Mole Ribs

By • April 18, 2011 10 Comments

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Author Notes: Moles are amazingly rich and complicated Mexican sauces. However, not being Mexican myself, I wanted to try and harness the spirit of a mole, and apply it to something near and dear to my very American heart... ribs. Making good ribs requires patience, and these are no exception. However, the blend of java stout, chilies, chocolate, coffee, and peanut butter make for an amazingly rich and interesting BBQ experience, unlike any I've had before.

Note that the ribs should be rubbed the night before, which is also a good time to make the sauce and refrigerate it overnight.

Makes 3 slabs


  • 3 slabs baby back ribs (pork ribs, not the small rodent that digs holes)
  • 8 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon coffee beans
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper

Mole BBQ sauce

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 12 ounces beer (I used java stout, but any heavy stout would be fine)
  • 2 ounces ancho chilies, seeded and chopped
  • 1 ounce New Mexico chilies, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 shot espresso
  • 2 tablespoons coffee beans, very finely ground
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup muscovado sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar (for braising ribs, step 8)
  • 1/4 cup water (for braising ribs, step 8)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted (for use at the very end)
  1. Combine all ingredients for the rub in a spice blender and blend until finely ground. Liberally apply rub to ribs and rub to coat. Cover and put in the fridge.
  2. Now to make the mole BBQ sauce! First, heat pot and melt the butter over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and cook until caramelized. (If you add a little water, you can cook these at relatively high heat, and caramelize more quickly)
  3. Adjust heat to medium. Add the beer and cider vinegar to the onion mixture to deglaze the pot. Mix well.
  4. Once all the goodness has been lifted from the bottom of the pot, add the ketchup, chilies, espresso, salt, cayenne pepper, coffee and cinnamon. Stir until combined.
  5. Add the unsweetened chocolate and stir until melted. Then add peanut butter and muscavado sugar and stir until combined. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently for 10-15 minutes. (At this point, you just want the flavors to meld, but you don’t want to reduce too much... it should already be pretty thick)
  6. Pour sauce into a blender and liquefy until smooth. Sauce can now be stored in the fridge until you need it.
  7. THIS STEP OCCURS THE NEXT MORNING! Remove ribs from the fridge, and preheat smoker (or oven if you don’t have one) to 250 degrees. Place ribs uncovered in oven/smoker and allow to cook for 2 hours.
  8. Remove ribs, and place in oven safe pan. Add the cider vinegar and water to the pan, and cover tightly with foil. Place into 250 degree oven (you could put your pan in your smoker, but that makes for an unnecessary mess) for another 90 minutes.
  9. Remove ribs from pan, and baste with sauce. Place back into smoker uncovered (or oven at 250), and continue to turn and baste (every 5 minutes) for 30-60 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest 10 minutes. Lightly sprinkle finished slabs with sesame seeds and slice into individual ribs. Ribs can be enjoyed as is, or with some additional heated sauce on the side. Enjoy!

More Great Recipes: Entrees|Pork|Ribs

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