Ernest Servantes Costillas de Tejas

Created By: Pitmaster Ernest Servantes

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 1/2 hours
  • Serves: 4 to 6


  • Costillas de Tejas
  • 2 racks Smithfield® Pork Spareribs, membrane removed
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked or sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Pinch cayenne or chipotle powder Freshly ground black pepper
  • BBQ Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 small sweet yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 chipotle chile, chopped (from can of chipotle chiles in adobo)
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 heaping tablespoon, Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or sherry vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon sweet Spanish paprika


  1. To make BBQ Sauce, heat oil in saucepan over medium-high until warm and shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in ketchup and water; bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients; bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Scrape the barbecue sauce into bowl of food processor or blender; purée until smooth or desired consistency. Sauce will be very thick; let cool to room temperature. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Can be used immediately, however flavors will be more complex if kept overnight. Extra sauce can be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  4. To make Costillas de Tejas, heat oven to 200ºF. Place wire rack on aluminum foil-covered baking sheet. Combine brown sugar, ancho chile powder, paprika, onion powder, salt, cayenne and black pepper in small bowl; mix well.
  5. Place 2 sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil on counter (each about 4 inches longer than ribs). Place each rib rack on a piece of foil; sprinkle generous amount of spice rub over meaty side and massage into the meat. Turn over ribs and repeat on bone side. Seal ribs in foil and place, meaty side down, on rack on baking sheet.
  6. Bake ribs at 200ºF. for 4 hours; reduce oven temperature to 175ºF. and bake an additional 2 hours, until ribs are very tender and just about falling off the bone.
  7. Open foil packets and discard juices. Brush BBQ Sauce over ribs; cut and serve.