Mexican BBQ Ribs

As lockdown resulted in postponing our USA and Canada road trip, my wife and I have been vacationing vicariously through the medium of television. In a recent series, we followed a famous chef as he travelled from San Francisco down through Mexico, enjoying local cuisines on the journey. We felt inspired to do a fusion of Mexican style flavours with traditional USA food, resulting in some delicious Mexican style BBQ ribs.


Mexican BBQ Ribs

Time
15 mins prep
5-6 hours cook
Difficulty
Easy
Servings
4 servings
Serve with
Smokey chipotle beans
Wine match
Smooth Syrah
 

Inspiration From a Road Trip

Ok so not our road trip, not yet at least. Instead we drew ideas from the enthralling series Rick Stein’s Road to Mexico. In this show, a clearly excited Rick embarks on road trip from California down through Mexico. Starting in the bustling streets of San Francisco, the adventure wends its way through a myriad of diverse destinations, from the glitz of Hollywood to the rusticity of small Mexican villages. The journey ends at the picturesque east coast town of Tulum.

Whenever he stopped, Rick met up with a local chef or restauranter and cooked up a beautiful, local dish with fresh, vibrant ingredients, some of which I hadn’t encountered before. The sights of these amazing meals were as inspirational as the trip itself, I thoroughly recommend watching the series.

Rubbed with the Dizzy Pig Mole rub ready to smoke

End of the smoke stage and ready to wrap

Equipment

  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Drip tray (or roasting dish)
  • Kitchen foil
  • Measuring jug and spoons
  • Small bowl

The kitchen foil needs to be wide enough to wrap around the ribs. I use 300mm (30cm) wide rolls.

Ingredients

You have a choice of whether to use St. Louis or baby back ribs. In this recipe I used St. Louis, the only difference is the length of time of the first stage of the cook.

The ribs

  • 1 rack St. Louis or baby back ribs
  • 1-2 tbsp Dizzy Pig Molé rub
  • 1 cherry smoking chunk (optional)
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar

The glaze

  • 3-4 tbsp Dizzy Pig Molé rub
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp tequila reposado
  • 50ml water

In this recipe I used the Dizzy Pig Molé rub for those great, Mexican flavours. If you don’t have this, you can use the following, adjusting to taste:

  • 3 tsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 dried cumin
  • 1 dried coriander
  • 1 dried smoked paprika

Applying the Mexican BBQ glaze

Method

I cooked this in our Big Green Egg. It can just as easily be cooked in a standard oven, simply omit the smoking chunk.

  1. Pre-heat the oven or Big Green Egg (indirect setup) to 125°C/250°F. If using an Egg, when the coals are glowing and the temperature is stable, toss on a cherry smoking chunk and wait for the thin blue line of smoke.
  2. Remove any membrane from the base of the ribs (see hints and tips section below). Sprinkle Dizzy Pig Molé (or your own rub) over the top layer and pat it down.
  3. Place a drip tray on the Egg’s platesetter or on the shelf below where the ribs will be cooked in an oven. Then add the grid and place the ribs (meat side up) onto the grid. Close the lid/oven door and cook/smoke for 3 hours (St. Louis ribs) or 2 hours (baby back ribs).
  4. Place a large piece of kitchen foil on a table, big enough to wrap up the ribs. Fold up the edges a little and pour in the cider vinegar. Then carefully burp and open the Egg, remove the ribs and place them on the kitchen foil. Wrap the ribs inside the foil tightly.
  5. Return the wrapped ribs to the Egg/oven, cook for another 2 hours. Meanwhile, make the glaze by combining all of the glaze ingredients into a small bowl.
  6. Carefully remove the wrapped ribs from the Egg and remove the kitchen foil, there will be hot liquid inside. With a pastry brush, coat the ribs with the glaze. Place the ribs directly on the grid above the drip pan, close the Egg’s lid and cook for 30 mins.
  7. Open the Egg and slide a toothpick into the ribs in between two of the bones. If it slides in with little to no resistance, the ribs are done. Otherwise, cook for another 10-15 mins and try again.
  8. When the ribs are done, remove the rack from the Egg. Slice the ribs and serve with sides.

Mexican BBQ ribs served with smokey chipotle beans

Hints, Tips and Pictures

  1. This video clip shows how to remove membrane from the ribs:
  2. Leftovers can be heated up in an oven at 160°C until the IT is 63°C/145°F. When I did this, it also gave a lovely sticky texture to the sauce on top.
  3. This can also work on meaty baby back and spare ribs, with adjusted timings.
  4. The plated pictures in this blog post are library pictures. The quality of the finished photos weren’t up to scratch, I got the lighting wrong. Rather than get the lighting right, we tucked in to enjoy the food before it went cold.

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