Beef Short Ribs in Ancho-Molasses Sauce

Ancho (Ahn-cho) Chile (Capsicum Annum) means Wide Chile Pepper. This chile ranges from 3 – 4 on a heat scale of 1 to 10. An Ancho is the dried form of a Poblano Pepper and often is mislabeled as a Pasilla or Mulato Pepper. Anchos have sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. Anchos, combined with the Pasilla and Guajillo, form the Holy Trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces. Scoville heat units are 1,000 to 3,000.

Suggested Use:
Anchos are great in salsa, soups, enchilada and any sauce needing mild heat and chile flavor. Chopped, pureed or ground, they can be added directly to your recipes.

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For the Spice Rub:
4 Tbs. sea salt
3 Tbs. pure powdered chile of your choice
2 Tbs. dried granulated garlic
2 Tbs. coarsely ground black pepper
1 Tbs. ground thyme
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin

For the Short Ribs:
6 beef short ribs (square cut, around 3 lbs.)
2 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
12-oz. can root beer (sweetened with cane sugar)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup molasses
For Serving:
12 warm flour tortillas
Sliced onions
Cilantro leaves
2 cups refried beans

Make the spice rub:
Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl, blending well to evenly distribute the spices. Be sure to break up any chunks that appear. Store the blend in a spice jar.

Make the short ribs:
Light about 25 charcoal briquettes in a chimney and prepare the grill with the coals on one side only. Rub the ribs with 2 Tbs. of the spice rub and place them in a pan. Put the pan on the grill over medium-hot coals and turn the ribs when they start to sizzle. Continue cooking in the dish for 1 hour, turning to caramelize on all sides. Move the pan to the cool side of the grill if the meat begins to burn or stick.

Tear the ancho chiles into pieces and combine with the root beer in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until the chiles soften, about 15 minutes. Heat the oil in a skillet and add the onion. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the root beer and chile mixture and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.

Add more wood and charcoal to the grill if needed. When the ribs are well browned, pour the molasses over each rib, turning to coat. Then add the hot root beer–chile mixture to the pan. Place the pan over hot coals so it simmers.

Cover the grill and allow the ribs to smoke and simmer for another hour, turning often. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and allow to steam for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the grill and put the ribs in a serving dish. Stir the braising liquid and molasses in the pan together and pour over the ribs. Serve immediately with the flour tortillas, sliced onion, cilantro, and refried beans.

Recipe by Robb Walsh via