn syrup), soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, salt and gochugaru and process briefly.
Cut the pork ribs between the bones into individual ribs and put them in a large bowl. Add the marinade and mix well so the ribs are evenly coated. Refrigerate for four hours (or longer), mixing occasionally. Take them from the fridge while heating the grill.
If you are cooking the ribs on an outdoor grill, give yourself enough time to heat the coals so they are ready when you want to cook. Spread the white-hot coals in an even layer then place the grill rack on top, about 6cm (2⅓in) above the heat. Lightly brush the grill rack with cooking oil. If you are cooking the ribs under the oven grill, set the heat on high. Line the baking trays with aluminum foil.
Lay the ribs on the grill rack (if cooking outdoors) or on the baking trays (if using the oven). Spread some of the marinade left in the bowl over the ribs. If cooking outdoors, cover the grill with the lid; if using the oven, place the tray about 6cm from the heating element. Cook for 20 minutes or until the ribs are nicely charred; if they brown too fast, move the rack or baking trays further away from the heat. Turn the ribs over and brush them with more of the marinade. Cook until the ribs are tender and slightly charred (about 45 minutes in total). If cooking the ribs outside, you’ll need to watch them more carefully and move them around on the grill, because the heat won’t be as even.
Pile the ribs on a serving plate. Cut the remaining spring onions into 5mm (¼in) pieces and scatter them over the ribs. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with a selection of kimchi and banchan.