Episode 111 - Global Melting Pot

Chipotle Ribs with Drunken Salsa

Chipotle Ribs with Drunken Salsa

Other Recipes from Planet Barbecue Episode 110 – Gulf Coast Grill


Chipotle Ribs with Drunken Salsa

Recipe Notes

  • Advance Prep: 6 to 24 hours for marinating the ribs
  • Yield: Serves: 3 to 4
  • Method: Indirect grilling/smoke-roasting


  • 2 racks pork spareribs, preferably St. Louis-cut, each 2 1/2 to 3 pounds, peeled

For the adobo marinade:

  • 3 tablespoons ancho (pure) chile powder
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 small onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Coarse salt (sea or kosher) and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup vegetable oil

For the Drunken Salsa:

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 dried pasilla chiles
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup beer, preferably Mexican
  • 2 tablespoons mezcal or tequila
  • 1/4 cup water, or more as needed
  • Coarse salt (sea or kosher) and coarsely ground black pepper

For serving:

  • Finely grated Cotija cheese (optional), for dusting

You’ll also need:

  • 2 to 3 chunks of smoking wood; food processor and/or blender

Recipe Steps

1: Place the ribs on a rimmed sheet pan.

2: Make the marinade: Place the chile powder, cocoa powder, chipotle chiles, garlic, onion, cilantro, orange zest, honey, and salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor or a blender jar. Process or blend, adding enough vegetable oil to make a pourable emulsion. Spread both racks of ribs with the marinade (both sides). Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours. The longer the marinating time, the richer the flavor.

3: Make the Drunken Salsa: Heat the 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pasilla chiles and fry until crisped and puffed. Transfer the chiles to a paper towel to drain. Add the onion to the hot oil and sauté until golden brown. Remove from the heat and let the onions cool. Place the cilantro, honey, vinegar, beer, mezcal and water into the bowl of a food processor or a blender jar. Break up the fried chiles, discarding the stems; add to the mixture along with the cooled onions. Blend until the salsa is relatively smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4: In the meantime, set up your grill for indirect grilling/smoke-roasting and heat to 275 degrees. Place 2 or 3 wood chunks on the coals to generate smoke. Brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the rib racks on the grill grate, away from direct heat. Grill for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is tender and has shrunk back from the ends of the bones by about 1/2 inch. During the last few minutes of grilling, brush the ribs on both sides with the Drunken Salsa; sizzle for about 5 minutes. Transfer the ribs to a cutting board. Turn the ribs bone-side up and slice between the bones. Dust, if desired with the cheese. Serve the ribs with the Drunken Salsa.

Recipe Tips

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