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.
2rackspork side ribs
1mediumonion, roughly chopped
1mediumcarrot, roughly chopped
1mediumcelery stalk, roughly chopped
1headgarlic, peeled and cloves smashed with the side of your knife
1tablespoonchipotles in adobo sauce
22ounce(650ml) bottle of chocolate or espresso beer, gluten-free if needed
½ cuploosely packed brown sugar
2tablespoonsfish sauce, see notes
1teaspoonespresso powder, or a shot of espresso
1 ½ ounceschopped dark chocolate, about 2 generous tablespoons
1tablespoon 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
You won't taste the fish sauce in this recipe, but it does make this dish taste richer. You can also use ¼ cup of homemade prawn stock instead. We used to sear the ribs in the pot, then cook the vegetables in the same pot afterward, scraping all the dark fond on the bottom of the pot into the sauce. We now sear the ribs in the oven as it is a lot less messy (no oil splattering everywhere and smoke filling your house) and saves prep time as you can cook the vegetables at the same time. The sauce is ever so slightly tastier when the ribs are seared in the pot. But if the difference is minimal and we think that trade-off for a cleaner kitchen and more time is worth it.