Mexican-style chilli ribs

Contains pork – recipe is for non-Muslims only
Serve these sticky chipotle pork ribs come rain or shine- they can be finished by grill or barbecue

  • Prep:15 mins
    Cook:2 hrs 15 mins
    plus marinating
  • Serves 4
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 414
  • fat 17g
  • saturates 5g
  • carbs 23g
  • sugars 21g
  • fibre 1g
  • protein 44g
  • salt 1g


  • 1½ kg pork spare rib - the meatier the better (3 per person)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp dried oregano, or 2 tbsp fresh leaves, chopped
  • 1 heaped tbsp dark soft brown sugar
  • 1 lime, zested then cut into wedges, to serve
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 fat garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 tbsp dark soft brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp chipotle paste
  • juice 1 lime


  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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