Costillas Adobadas (Mexican Pork Spareribs)

  • Serves

    serves 6-8


Adding soaked wood chips to roaring hot charcoal amplifies the smoky flavor of these chile-rubbed spareribs. This recipe first appeared in our June/July 2013 issue with Steven Raichlen's article Secrets of the Grill: Ribs.


  • 2 racks (6 lb.) St. Louis-style pork spareribs
  • 16 dried guajillo or ancho chiles, seeded
  • 1 12 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 34 cup white vinegar
  • 34 cup orange juice
  • 14 cup canola oil
  • 16 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 6 sprigs cilantro
  • 34 tsp. ground cloves
  • 4 cups oak or mesquite chips, soaked in water 1 hour, then drained (optional)
  • Salsa, for serving (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Step 1

Place ribs in a roasting pan. Place chiles in a bowl and pour 4 cups of hot water over them. Soak until softened, 8-10 minutes; drain, reserving ½ cup soaking liquid. Purée chiles, soaking liquid, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, vinegar, orange juice, oil, garlic, cilantro, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth; rub mixture over ribs. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Step 2

Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high; bank coals or turn off burner on one side (see "Grilling 101"). Place soaked wood chips, if using, over coals or in a smoke box in a gas grill. Grill ribs until slightly charred and tender, 1-1½ hours. If the outside starts to burn before the ribs are fully cooked, move them to the cooler section of the grill and continue to cook until tender. Rest ribs 20 minutes; slice into individual ribs. Serve with salsa, if you like.

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