I don't really have an interesting story behind this recipe, or why I chose to cook ribs. I just like ribs. Once, I ordered the rum and cola ribs at Cafe 21 and that got me hooked.
Oven-baked ribs at home seems daunting and difficult. Even though I've been wanting to make ribs for a while, I saved the process for a day where I knew I'd have a lot of free time.
The recipe I followed is mostly my own - I read through my BBQ books and online recipe databases to get an overall idea but I'm held accountable for the actual ingredients and methods I used.
I had great success with this recipe so hopefully it'll work wonders for you as well. Basically, there is are 4 stages:
- Overnight marinating (12hrs)
- Slow-roasting with dry rub (1.5 hrs)
- Slow-roasting with home made marinade (1.5hrs)
- Final sealing with home made marinade (10min)
Slow-Cooked Coca Cola Ribs
Makes 1 rib rack
For the marinade
- 1 rack of pork ribs (about 30cm long)
- 1 liter of Coca Cola
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup of smoky barbecue sauce
- 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp hot cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp Chinese 5 spice
- 1/2 tsp salt
STAGE ONE: marinate the ribs overnight...
1. In a large bowl, mix together the Coca Cola, Worcestershire sauce and garlic.
2. Place the ribs inside so that they are immersed completely. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave in the fridge overnight.
STAGE TWO: slow-roasting with the dry rub...
1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Mix together the dry rub ingredients. You can alter the proportions according to how spicy/peppery etc you like things
2. Remove the ribs from the Coca Cola mixture and sit them in a bowl. Rub the dry rub ingredients into the meat side of the ribs.
3. Wrap the ribs entirely in foil. Place in the top half of the oven with the meat side down. Roast for 40min. Turn the ribs over and roast for another 40min.
4. In this time, prepare the home made marinade: in a non-stick saucepan, bring the Coca Cola mixture from before to the boil. Change the heat to low and simmer the mixture without the lid on. The Cola will keep forming a foamy skin so just periodically spoon that out into a bowl to discard later.
5. When the mixture has reduced to 1/4 of its original volume, it should be slightly thick.6. Add the smoky barbecue sauce and dark soy sauce. Adjust the taste with sugar, salt etc until it is to your liking.
7. Increase the heat to medium and let the mixture bubble away until it is quite thick but you can still pour it easily. Set the mixture aside till you need it.
8. After the 1.5hrs of slow-roasting with dry rub, remove the ribs from the oven and unwrap.
STAGE 3: slow-roasting with home made marinade
1. Paint the prepared smoky Coca Cola marinade onto the ribs, first on the bony side and then on the meaty side. Use up 1/2 of the marinade and reserve the rest for later. Wrap the ribs up completely with foil again (if the previous foil has torn, get a new piece and wrap around the old piece).2. Return them to the oven and roast, same way as before: 40min with meat side down, followed by 40min with meat side up.
3. Remove from the oven when the time is up (or, if you want to check for doneness, unwrap the ribs slightly and pull slightly between the ribs; if they are done, the bone will just come apart from the meat) and unwrap the ribs completely.
STAGE 4: Final sealing with home made marinade
1. Paint half of the remaining marinade on the bony side. Without wrapping in foil, roast the ribs with the meat side down for 5min. The sauce on the bony side should be bubbling and thickening without yet burning.
2. Turn the rack over and paint the remainder of the marinade liberally onto the meaty side. Place the ribs back into the oven, without wrapping, and roast for a final 5min. The meaty side should also be bubbling with the sauce nice and thick.
3. Serve immediately while still warm - I served mine with some homemade cornbread. The flavor should be infused throughout so condiments are probably unnecessary.
The ribs turned out AMAZING. When I served them, Charlie could not stop complaining... that is, he couldn't stop complaining about how there wasn't enough ribs! I like pork ribs to be sweet, smoky, spicy and slightly sour with the meat tender and falling off the bone. These are NOT easy requirements to meet but the cola ribs I made ticked off each criteria perfectly. The meat had such a 'fall off the bone' quality that the rack separated into two pieces just as I was transferring it onto a place.
It was one of those rare meals where we didn't bother to talk or eat slowly and savor. We tucked in eagerly, busily licking our fingers and dreading that the ribs would finish off sooner rather than later. My boyfriend then demanded I make another rack of ribs... if only they took less time... although, I'm happy to have this dish up my sleeve as a rare long weekend treat.