Oh boy. Talk about finger lickin’ good! Serious flavours, fall apart meat and though it takes time to cook, this is very fast to prepare and it’s all made in one pan, even the sauce!
Australia is known for many great foods, but smokey, fall apart, juicy ribs is not one of them. We simply don’t have the equipment needed, nor the generations of experience and knowledge that the masters of barbecuing in the US have.
Real barbecue ribs is an art and it’s not something that everyday home cooks can manage at home.
So to make great homemade ribs at home, I think it comes down to the sauce. Yes, the rub is important, as is the cooking time and method. But ultimately, even if you cook the ribs perfectly, if the sauce is mediocre, it’s so disappointing.
Looking how tender the meat of these ribs are! And the colour of the Chipotle BBQ Sauce glazing the ribs!
Over the years, my family and I have tried and critiqued dozens of BBQ Sauce recipes.
“Too sweet,”, we’d say bluntly. “Not spicy enough.”, “Too thin, it has to be stickier.” “Did you put cinnamon in that?? It tastes weird.” “This tastes flat. You’ve gotta get the balance right.” “There’s something wrong with this, I can’t put my finger on it, but it just isn’t right.”
And the worst – “Is this store bought BBQ Sauce???” (PS It was one of my attempts, and NO it was NOT store bought!!).
I think this Chipotle BBQ Sauce has a great balance of flavours. Sweet – but not too sweet (I find many recipes by American celebrity chefs far too sweet), a bit of tang and kick of spice. The Sauce is poured over the ribs and baked so it becomes deliciously thick and intensifies in flavour because it mixes with the cooking juices. By the end of the roasting time, the ribs are coated with a thick layer of Sauce which becomes a “jam-like” consistency.
I’ve added some notes in the recipe for alternative ways to make this because I use this same recipe to cook the ribs various ways.
Are you ready to get down and dirty and get stuck into these ribs??!!
- 1½ tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1½ tbsp garlic powder
- ½ tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- ½ tbsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tbsp dried thyme
- ½ tbsp dried oregano
- 5 lb / 2.5 kg American style pork ribs, cut into individual ribs (to fit into one baking dish)
- 1 bottle dark beer (About 12 oz / 375 ml. Stout, porter or a dark ale)
- 14oz / 400g can crushed tomato
- 3.5 oz / 100g can Chipotle in Adobo Sauce, chipotle and sauce (1/2 a standard can) (Note 1)
- 1 large onion (brown, white or yellow), diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar (or 2 tbsp normal white vinegar + 1 tsp sugar)
- ⅓ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp Tabasco sauce, or other hot sauce. Adjust to taste.
- ½ tbsp salt
- Black pepper
- Fresh coriander/cilantro leaves
- Lime wedges
- Combine the Rub ingredients in a bowl.
- Pat the ribs dry, then rub with the Rub. If time permits, refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Take ribs out of the fridge, place in a large baking dish in a single layer (squished is ok, they will shrink slightly).
- Preheat oven to 160C/325F.
- Pour beer into the baking dish and cover with a lid (use foil if you don't have a lid). Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, make the Sauce.
- Take out of the oven and remove lid. Pour the sauce over the ribs, then return to the oven (uncovered).
- Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes, turning once or twice, until the ribs are cooked to your liking. The meat should be very tender and comes off the bone easily, and the sauce should be thick and "jam-like". If the pan starts looking dry, add a splash of water.
- To finish the ribs off, grill/broil for 5 to 10 minutes to get a nice browned finish on top (this is an optional step).
- Serve, garnished with fresh coriander/cilantro leaves and wedges of lime.
- Blend or process the canned tomato in a food processor, Chipotle in Adobo Sauce, onion and garlic.
- Stir through remaining ingredients. Set aside until required.
2. Making Ahead: Using this slow roasting method with the Sauce baked with the ribs, I find that the Sauce loses its intensity over time. Even the next day it is slightly milder in flavour and spiciness. My theory is that whatever chemical reaction causes stews and ragus to improve over time, the opposite occurs with things with tang and spice. If you want to retain maximum flavour but want to make ahead, here are some suggestions:
a) Stop at step 5 (ie. after roasting in beer for 1 hour). Then when ready to serve, pour the Sauce over and roast (you can make the Sauce in advance and leave it in the fridge, it won't lose its intensity if kept raw); or
b) Cook the ribs for 1½ hours, covered, just with the beer. Simmer the Sauce in a saucepan for 15 minutes until thickened (you may need to increase salt doing it this way so make sure you taste test). Then dip the ribs in the Sauce and grill on the outdoor BBQ. Because the Sauce is not roasted for a long period of time, the intensity of the Sauce does not seem to fade as much.