Barbecue Ribs with Cola Sauce Recipe

Sep 9, 2011 5:01 pm

Grilled ribs get jazzed up with cola

Love diving in to a pile of saucy ribs, but don’t have a smoker? Here’s a grilled rib recipe sweetened with cola that even a barbecue novice can make. What results is some serious pit master-worthy 'cue that’s built for a cold beverage and a stack of napkins.

Before you tackle these ribs, here are 5 tips to get you started:

  1. Be sure to remove the outer membrane from your ribs, which is the white, shiny covering on the inner bone side. Not only does it offer an unappealing chew, but it prevents your seasonings from reaching the precious meat. To do this, slip a knife under the membrane to get it started and then slide your hand under to pull back the flap.
  2. Trim, dry, rub and marinate. Once you’ve removed the membrane, trim away any excess fat and blot your racks dry. Apply the dry rub and let it rest for about an hour so your flavors will meld.
  3. No peeky. Each time you open the foil all that precious steam and heat escapes. And don’t overcook. The ribs should exhibit a nice, tender chew so they will hold up on the grill.
  4. Get your sauce right. That means no diet cola. Use only regular cola, and the flatter it is the better so it won’t foam up during cooking.
  5. Once your ribs hit the grill watch them carefully. They should exhibit a nice glaze and little char. Burning the sauce will result in a bitter taste.
grilled ribs
Photo: Kendra Bailey Morris
Instead of slow cooking them over fire and smoke, these ribs are dry rubbed and then slow-roasted in the oven until just tender.
Servings: 6


2 racks spare ribs or baby back ribs, trimmed
For the Dry Rub
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
For the Sauce
1/8 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 tablespoon freshly grated garlic
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce, or more if you like it spicy
8 ounces flat regular cola
  1. Mix all of your dry rub ingredients together and rub onto ribs.  Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  2. Arrange ribs in a single layer in a large roasting pan. Cover tightly with foil and cook at 325 F for 2 to 2 1/2 hours (depending on the size of your ribs), until just tender.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine sauce ingredients and cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until thickened.
  4. Preheat a grill to medium-high and add ribs. Baste ribs generously with the sauce and grill them until glazed with crispy edges. 
  5. Cut into quarters and serve warm with any extra sauce on the side. 
Level of Difficulty: 
Prep Time: 
10 minutes plus marinating time
Cooking Time: 
3 hours
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