Mexicans have a love affair with the pig; pork is the most beloved protein in the Mexican diet. And we can thank Christopher Columbus for that, since he’s the one that brought domesticated pigs to the Americas on his second voyage. It's been said that he brought only eight pigs on his trip and from those, they multiplied and eventually were taken from Hispaniola to Mexico, central and south America.
So why is pork so popular? A few reasons. It's easy to cook: the meat is rich and it doesn't dry out easily. And it's a humble ingredient, Mexican cooks have always been thrifty and the whole hog can be used, from nose to tail. Finally, it's a healthy protein. Modern hogs are leaner, so the meat is good for you. Any way you look at it, there is no reason not to like pork.
And there is something indescribably good about slow cooked pork. When cooked on low heat, it becomes pull-apart tender and in Mexico there are many famous recipes that cook pork this way. This recipe is one of them. These baby back ribs are baked at a low temperature for a couple of hours, then brushed with spicy piloncillo glaze. They're irresistible and oh so easy to make!
If you're not familiar with piloncillo, here's a primer: piloncillo is a raw sugar commonly used in Mexico. If not available, you can use dark brown sugar instead. Simply make a syrup with chopped piloncillo and water, then add canned chipotle chiles and blend. This glaze lasts a few months in your fridge. Mix this glaze - as much or as little as you want - with enough barbecue sauce to baste your ribs and there you have it. You can use this sauce for any other grilled meats in your repertoire, provided you want a bit of spice.