This Coca Cola Ribs recipe is a must-try for all sweet and sticky rib lovers. The ribs are smothered in a sticky, sweet Coca-Cola sauce that's so delicious it'll be your new staple.
If you're a fan of sweet and savory combinations, then this Coca Cola ribs recipe is a must-try. With a twist from the classic Chinese Coca Cola chicken wings, these baby back ribs are sweet, sticky, and slightly spicy with a bit of char from broiling in the oven, which is very similar to my sweet and sticky char siu recipe! A perfect blend that will surely hit the spot.
If you're looking for more tasty ribs recipes with a similar taste, my Crispy Honey Garlic Ribs are a must-try. Alternatively, my Steamed Spare Ribs with Black Bean Sauce offer a different yet equally tasty flavor.
Why You’ll Love This Coca Cola Ribs Recipe
- Quick and Easy: This recipe is straightforward and simple, making it perfect for both beginners and seasoned cooks. With a few steps and common ingredients, you'll have a delicious meal in no time.
- Delicious Homemade BBQ Sauce: The unique combination of Coca Cola, ginger, garlic, and other flavorful ingredients creates a sweet and savory sauce BBQ sauce that makes these ribs irresistibly tasty.
- Tender, Juicy Ribs: I use a foiling method to steam the ribs before browning and coating it with BBQ sauce. The steaming keeps it juicy, moist and tender, especially since we bake it low and slow.
- Can be Made In the Oven or BBQ: Although I make this in the oven, they can easily be made in the grill or smoker with adjusted time as well!
Ingredients For Coca Cola Ribs
- Baby Back Ribs: The star of this recipe, these ribs will become incredibly tender and flavorful after cooking. Alternatively, you can use side ribs or spare ribs as well. I like to use Louisiana cut side ribs which are flatter and meatier.
- All Purpose Coffee Dry Rub: This unique blend of spices will infuse the ribs with a deep, rich flavor. You can also use any other rub you may have at home.
Coca Cola BBQ Sauce
- Coca Cola: This sweet soda will add a sweet flavor to the sauce. You can use regular Coca Cola, Diet Coke or Coke Zero.
- Fish Sauce: This will give the sauce an umami salty flavor. Soy sauce can be used as a substitute.
- Ginger/Garlic/Shallots: These trio of aromatics give the sauce its base flavor, especially when browned and caramelized.
- Mustard: To balance out the sweetness from the cola, I like to use mustard because it also adds additional flavor as well.
- Ketchup: I like to use ketchup as a base for my BBQ sauce because of the balance of sweet and tanginess.
- Cooking Wine (Optional): This adds an additional saltiness and flavor to the BBQ sauce but is completely optional. I like to use either rice wine, Shaoxing wine or dry sherry.
- Sambel Olek: Hot sauce is optional. We used Sabal Olek, but it isn't very spicy. If you enjoy a spicier rib or have a preference of hot sauce - switch up the hot sauce.
How to Make Coca Cola Ribs
Making this incredible Coca-Cola ribs recipe at home is super easy and will give you great results every single time. Here's how to make it step by step:
Preparing the Ribs
Remove the Membrane: Start by taking off the silver skin membrane on the ribs by running a knife under it to lift up the skin. Then take a piece of paper towel to help grip onto the slippery silver skin and pull off it off.
Coat the Ribs: After the skin is removed, lightly coat the ribs with some oil.
Apply the Dry Rub: Next, liberally apply the dry rub. I recommend using my All Purpose Coffee Rub.
Foil the Ribs: Once the rub is on, wrap the ribs in foil. This will allow the ribs to steam in their own juices.
Baking the Ribs
Preheat the Oven: Set your oven to 250F (121C). We're aiming for a low and slow cook to achieve soft and tender ribs.
Cook the Ribs: Put the ribs in the oven and set a timer for 2 hours and 45 minutes to 3 hours. The cook time may vary depending on the thickness of your ribs. You'll know the ribs are done when they are soft and almost falling apart.
Making the Sauce
Prepare the BBQ Sauce: In a food processor, blitz the garlic, shallots, and ginger. If you don't have a food processor, you can grate them as well.
Cook the Sauce: Set your stove to medium-low heat. In a frying pan or wok, add 2-3 tablespoons of oil and wait for it to get hot. Add in the garlic/ginger/shallot mixture and brown it. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
Simmer the Sauce: Once browned, add in the rest of the sauce ingredients and simmer for 15-20 minutes until it has reduced and slightly thickened.
Combine the Sauce With the Ribs Juices: When the sauce has slightly thickened, turn off the heat and wait for the ribs to finish cooking in the oven. Once the ribs are done, remove them from the foil and add the juices from the foil into the sauce.
Putting It Together
Brush the BBQ Sauce On: Slather the sauce on both sides of the ribs.
Broil the Ribs: Set your oven to broil and bake the ribs for 5 minutes on each side. Apply more sauce and repeat this process for about 2-3 times to achieve sticky ribs. Be careful not to overcook the ribs and dry them out.
Enjoy!: Now, your delicious Coca Cola ribs are ready to be enjoyed!
Joyce’s Tips For Making the Best Coca Cola BBQ Ribs
- Remove the Membrane: For a more flavorful and tender result, make sure to remove the silver skin membrane on the bottom of the ribs. This will allow the rub and sauce to penetrate the meat more effectively.
- Adjust Cook Time: Depending on the thickness of your ribs, you may need to adjust the cook time. The ribs are done when they are soft and almost falling apart.
- Don't Over Broil: While broiling gives the ribs a nice caramelized finish, be careful not to overcook them. Overcooking during this stage can dry out the ribs.
- Whenever I make this, I like to pair this with simple steamed white rice, egg fried rice, or garlic fried rice.
- For a hearty dinner, pair these tender coca cola ribs with a side of creamy macaroni and cheese or quick and easy cheese ramen. The rich, cheesy flavor of the macaroni perfectly complements the sweet and tangy taste of the ribs.
- For a classic barbecue experience, accompany your coca cola ribs with a side of coleslaw and baked beans. The tangy coleslaw and savory beans enhance the overall flavor profile of this meal.
- Coca cola ribs also make a great centerpiece for a family picnic. Serve them with a variety of sides like potato salad, brussels sprouts, grilled vegetables, and cornbread for a satisfying outdoor feast.
Recipe Variation Ideas
- Dr Pepper Ribs: For a different twist on the classic coca cola ribs, try substituting the can of coca cola with a can of Dr Pepper. The unique blend of 23 flavors in Dr Pepper will give your ribs a distinct, sweet and spicy flavor.
- Root Beer Ribs: If you're a fan of root beer, this variation is for you. Replace the coca cola with root beer for a sweet, sassafras flavor that pairs perfectly with the savory pork ribs. The root beer also helps to tenderize the meat, resulting in melt-in-your-mouth ribs.
- Mustard and Onion Ribs: For those who love a tangy kick, try adding a tablespoon of mustard and a teaspoon of onion powder to the sauce. The mustard adds a tangy flavor that complements the sweetness of the coca cola, while the onion powder enhances the overall savory taste of the ribs.
Frequently Asked Questions
To remove the silver skin membrane, start at one end of the rack, slide a knife under the membrane and lift and loosen a small edge of the membrane until there is enough to grab onto. Grab the edge of the membrane with a paper towel and pull it off. The paper towel helps you grip it better so that it's not as slippery.
If you don't have a rack to place over the pan, you can use foil balls on a cookie sheet as an alternative method. This will still allow the ribs to cook evenly while being lifted up by the foil ball, which will give it better air flow.
You will know the ribs are done when they are soft and jiggle – borderline falling apart. Depending on the thickness of your ribs, this could take anywhere from 2 hours and 45 minutes to 3 hours in the oven.
Yes, you can make the Coca Cola sauce ahead of time. Simply follow the sauce instructions and once it has slightly thickened, turn off the heat and store it in the fridge until you're ready to use it.
Storing and Reheating
Refrigerating: After enjoying the flavor-packed coca cola ribs, any leftovers can be stored in the fridge. Simply place the ribs in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.
Reheating: To reheat, preheat your oven to 350F. Place the ribs on a baking sheet, brush them with barbecue sauce, and heat until they are warmed through. This will help to keep the ribs tender and tasty. Alternatively, you can also microwave it for 1-2 minutes in the microwave as well.
Freezing: Unfortunately, it's not recommended to freeze cooked pork ribs as the texture can become tough and lose its flavor.
More Pork Recipes You May Like
- Sweet and Sour Pork Recipe (咕噜肉)
- Beer Braised Pork Belly (Chinese Style)
- Crispy Honey Garlic Ribs (Delicious Bite-Sized Ribs)
- Spicy Pork Bulgogi (Classic Jeyuk Bokkeum Recipe)
- Sweet and Sticky Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)
- Steamed Spare Ribs with Black Bean Sauce
- Dry-Fried Long Beans and Minced Pork with Olive Vegetables
- Vietnamese Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chops (Thit Heo Nuong Xa)
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Sweet and Sticky Cola Ribs
Joyce's Recipe Notes
- Ketchup, coke and all the sugary condiments splatters a lot, so be careful when you're stirring the sauce.
- Hot sauce is optional. We used Sabal Olek, but if you enjoy a spicier rib or have a preference of hot sauce – switch up the hot sauce.
- You will get a more flavorful rib if you remove the silver skin membrane.
- All Purpose Coffee Dry Rub - https://pupswithchopsticks.com/all-purpose-coffee-dry-rub/
- 3 lbs baby back ribs (full rack)
- oil (canola, peanut or vegetable)
- All Purpose Coffee Dry Rub
Coca Cola Sauce
- 1 can coca cola (355ml)
- 2 slices ginger
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 small shallots (or 1 small onion)
- 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine (or dry sherry, or white wine)
- ½ teaspoon fish sauce (or soy sauce)
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 2 tablespoons Sambel Olek (or any hot sauce of your choice)
Preparing the Ribs
- Use a knife and cut under the silver skin membrane about 1 inch in from the side to create a flap you can hold on to.
- Use a piece of paper towel to hold onto the edge of the silver skin rip off the skin. The paper towel helps grip onto the skin better since it is very slippery.
- Once the skin has been removed, use some oil and lightly coat the ribs.
- Add the dry rub on liberally. (We used our All Purpose Coffee Dry Rub)
- Once the rub is on – Foil it! We will essentially be steaming this in it’s own juices.
Bake the Ribs
- Pre-heat the oven to 250F (121C). We want to bake this low and slow for soft and tender ribs.
- Put the foiled ribs on a cookie tray and put it in the oven.
- Set a timer for it for 2 hours and 45 minutes to 3 hours. Depending how thick your ribs are, you may need to adjust the timing. You will know the ribs are done when they are soft and jiggle and start to fall apart.
Make the Coca Cola BBQ Sauce
- In a food processor, blitz 2 cloves garlic, 3 small shallots (or 1 small onion) and 2 slices ginger. If you don't have a food processor, you can also grate it.
- Set the stove to medium low heat
- In a frying pan or wok, add in 2-3 tablespoon of oil and wait for it to get hot.
- Add in the garlic/ginger/shallot mixture and brown it. Keep stirring, garlic burns quickly – especially near the edges of the pan.
- When it has browned, add in 1 can coca cola, 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine, ½ teaspoon fish sauce, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1 tablespoon mustard, and 2 tablespoons Sambel Olek and cook it for 15-20 minutes until it has reduced and has slightly thickened.
- When the sauce has slightly thickened, turn off the heat and wait for the ribs to finish cooking in the oven.
Brushing the Ribs and Caramelizing the Sauce
- Once the ribs have finished cooking, remove it from the foil. If there is any juices in the foil, save it and pour it into the sauce and mix well.
- Brush the sauce on the front and back on the ribs.
- Set the oven to broil and bake it for 5 minutes each side.
- Slather on more sauce and repeat the process of putting it in the oven for 5 minutes to caramelize. (We did this about 2-3 times since we like our ribs sticky and messy, but be careful how often you broil it – you don’t want to overcook the ribs and dry them out.)
*Nutritional information is calculated using online tools and is an estimate*
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