Mexican-style chilli ribs

Mexican-style chilli ribs

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(7 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 2 hrs, 15 mins plus marinating


Serves 4
Serve these sticky chipotle pork ribs come rain or shine- they can be finished by grill or barbecue

Nutrition and extra info

  • Easily doubled

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal414
  • fat17g
  • saturates5g
  • carbs23g
  • sugars21g
  • fibre1g
  • protein44g
  • salt1g
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  • 1½ kg pork spare rib - the meatier the better (3 per person)

For the dry rub

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp dried oregano, or 2 tbsp fresh leaves, chopped



    Closely related to marjoram, of which it is the wild equivalent, oregano has a coarser, more…

  • 1 heaped tbsp dark soft brown sugar
  • 1 lime, zested then cut into wedges, to serve



    The same shape, but smaller than…

For the chipotle barbecue sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 tbsp dark soft brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp chipotle paste
  • juice 1 lime



    The same shape, but smaller than…


  1. Mix the dry rub ingredients with ½ tsp flaky sea salt, then massage into the meat. Marinate for at least 1 hr, or ideally up to 1 day in the fridge.

  2. To make the sauce, heat the oil in a small saucepan and soften the garlic for 1 min. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, plus 2 tbsp water and simmer for a few secs until the sugar melts. Season with salt and set aside.

  3. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Put the ribs in a roasting tin in 1 fairly snug layer. Pour in 100ml hot water, cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 2 hrs until the meat pulls easily from the bones. Drain off any fat. The ribs can be cooled and kept in the fridge for up to 2 days.

  4. For the final stage of cooking, get the barbecue ready and wait until the coals are glowing white and grey. Cook the ribs for 4-5 mins on each side until dark golden and hot through – use tongs to turn them carefully. Brush with some of the chipotle sauce and give the ribs 1 min more to char here and there. Serve on a platter with the rest of the sauce for spooning, lime wedges, plus a big bowl of Smoky corn & avocado salsa (see related recipes, right).

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Comments, questions and tips

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7th Jul, 2017
My partner loves ribs so I thought I'd try this recipe for him and we both love it. It is now one of my go to dishes. The meat falls off the bone and the sauce is so tasty. I always make double the sauce now though so there is plenty for spooning over when serving. Glad I came across this recipe!
15th Apr, 2017
OMG, these ribs are to die for. You get the sauce first, when eating them and then the spice rub comes through. The flavour is incredible. I just couldn't stop until i'd finished the whole lot. Try them, you won't be disappointed.
4th Sep, 2016
Absolutely delicious!!!
12th Aug, 2015
Really delicious - I served these to friends at a BBQ and everyone loved them. Very easy to prepare with pretty much everything done in advance. I put the rub on the night before which really gave the ribs excellent flavour and braising them kept them really moist and tender. I'd recommend doubling the quantity of sauce so there is plenty.
belllinda123456's picture
11th Jul, 2014
I love ribs..they are too delicious and yummy...I just eager to try this at home... :)
18th Feb, 2014
Lovely! added a bit more chilli for kick to the rub and then added olive oil to turn it into a marinade - left it overnight - well tender and tasty - will make again!
11th Jul, 2013
I love ribs and am always keen to try a new recipe. This came out very well, with great flavours. The dry rub was easy, but I ended up cooking the ribs for closer to three hours for then to be really tender. The sauce was fab but I ended up using all of it to cook the ribs with so would double to quantity next time so I'd have extra to serve on the side. will be making this again
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