Pork Ribs with Chile de Árbol Sauce

Spicy Pork Ribs with Cactus


Serves 4-6

For The Ribs

  • 2 Lb St. Louis Style Pork Ribs (cut into 2-3 inch segments)

  • 2 Garlic Cloves (peeled and slightly smashed to release flavors)

  • 1 Dry Bay Leaf

  • 1/4 Small White Onion

  • 3 Cups Filtered Water

  • 1 Tbsp Sea Salt

For Sauce

  • 2 Large Tomatoes

  • 1/4 Small White Onion

  • 2 Garlic Cloves

  • 6-8 Chile de Árbol (depending on preference of heat level)

  • 1 Tsp Sea Salt (more to taste)

  • 2 Cup Filtered Water

  • 1 Lb Nopales (in strips)



  1. In a large pot, add ribs, bay leaf, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/4 onion, 1 tablespoon of sea salt and cover with 3 cups of filtered water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cover until all the water has evaporated (this step takes about 1 hour and 30-35 minutes). When water has evaporated remove the onion, garlic, and the bay leaf. The ribs will release their fat. Allow them to brown, turning them over until they are golden brown, remove ribs from pan. (Don't rinse the pan)


  1. Preheat over to 400 degress.

  2. While the ribs are cooking, in a cast iron skillet or roasting pan add tomatoes and onion roast in your oven for 25 minutes. Heat up a skillet to toast the árbol chilies, this takes about 1-minute stirring frequently to prevent burning. Remove from heat once they become fragrant.

  3. In your blender add the roasted tomatoes, onions, 2 garlic cloves, chillies, 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 cups of water. Blend until smooth.


  1. In a medium sauce pan add nopales with a couple pinches of salt and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes or until tender. Remove from water and rinse with cold water.

Last Step

  1. Add the sauce to the pan where the ribs were cooking over high heat, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to pick up the bits and pieces of the pork. Cook for 10 minutes stirring constantly. Add ribs and nopales to the sauce and stir to coat ribs with sauce cook for an additional 15 minutes. Add salt if necessary, serve with tortillas, rice and enjoy!

You can find nopales in most Latin grocery stores, farmers market, and some more typical chain markets. Nopales are definitely optional, this recipe is delicious and can be enjoyed without them.