Rumbling Ramblings: Chipotle Beef Short Ribs You’ll Love Long Time

Words: Karl Tessendorf

If there’s one thing I love about food, it’s that it constantly surprises me. Not in a life-sized- banana-jumping-out-the-bushes kind of way. It’s more of a where-have-you-been-all-my-life kind of way. This adventure covers two such ingredients, and the recipe that follows brings them together using South Africa’s greatest culinary contribution – the braai.

Our first ingredient is chipotle chillies. Chi-what? Say it with me, “Chi-pot-le”. These little Mexican guys are smoked and dried jalapenos, and traditionally come in adobo – a tomato-type sauce.

They have a serious smoky kick and if you’re big into smoke flavour like me, then you’ll have to buy them from me because I’ve bought Cape Town’s entire supply, muhaha!

Just kidding, but in all seriousness, they can be tough to find. The ones I buy are imported by Mexican Food Imports and are stocked at the Cape Quarter Spar. Cape Town’s Mexican restaurant, El Burro also sells their own brand of chipotles, which you can buy at the restaurant.

Our second ingredient is beef short ribs. Beef you say? Yup beef. When it comes to ribs, pork is known as the arena rock star. In the words of Homer Simpson, “they come from a wonderful, magical animal” and I couldn’t agree more. But if pork ribs are the arena rock star, then beef ribs are the in your face, underground band. They require a little patience when preparing, but believe me the effort is easily forgotten between huge mouthfuls of sweet and smokey beef.

To bring these two heavyweights together, we’re going to need a dry rub and a sauce. Think of the dry rub as the primer and the sauce is the finishing touch. A dry rub is basically sugar and salt with spices for flavour.

Just like Ron Burgundy, dry rubs are kind of a big deal in America.

They’ve got books dedicated to them, and on the competitive barbeque cooking circuit, every pitmaster has a signature blend. For the sauce we want something that’s really going to caramelise and produce some stick-to-your-ribs kind of ribs. I’ve gone with a tomato and beer base sauce, because everything is better with beer.

Speaking of beer I’ve pair the ribs with one of Durban’s finest stouts from Standeaven Brewery. It’s an Irish style stout with plenty of roasty and toasty flavours that complement the char-grilled, caramelised ribs. Speaking of ribs, I’m off to the butcher, cheers.

Chipotle Beef Short Ribs

Serves: 4
Difficulty: moderate
Prep time: 1 hour, overnight dry marinade (optional)
Cooking time: 1 ½ hours in oven, 15 minutes on braai

Moo Moo Rib Rub

¼ C (60 ml) paprika
1 Tbsp (15 ml) brown sugar
1 Tbsp (15 ml) salt
1 Tbsp (15 ml) chilli powder
1 Tbsp (15 ml) cumin
1 Tbsp (15 ml) dried thyme
2 tsp (10 ml) cayenne pepper
1 tsp (5 ml) mustard powder (Colman’s preferably)
1 tsp (5 ml) ground garlic powder
1 tsp (5 ml) ground black pepper

2 kg beef short ribs (order from your local butcher if you can’t find them)

Chipotle BBQ Sauce

splash of oil for frying
¼ C (60 ml) onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ½ C (375 ml) tomato sauce (I like All Gold)
½ C (125 ml) lager (Windhoek, hmm tasty)
½ C (125 ml) brown sugar
4 Tbsp (60 ml) Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp (45 ml) apple cider vinegar
2 chipotle chillies in adobo sauce, finely chopped (add more if you like it hot and extra smokey)
1 tsp (5 ml) ground black pepper
1 tsp (5 ml) paprika

To Serve

4 limes cut in half

The Ribs

Bang all the spices together in a plastic tub, put the lid on and give it a good shake to combine. Spice the ribs generously on all sides and arrange in a baking dish. Cover the dish with foil and you’re ready to roast. If you’ve got time, you can let the ribs marinate in the spice overnight to really amp up the flavour.

If you marinated overnight, pull your ribs out the fridge and allow them to reach room temperature. Heat the oven to 170°C and stick the baking dish in on the middle rack. Roast for about 1 ½ hours, then check to see if the ribs are fork tender, if not give them another 10 minutes. Cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the ribs. Be careful not to overcook them, no one likes a dry rib. While the ribs are sizzling away it’s time to get on to the sauce.

The Sauce

Heat oil in a medium-sized pot over a medium heat, and fry onion until golden brown. Add garlic and cook for another minute.

Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Reduce to a low heat, simmer and stir occasionally to combine the flavours. Continue to simmer for about 35 minutes until the sauce has reduced to nice consistency (not too thick). Remove from the heat and put aside for braaing.

The Braai

Get your ribs out the oven, grab a beer and head outside. Burn the fire down until you have a nice bed of medium-heat coals. You don’t want them to be too hot – there’s a lot of sugar in the sauce and you want it to caramelise all lekker and not burn.

Give your ribs a coating of sauce and get them on the grid. Braai for a couple of minutes, then flip, baste and continue braaing. Repeat this until you’ve got an awesome sticky glaze on the ribs – don’t be afraid of a little charring. When you’re happy, take them off and let them rest for a couple of minutes. Serve with the remaining sauce for dipping, and lime wedges for added zing.

Hungry for more? Subscribe to our newsletter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>