Chili Pepper Beef Ribs

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  6 servings
Prep Time:  40 minutes Cook Time:  3 hours 45 minutes

Chili Pepper Beef Ribs

Beef ribs get a hot-sweet-spicy treatment with this luscious barbecue sauce made with dried guajillo and ancho chili peppers, wine, molasses, and classic French aromatics. Searing the ribs first allows them to develop a caramelized crust; long-cooking in the sauce makes them tender and flavorful. Serve them with our Pumpkin Anise Grits for a satisfying autumn meal, or pair with our Saffron Mint Rice for a warming winter meal.


4 dried guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded

4 dried ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded

1½ cups full-bodied, medium-dry or semi-sweet red wine

2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, cut into 10 to 12 ribs (each 3 to 4 inches long)

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 large red onions, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice (about 3 cups)

2 stalks celery, cut into ½-inch dice (about 1 cup)

1 large carrot, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice (about ½ cup)

2 heads (about 12 cloves) garlic, peeled and halved, any green centers discarded

¼ cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

2 cups low-sodium beef stock, warm or room temperature

1 (28-ounce) can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes

2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano, divided

1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems and leaves separated

2 teaspoons molasses

½ cup dark brown sugar or piloncillo


  1. Toast  the chili peppers: Set a heavy saute pan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Place the chilies into it and press them against the pan for 15 to 20 seconds, until fragrant. Remove from the pan.
  2. Combine the chilies, red wine, and red wine vinegar in a large nonreactive bowl and let stand while you prepare the beef. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Position a rimmed baking sheet or large pot near the stove.
  3. Heat an large, ovenproof cast-iron or heavy-duty Dutch oven over high heat. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil. Season the short ribs on both sides with 2 teaspoons of the salt and the black pepper. When the oil is hot and shimmering, carefully place the short ribs into the pot in a single layer, with no more than 4 ribs in the pot at a time to avoid crowding. Sear (without moving the rib) for about 1½ minutes to allow the meat to brown. Turn with tongs and repeat on the other 3 sides until all are browned. Transfer the seared ribs to the prepared baking sheet or pot.
  4. With the Dutch oven still on the heat, add the onions and cook, stirring, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until they are soft, translucent, and browned on the edges. Add the celery and carrots and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer into the chili mixture.
  5. Add the remaining oil and the flour to the pan and whisk until lightly browned. Add the stock and whisk to combine, making sure there are no lumps. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
  6. Combine the chili-and-vegetable mixture, the tomatoes, 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, the cilantro stems, molasses, and sugar in a blender and blend for about 4 minutes, until completely smooth. Transfer the blended mixture to the Dutch oven and stir well to combine.
  7. Return the beef ribs to the pot, making sure to scrape all the little bits and juice from their resting pan into the pot with them. Bring to a boil; then remove from the heat. Cover the pan with foil and its lid and place into the oven. Roast for 3 to 3¼ hours, until the meat is fork-tender.
  8. Add the remaining oregano and cilantro leaves and stir. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately over our Creamy Pumpkin Anise Grits or Saffron Mint Rice.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.