Braised Pork Ribs
These braised pork ribs are as good as it gets. They're slow-cooked in a ridiculously delicious sauce made with dark beer and chocolate that, by the time the ribs have finished cooking, becomes the best gravy you'll ever try.
This recipe was originally published in 2013. We've updated the post with some new photos and more information. We've also tweaked the instructions slightly so that the recipe is easier to make. Don't worry, it is every bit as delicious!
Chocolate Stout Braised Pork Ribs
This is the braised pork ribs recipe that we used to make when we operated an underground restaurant called The Endless Meal Supper Club. Our guests would return asking us to make these ribs again and again.
To this day, they're the best braised pork ribs we've tried.
The ribs are fall off the bone tender, like most braised ribs. But what makes this recipe truly special is the sauce they're cooked in. It's incredibly rich with the most wonderful flavor thanks to malty dark beer, a little chocolate, smoky chipotle sauce, and some espresso powder.
Those four ingredients work together to create a gravy that is rich and savory with a hint of sweetness that goes so well with pork. And while chocolate may sound like an odd ingredient, it is subtle and in the background and adds a velvety creaminess to the gravy.
If you want to make a special dinner that will wow your family or your guests, this is it. It's the perfect recipe for a weekend dinner or a special holiday feast. Bonus: it's surprisingly easy to make!
How to make braised short ribs
If you think that making braised pork ribs might be difficult, think again. They couldn't be easier.
- We start by searing the ribs in the oven. Yes, the oven. While it's certainly possible to sear the ribs on the stovetop, that method creates a TON of oil splatter and smoke. Searing the ribs in the oven gives them a wonderful golden crust and keeps your kitchen clean up to a minimum.
- While the ribs sear in the oven, we saute the veggies until they are very well browned. Don't be afraid to cook them longer than you think you should.
- Next, the well-cooked veggies are blended with some water and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. This helps to thicken the gravy.
- The pureed veggies are poured back into the pot and mixed with some dark beer, brown sugar, fish sauce, and chocolate. Once the chocolate melts, stack the ribs on end in the pot then put the pot into your oven and let the ribs braise for 4-5 hours. So easy!
The full recipe is in the recipe card below.
Ingredients in chocolate stout braised pork ribs
Pork side ribs – We prefer side ribs are they're more flavorful than back ribs. Bonus that they're less expensive, too.
Onion, carrot, celery – as these are blended into the sauce, you can quickly roughly chop them.
Garlic – yes, a whole head. It sounds like a lot but with the long cooking time, the garlic flavor mellows substantially.
Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – these smoky numbers are found in small cans in the Mexican section of your grocery store. You can keep the leftovers in a clean, glass jar in your fridge for a long time. Or try one of our many recipes using chipotle peppers.
Beer – This recipe is best with a dark, malty beer. Avoid sour or hoppy beers as the flavor won't work in the recipe. Ideally, look for a chocolate stout or porter.
Brown sugar – This adds the sweetness that goes so well with pork. Coconut sugar is a great refined sugar-free option.
Fish sauce – Don't be scared to add this! While you don't taste it specifically, it adds an incredible depth of flavor to the recipe.
Espresso powder – This enhances the flavor of the chocolate. You could also use a shot of espresso instead.
Dark chocolate – A small amount goes a long way here and adds an element to the sauce that is incredible. Most people can't guess that there's chocolate in the sauce – they just know that something makes it taste amazing.
Cornstarch – We usually skip this and serve the braised pork ribs directly from the oven in their cooking pot. But if you want a thick gravy, remove the ribs and thicken the sauce with a little cornstarch mixed with water.
Yes! These ribs reheat incredibly well. You can cool them right in their cooking pot then reheat them on medium-low heat on your stovetop before you serve them.
Cooked pork will keep well for 3-4 days in your fridge.
While side ribs are more flavorful, you can use back ribs if that is what is available in your store.
Look for a dark, malty beer, preferably a chocolate porter or stout. Avoid any sour or hoppy beer and the flavor will overpower this recipe.
What to serve with braised pork ribs
Braised pork ribs are a true meat and potatoes kind of meal. Here are our favorite sides that turn this meal into a feast:
- Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese
- Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Garlic Roasted Carrots
- Roasted Acorn Squash
- Sauteed Green Beans with Garlic
- Roasted Winter Green Salad
Popular pork ribs recipes
- Blackened Ribs with Caramelized Carrots
- Grilled Pork Ribs with Ponzu Sauce
- Sticky Paleo Ribs with Chocolate BBQ Sauce
- Pork Ribs Stew
- Oven Baked Ribs with Potatoes and Green Beans
Dark Chocolate and Stout Braised Ribs
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- 2 racks pork side ribs
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
- 1 medium celery stalk, roughly chopped
- 1 head garlic, peeled and cloves smashed with the side of your knife
- 1 tablespoon chipotles in adobo sauce
- 22 ounce (650ml) bottle of chocolate or espresso beer, gluten-free if needed
- ½ cup loosely packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce, see notes
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder, or a shot of espresso
- 1 ½ ounces chopped dark chocolate, about 2 generous tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch, optional
- Sea salt and pepper , to taste
- Put the oven rack on the top shelf and preheat your oven to broil. Cut the racks into individual ribs and salt them on the meat side. Put them into a baking sheet and broil for 10-12 minutes, until they are golden. Remove them from the oven and turn the temperature down to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.2 racks pork side ribs, 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Heat the oil in a large braising pot on medium-high heat then add the onion. Let it cook for 3-4 minutes then add the carrot and celery. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are well-browned, about 7-8 minutes. Turn the heat down if needed. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.1 medium onion, 1 medium carrot, 1 medium celery stalk, 1 head garlic, 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- Transfer the cooked veggies to your blender and add 2 cups of water, and the chipotles in adobo sauce. Blend on high until smooth then pour back into the braising pot. Add another ½ cup of water to your blender to clean it out then add this to the pot, too.1 tablespoon chipotles in adobo sauce
- Add the beer, brown sugar, fish sauce, espresso powder, and chocolate to the pot and heat the sauce until the chocolate melts. Remove the pot from the heat.22 ounce (650ml) bottle of chocolate or espresso beer, ½ cup loosely packed brown sugar, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 teaspoon espresso powder, 1 ½ ounces chopped dark chocolate
- Add the ribs to the pot, stacking them on end as best as you can. Put the lid on the pot and put it into your oven to braise for 4-5 hours.
- The ribs can easily be served directly from the pot. But if you'd like to thicken the sauce a little, remove the ribs from the pot, mix a little water into the cornstarch and add this to the pot. Stir the pot over medium heat until the sauce thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.1 tablespoon cornstarch