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Coca-Cola BBQ Ribs - A Memorial Day Favorite

Sticky, sweet and tender Coca Cola ribs

What’s more American than Coca-Cola? Our nation’s favorite soft drink also makes a great marinade thanks to all those sugars and spices. If you want fall off the bone ribs for your Memorial Day BBQ but don’t have the time to cook them for hours… this may be the only rib recipe you’ll ever need. I didn’t believe that when I first read the recipe and saw the ribs were parboiled.  I am a bit of a barbecue purist who believes in slow cooking, smoking or grilling ribs over low heat. The idea of boiling seemed crazy to me. Wouldn’t it remove some of that great pork flavor?  But my friend Chef David Lawrence convinced me to give this recipe a try and now I’m sold. It really reduces the cooking time and you get very tender, fall apart ribs. So when you want ribs but don’t have the time to smoke or slow cook them, this is a good option. Or if parboiling seems like a sin or you really want that extra smoky goodness, then simply modify this recipe by slow cooking in a 250 degree oven or toss on your smoker at 225 degrees. The recipe after the jump!

Serves 6

FOR THE RIBS

  • 1 (1.5 liter) bottle of Coca-Cola (not diet!)
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 racks baby back ribs (about 4 pounds)

FOR THE SAUCE

  • 2/3 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1½ tablespoons yellow mustard
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 (12 ounce) can Coca-Cola (not diet!)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large pot, add the (1.5 liter) bottle of Coca-Cola, onion, garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns. Add the ribs and, if necessary a bit of water just to ensure the ribs are submerged completely. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer, turning the ribs occasionally, until the meat pulls away from the bone, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, to make the sauce combine the butter, onion, garlic, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and (12 ounces) Coca-Cola in large heavy sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for about 25 minutes stirring often until sauce is thickened and reduced. Season to taste with salt and pepper and let cool slightly. Using a blender, puree the sauce.

Note: Sauce can be made up to 5 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Preheat the grill to high.

Remove the ribs from the pot, pat dry, season with salt and pepper and brush liberally with the sauce. Grill, turning often, until charred on the outside, about 8 minutes. Loosely tent the ribs with foil and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting into individual ribs. Serve extra sauce on the side for dipping.

Photo credit: Chef David Lawrence

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