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How Heirloom Market BBQ in Atlanta Makes Gochujang Beef Ribs

When former K-pop star turned chef Jiyeon Lee and chef Cody Taylor teamed up, their natural inclination was to combine their two strengths, opening a restaurant that merges Southern barbecue with Korean-inspired sides and flavors. “Being as Southern and Texan as I am and being as traditional Korean as she is, for us to do it was a natural thing,” says Taylor.

Together, they own Heirloom Market BBQ in Atlanta, a small roadside shack that has earned a spot on the Michelin Guide for its dedication to Korean-inspired Southern barbecue. That idea manifests in many dishes on the menu, including a hot chicken sandwich, a 72-hour marinated kalbi beef ribs served with banchan, and a 12-hour marinated gochujang beef rib.

Lee and Taylor start making those ribs by peeling spare ribs and then rubbing gochujang and a seasoning blend they call “Georgia rub” onto the back of the ribs. Taylor says it helps catch the smoke once it’s put in the smoker. But put too much seasoning on the meat, and you risk burning it. “It captures the smoke, the smoke sticks to it, it’s easier to season evenly, and it adds the flavor balance that we’re looking for to go with our side items,” says Taylor.

Taylor says the restaurant uses gochujang on everything. “It’s almost like our all-purpose seasoning,” he says. “Whereas gochujang in Korea, it’s almost like their ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard combined. It’s like their all-purpose condiment.”

Before the ribs are loaded into the smoker, they’re sprinkled with black pepper. After four to five hours, the ribs get taken out of the smoker and prepared for service with banchan, which includes kimchi slaw, cucumber radish salad, sweet and spicy tofu, and other small dishes.

Watch the full video to see how Lee and Taylor make these ribs along with kalbi beef ribs, a hot chicken sandwich with pickled kimchi, brisket, and more.

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