Barbecue RibsMake a popular dish like ribs even more exciting with a cocoa chili rub—a hot new flavor trend that’s as old as the Mayas and Aztecs.


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January 2008

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Meat & Poultry

Recipe: Cocoa Chile Pork Ribs

Exciting New Flavors For Barbecue


Chile and cocoa is popular flavor combination of ancient Mesoamerica. The Mayas and Aztecs, who were the original cultivators of cacao tree that provides us with cocoa and chocolate, only knew cacao in its beverage form. They flavored their tepid cocoa beverage with chiles and other spices (it didn’t become hot cocoa until it was brought back to Spain by the Conquistadors). Today, the combination of chile and cocoa flavors works in everything from barbecue to ice cream to, yes, chocolate bars and hot chocolate, delivering complex heat, depth, dimension and richness. Try these Cocoa Chile Pork Ribs. The pairing of chipotle’s heat and smokiness with cocoa’s bitterness adds up to a rich, smoky-sweet rub for barbecue pork ribs. The chile and cocoa combination is one of McCormick’s 10 flavor trends for 2008. Take a look at the other flavor trends.

  • 1/4 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chipotle chile pepper powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 pounds pork baby back ribs
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix sugar, cocoa powder, garlic salt, chipotle chili pepper Chocolate and Chilepowder and cinnamon in small bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon spice mixture for basting sauce. Rub remaining spice mixture on ribs until well coated. Place ribs in single layer on foil-lined roasting pan. Cover with foil.
  2. Bake 1 hour or until meat starts to pull away from bones. Meanwhile, for basting sauce, mix apple juice, tomato paste and reserved 1 tablespoon spice mixture in small bowl.
  3. Grill ribs over medium-high heat 1 to 2 minutes per side or until heated through and evenly browned, brushing with basting sauce.

Makes 6 servings.


Recipe and images courtesy of McCormick & Company. All rights reserved. Additional material Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. Other images are the copyright of their respective owners.