Along with the Avocado Chimichurri Bruschetta, we were also served some amazing frilled ribs during lunch at Border Grill. The ribs were fantastic, covered in a spice rub, lightly charred on the grill and finished with a spicy-sweet glaze. They were also so tender that the meat slid right off the bone once you started to eat. When chefs Susan and Mary sue demonstrated the recipe for the ribs, they looked so easy to put together that I knew this was also a recipe that I would try at home.
I enjoy making ribs, but usually don’t grill them because I find that grilled ribs aren’t usually quite as tender as oven-cooked ribs – especially when I am the one making them. For these ribs, I started them on the oven and finished them on the grill, which made it much easier for me to check on the doneness of the ribs as they cooked, but also gave them that grill flavor and allowed the glaze to set.
The ribs start with a spice rub that has a lot of ancho chili in it. This type of chili pwoder has a mild heat and a great flavor. It is a perfect base for the glaze and balances out as the ribs cook, so don’t be too tempted to cut back on the amount of pepper in the rub. The glaze has garlic and jalapeno in it, but it also isn’t too hot because that heat is balanced out by lots of honey and lime juice. The honey not only adds sweetness to the ribs, it is also what gives the ribs that perfectly sticky-glazed finished when they are done cooking.
This recipe is quite easy to prepare, since there is a lot of hands-off cooking time. The salsa, rub and glaze can also all be prepared well in advance and only used when you’re ready to cook. You can even prepare the ribs completely ahead of time, roasting them in the oven until they’re tender and them storing them, well-wrapped, in the refrigerator until you are ready to throw them on the grill to heat up, glaze and serve.
Border Grill’s Cumin-Glazed Grilled Ribs
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup ancho chile powder
1/4 cup ground cumin
2 tbsp salt
4 ½ lbs pork baby back ribs
1/4 cup finely chopped garlic
2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp ground cumin
3 tbsp hot sauce (such as Franks)
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp salt
1 cup honey
Preheat oven to 300F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together paprika, ancho chili powder, cumin and salt.
Remove silverskin from ribs and place in a large roasting pan. Coat ribs completely with rub. Place in the oven and cook for 45 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven, fill the roasting pan with 1/4-inch of water (approx 2 cups) and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Return pan to oven and cook for an additional 75-90 minutes, until ribs are tender when poked with a fork but not falling apart.
While the ribs cook, prepare the glaze.
In a large bowl, whisk together garlic, jalapeno, cumin, hot sauce, lime juice, salt and honey.
Preheat your grill just before the ribs are done. When ribs are tender, put them on a very hot grill and glaze them generously with the glaze. Close the grill and allow the glaze to set for 2 minutes. Repeat the glazing process in 2-3 additional turns, until ribs are well coated and have a slight char to them.
Serve immediately, topped with pineapple salsa (recipe below) if desired.
Serves about 4-6
Tequila Pineapple Salsa
2 tbsp lime juice, preferably fresh
2 tbsp tequila
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 ripe pineapple, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (approx 3 cups)
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl, combine lime juice, tequila, brown sugar and pineapple. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes. Add white balsamic vinegar and pour mixture into a medium saucepan. Cook on high heat for 10-15 minutes, until pineapple is tender and liquid is reduced by half (juice will come out of the pineapple during this process).
Transfer mixture back to a large bowl and allow to cool. When cool, add in red onion, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, olive oil, salt and black pepper.
Store in the refrigerator and serve with ribs.