Adapted from "Mesa Mexicana," by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger (William Morrow, 1994).
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup ground chili powder
1/4 cup ground cumin
2 tablespoons salt
41/2 pounds baby back ribs
1/4 cup chopped garlic (about 15 cloves)
3 large jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded if desired
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons hot red pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (10-12 limes)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup honey
In a small bowl, combine paprika, chili powder, cumin and salt. Pat the mixture evenly over the ribs, coating thoroughly. Place the ribs in a large roasting pan (you may need two pans to accommodate all the ribs) and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the ribs from the refrigerator and add about 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the pan. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Cover with foil and bake an additional 30 minutes.
While ribs are cooking, make the honey glaze: In a food processor or blender, combine the garlic, peppers, cumin, pepper sauce, lime juice and salt. Process until pureed. Pour mixture into a medium saucepan and stir in the honey. Cook over low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning. The sauce should be a bit thinner than barbecue sauce.
Turn up the oven to 450 degrees. Coat the ribs with the glaze and bake 10 minutes per side, basting every 5 minutes. (If you prefer to finish on a charcoal grill, light the coals and let them burn until they are medium-hot, about 15 minutes; the coals will be covered with gray ash. With a gas grill, turn the burners to medium and let the grill heat for about 5 minutes. Glaze the ribs thoroughly and cook about 5 minutes on each side, frequently brushing with additional glaze.)
Cut the ribs apart and serve hot.
Per serving: 683 calories, 68 gm protein, 48 gm carbohydrates, 24 gm fat, 141 mg cholesterol, 8 gm saturated fat, 2,259 mg sodium, 5 gm dietary fiber