Mexican Back Ribs

Quantities below will produce 6 appetizers  – I made twice the recipe and was just enough for 6 generous first courses.  The result was so good we made it again, and again..

  • 4 tsp coriander seed
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 150 grams achiote paste (buy in Mexican Grocery, in 100g packages, on Merivale Rd just below Carling). Also available Achiote Powder, i am told it can be made into a paste .. did not try yet
  • 7 garlic clove
  • 1 kg back pork ribs, cut into 2 rib wide portions
  • 500 ml orange juice (made from frozen concentrate works adequately)
  • salt & pepper

Mezcal Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup jalapeno hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 shot mescal, or to taste  (I used tequila, could not get mescal)
  1. Grind spices.
  2. Mix spices with achiote paste and small amount of water to make pliable.
  3. Salt and pepper ribs. Rub with paste until covered on both sides.
  4. Place in Dutch oven or other deep-sided pan. Pour in orange juice, top up with water to completely cover.
  5. Add garlic cloves. Cover and braise 1.5 hours at 350 degrees. Stop when the meat is soft when pierced by fork.
  6. Up to this point the preparation can be done a day in advance. If indeed this is what you are doing, do not take the ribs out if the soup, store all covered  in the fridge.
  7. Mix ingredients of the glaze in a small bowl.
  8. Heat grill or barbecue.
  9. Take the ribs out of the marinade, let them drip; the marinade can be reserved for later (see note below).
  10. Place ribs on grill, basting with glaze.
  11. Grill 5 minutes each side, basting on each turn.
  12. Baste once more before serving.

Note 1 : Reddish soupy substance you are left with after the braising is an excellent base for the soup. I freeze it, and, when an exotic soup fits the menu, i re-heat and add home made noodles, crepes sliced into noodle shapes or rice – perhaps some green garnish – and off we go!

Note 2: Before you freeze the soup base make sure to remove the grease (when cooled down with ribs overnight the grease collects on the top and can be easily removed with a slotted spoon.  If you decide to use the ribs immediately, you may still chill the soup enough to collect the grease before placing the good stuff  in freezer containers for the future.

Note 3: it did happen that i was in a hurry or did not have enough marinade components on hand. I used the frozen one instead – worked not as fantastic as the original, but quite adequate (definitely lacking salt, for some reason).

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