Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible


Barbecue University™ Chili Verde

Recipe by Steven Raichlen

Though this is a relatively easy recipe, it does require you to control your grill temperature. The chiles and onions are charred over high heat, then smoking temperatures are required for the pork. Finally, you combine everything in a Dutch oven for a gentle 300 degree braise. Serve it over burritos, enchiladas, rellenos, eggs, or on its own with warmed tortillas.


  • Yield: 12 servings
  • Equipment: 2 cups wood chips or chunks, preferably mesquite, soaked for 1 hour to cover in water, then drained
Print

  • 20 to 24 fresh chiles, preferably a mix of poblanos, Anaheim, Hatch, or New Mexican chiles
  • 2 to 3 jalapeno chiles
  • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds fresh tomatillos, husked and washed, then halved
  • 2 large Spanish onions, peeled and cut into quarters through the stem ends
  • 4 to 5 pounds country-style pork ribs, bone-in or boneless, each 3/4- to 1-inch thick
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 12-ounce bottle or can of beer in a spray bottle
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, coarse stems removed, a few sprigs reserved for serving
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cups chicken broth, or more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • Sour cream or Mexican crema, for serving (optional)

Step 1: Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. Arrange the chile peppers, jalapenos, tomatillos, and onion wedges directly on the grill grate and grill until the skin on the chiles is blistered and blackened and the onions are charred, turning with tongs as needed. (Note: In class, we used a roaster for the chiles manufactured by Roastemup. It attaches to a rotisserie spit, and tumbles the chiles.)

Step 2: Transfer the chiles, tomatillos, and onion wedges to a large bowl and let cool. Peel, stem, and seed the chiles, straining and reserving the juices. Remove any extremely charred layers from the onions and tomatillos. Coarsely chop the chiles, onions, tomatillos, and garlic. Working in two batches, process the chiles, onions, tomatillos, cilantro, garlic, 6 cups of chicken broth, cumin, and oregano in the bowl of a food processor. Transfer to one or two Dutch ovens or other heat-proof casserole dishes.

Step 3: In the meantime, set up the grill for indirect grilling by raking the coals into two piles, placing a large drip pan in the center. Aim for a temperature of 225 to 250 degrees F. Or set up a smoker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Throw 1/2 cup of wood chips or chunks on each pile of coals. Replace halfway through the smoking time. If using a gas grill, place all of the wood chips or chunks in the smoker box or in a foil smoker pouch and run the grill on high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to medium-low.

Step 4: Generously season the pork ribs on both sides with salt and black pepper. Lay the pork on the grill grate over the drip pan and smoke, turning once, for 1 hour. Spray periodically with the beer to keep the meat moist. Remove the pork from the grill grate and bury in the pureed chili mixture.

Step 5: Cover the Dutch oven(s) and place in the center of the grill grate. Cover the grill and cook the chili for 1-1/2 hours, adding enough additional coals to keep the grill temperature at approximately 300 degrees F.

Step 6: Carefully transfer the chili in the Dutch oven(s) to a heatproof surface. With tongs, transfer the pork country-style ribs to a cutting board. Remove the bones, if any, and chop the pork into bite-size pieces. Return the meat to the chili and stir to distribute. Taste for seasoning, adding more chicken broth, cumin, or salt if needed. Serve in bowls with sour cream or Mexican crema, if desired, and top with sprigs of cilantro.