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Mexican-Inspired Sweet Chili Ribs Recipe

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Mexican style ribs

Mexican style ribs

Mexican Pork Ribs Recipe

What do you do when you love the tangy and spicy flavors of Thai sweet chili ribs but don't have the access to quality Asian ingredients? Having found myself in the same predicament, I decided to improvise with Mexican flavors. After all, Mexico does have some unique sweets and an abundance of chili peppers, so why not? With these ingredients, I really didn't know what to expect. To my pleasant surprise, the finished ribs were succulent, moist, fall-off-the-bone tender, and seasoned perfectly to satisfy both your sweet and spicy needs. This recipe instantly claimed a spot as one of my favorites, and I'm positive that you'll think the same!


Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

3 hours 15 min

3 hours 30 min

Serves two


For the Meat

  • 1 pound pork loin ribs
  • Salt and pepper

For the Sweet Chili Glaze

  • 2 small roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 teaspoon pasilla chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon New Mexico chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon annatto powder
  • 2 teaspoons piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar)
  • Fresh cilantro

Tips for Great Ribs

Before proceeding, I thought it would be wise to share a couple tips to ensure success tailored to your individual needs.

  • The first tip is to use pork ribs instead of beef. I buy high-quality organic pork for cheaper than conventional beef. Pork works very well with Mexican cuisine and it is an affordable meat for lower budgets.
  • The second tip is to be creative. Use chili peppers that you like or just adventure out and try some new ones. Go mild or super spicy; it's up to you.


These succulent ribs will need to slow cook in the oven for up to four hours, but preparing and finishing the ribs takes no time at all. I chose to slow cook in the oven using only salt and white pepper as seasoning. This allows the ribs to render in their own fat while maintaining great natural flavor. The meat is so tender and moist that it's hard to keep it on the bone.

  1. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit (135C).
  2. Trim excess fat from the ribs. If the membrane on the back of the ribs wasn't removed by the butcher, now would be a good time to do so. Don't cut all the fat off as you will need to keep some to ensure the final ribs are moist.
  3. Season both sides of the ribs generously with salt and pepper. Place bone side down in a roasting pan. Cover and seal the pan well with two layers of aluminum foil. A good seal will prevent the meat from drying out.
  4. Bake in oven for 3-4 hours depending on how many ribs you have. I let my pound of ribs cook for three and a half hours.
  5. For the sweet chili glaze, quarter your roma tomatoes and place on a small baking sheet. Add to oven and let roast for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool. When cool, peel off the skins and add to blender/food processor. Add juice from half a lime and all the spices minus the cilantro from the above recipe. Process until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste and set aside until ribs are ready.
  6. When the ribs are ready, remove the pan from the oven and allow to rest for ten minutes. Don't open the foil during this period. The trick is to allow the ribs to absorb all their juices while they cool.
  7. When rested, brush on a healthy amount of your sweet chili glaze and place the ribs top rack under the broiler for 5 minutes. Keep an eye on your ribs! They can and will burn if you're not paying attention.
  8. From here, all you have to do is cut, sprinkle on some cilantro, and enjoy!
  9. Be sure to save the bones. A couple hours with a few vegetables, and you'll have homemade pork stock. Now that's getting the most of your meat.
The finished ribs

The finished ribs

Hope You Enjoy!

These ribs celebrate the sweet and spicy flavors that traditional Mexican ingredients have to offer. Though it might not be a traditional meal in itself, it's still one that will light your taste buds up. If you've got any leftovers, the rib meat broken up is perfect for tacos and burritos. Now that you're set to make great ribs, go out there and do it! Thanks for reading my recipe.