|Richly sweet pork spare ribs with smoked paprika cocoa sauce|
These ribs are richly sweet and succulent. The marinade and sauce have a brown sugar base with a hint of smoked paprika and cocoa. You could almost imagine covering the pork in pastry and serving with ice cream. For approximately 2.25 kg (5 lb.) pork spare ribs, cut into large 2-3 bone pieces, marinate the pork in the following dry rub for at least 24h in a covered container or plastic bag:
2 cups dark brown sugar
3 Tb sea salt
4 large cloves garlic, crushed/minced
2 Tb smoked paprika
2 Tb unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tb cinnamon
1 tsp ground black pepper
The dry rub will pull a lot of liquid from the pork. Retaining the liquid, sear the pork ribs on a BBQ grill for about 5 minutes. Then there are 2 options: 1) move the pork ribs to the cold side of the BBQ grill, meat side up, and slow cook for 2-4 h at 120 C (250 F), basting regularly with retained liquid (don’t use more than half of retained liquid in the process); 2) move the pork ribs to an oven pan, meat side up, smother with half of the retained liquid, cover well with baking paper and then aluminum foil, and slow cook at 120 C (250 F) for 2-4 h. The meat should be melt-in-your mouth tender without falling off the bone when ready.
While the pork ribs are cooking, use the remainder of the retained liquid for the sauce. Saute 1 minced onion and 1 stalk minced celery in butter, add remainder of the retained liquid, 1.5 cups diced canned tomatoes, 0.5 cup apple cider vinegar, 0.5 cup dark brown sugar, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 Tb unsweetened cocoa, and 2 bay leaves. Cook slowly, covered, for 30-60 minutes until rich and sweet. Take the bay leaves out and puree until smooth. Serve on the side with the ribs for dipping (or just smother over the ribs).
I served the pork ribs with mashed red potatoes, braised red cabbage and green beans.