Slow Cooker New Mexican red pork chili recipe is packed with rich spices, extremely tender pork, corn, and beans. A simple and easy to prepare hearty meal for a crowd!
If the cold weather has gotten you bogged down, then get ready to turn up the heat with this red pork chili recipe. A good, rustic, classic chili was on my to-do list since I saw this recipe in America’s Test Kitchen cookbook. The best part is that it looks and tastes as delicious and wholesome as you hoped.
I picked up some hearty well-marbled boneless country-style pork ribs from the market. Thankfully it was also very friendly on my wallet. Interestingly enough, this cut of meat doesn’t come from the “ribs” section.
They are either from chops near the shoulder (aka pork loin country-style ribs) or thick strips from the pork shoulder steaks (aka pork shoulder country-style ribs). Both styles are very flavorful, with the shoulder steaks containing more marbling.
The fat adds a TON of flavor and tenderness to the pork. At the end of cooking, you’ll likely see a thin layer of oil on the surface of the chili. I use a large spoon to skim off as much of that excess fat so that the flavor is still there, but not the high calories.
The cooking liquid that simmers for hours in the crock-pot is infused with vibrant seasonings coming from dried red chili powder, tomato paste, and freshly chopped garlic. There is also a secret ingredient, coffee!
The coffee adds an earthy flavor and enhances the dried chili spices in the chili. You can use decaffeinated coffee if you are concerned about the caffeine. Also, a hint of brown sugar adds some molasses notes and balances the bitterness from the coffee and chilies.
Dunk, crumble or top this delicious red pork chili with some cornbread – it’s highly recommended! You can go with a classic no-frills honey cornbread muffin, or try my whole grain jalapeno cheddar cornbread for the health-conscious. Either way, you can’t lose!
Each piece of slow-cooked pork just melts in your mouth and falls apart if you just stare at it. It’s a beautiful thing.
At the very end of cooking the corn kernels, pinto beans and freshly squeezed lime juice pulls all of the flavors together and makes for one hearty meal. So satisfying, everyone’s a winner with this slow cooker New Mexican red pork chili!
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Why are boneless country-style pork ribs suitable for slow cooking?
Slow cooking essentially allows you to cook a tougher piece of protein for an extended period, over consistent heating. A low heat, slow, moist cooking method like braising is perfect for marbled cuts of meat like country-style pork ribs. Braising cooks tougher cuts of meat that are rich in fat and collagen, by transforming it into the most tender pieces of protein. This happens by submerging the meat in a flavorful liquid and cooking it at low temperature for a long time to well done. As the collagen melts into gelatin, you get a delicious, rich and juicy meat that can be cut with a spoon. Boneless pork ribs are also good for stews, grilling or stir-frying.
Slow Cooker Red Pork Chili
- 6 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth, plus extra as needed
- ½ cup brewed coffee
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 teaspoons dark brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 pounds country-style pork ribs, boneless, fat trimmed
- kosher salt, as needed
- black pepper, as needed
- 15 ounces pinto beans, drained, (1 can)
- 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or canned
- ¼ cup cilantro, minced fresh, plus more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon lime zest, grated
- 3 teaspoons lime juice
- Lightly oil inside of slow cooker with vegetable oil or cooking spray.
- Combine tomato paste, chili powder, oil, and garlic in a bowl and microwave, occasionally stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to prepared slow cooker.
- Whisk in broth, coffee, cornstarch, and sugar. Add bell peppers.
- Generously season ribs with salt and pepper and nestle into the slow cooker. Cover and cook until ribs are tender and the meat falls apart with little resistance, 5 to 6 hours on Low or 3 to 4 hours on High. Turn the ribs over halfway through cooking to ensure even braising.
- Using a large spoon, skim excess fat from the surface of chili and discard.
- Remove pork and transfer to a plate.
- Break ribs into 1-inch pieces, removing any excess fat.
- Adjust chili consistency with extra hot broth as needed.
- Add back meat, beans, and corn to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 30 minutes. Stir in cilantro, lime zest, and juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with garnishes if desired.
- Substitute decaffeinated coffee if you are concerned about the caffeine.
- You can substitute 1 ½ teaspoons instant espresso in ½ cup boiling water for coffee.
- Add more beans if you like an even heartier chili. Pinto, black, kidney and white beans can all be substituted or added.
- Additional Toppings: Cilantro, shredded cheese, sliced jalapeno, serrano peppers, sour cream, red onion, limes, or avocado.