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Korean flavour substitutions needed

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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Joined: 25 January 2010
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    Posted: 26 April 2012 at 11:09
My wonderful wife bought a couple of really nice-looking racks of ribs yesterday. Our local grocery always labels (and prices) them as spare ribs, but they look very much like baby-backs to me. Take a look at them, from a project I've done in the past based on Alton Brown's recipe, and let me know if you agree:
 
 
Those things are either baby-backs, or spares cut from very high up, if you ask me; anyway, they've always teasted really good, and have been pretty meaty, so we grab them on the infrequent occasions that the local grocery has them.
 
Anyway, I am toying with the idea of adapting the Bo Ssam concept for these ribs:
 
 
However, there are two ingredients that I am simply not going to be able to get within 130 miles of where I live (Great Falls), possibly even 250 (Helena or Billings) or more:
 
2 tablespoons fermented bean-and-chili paste (ssamjang, available in many Asian markets)
1 tablespoon chili paste (kochujang, available in many Asian markets)
 
As you can see, I don't need much, just a couple of tablespoons; however, from what I can see, these are indeed integral for Ssam sauce.
 
I will check our fairly-well-stocked "foreign" aisle at the IGA in Havre, where I work, but I doubt I will find these things. In the meantime, any suggestions for commonly-found substitutions? The only thing I have on-hand that MIGHT be close is "sweet Thai chili sauce....."
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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Joined: 21 February 2012
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 April 2012 at 16:06
Hard to tell from those pix, Ron. But I'd say you have one of two things:
 
1. Racks trimmed to St. Louis style. These are, essentially, spares that have the heavy ends cut off, and the skirt trimmed away.
 
2. Spares trimmed down to what Sam's Club calls "back ribs." Not baby backs, you understand. These are spares trimmed down to resemble baby backs, only more meaty. Sam's is the only place I've ever seen that nomenclature used.
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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 April 2012 at 16:09

i'd agree with you, brook - if i had to guess, i'd say option #2, but the bones aren't the flat, wide bones i am used to seeing with spares, even st. louis trimmed spares. they are rounder and have that heavy curve, like baby backs. no big deal, they're great either way ~ plus, they aren't "enhanced," which is something i don't mind but try to avoid.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 April 2012 at 01:26
Ron...I'm sure you must have Thai chili paste available? Thai food is so popular now...I would think a bit of their chili paste would be an adequate substitution.

If I were you and was able to acquire the bean paste (either black or red) I'd just add some of the Thai chili paste and give it a go. I'm sure it will be wonderful...I've been looking forward to trying  a type of Bo ssam myself. Good luck!
Go ahead...play with your food!
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