Coca Cola Ribs are finger licking good! Massaged with a robust dry rub then smothered in cola BBQ sauce these ribs will have you wanting more. A pork recipe that is oven baked to perfection and then grilled for a sensational finish. Coke ribs are sticky, sweet, juicy and so very succulent!
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about the recipe in the points below:
- Simple ingredients: each of the ingredients needed for the recipe will be easy to find at your local supermarket. You can also get the ribs from the butcher.
- Finger licking good: these ribs are sweet, savory, juicy and seriously delicious. You will love the change from a knife and fork recipe to a 'dig in' with your hands recipe.
- Sweet and savory: there is a delightful balance in the recipe of both sweet and savory flavours. An achievement that not every recipe can master at the same time.
- Family favourite: weekends are made for family, friends and good food. The anticipation and thrill of cooking these ribs with their delicious sauce will bring an excitement to the house that dull the day to day week day routine.
- Super Bowl approved: the big day is *almost* here, if you are having a gathering or party, these need to be on the menu! There is nothing more enjoyable than a plate of ribs being shared around with the tv telling the score in the background.
- No marinade time: with deliberate intent I offer you a recipe that whilst it has a long cook time does not indicate that you have to marinate the ribs for 24 hours in advance. Ain't nobody always got time for that.
Tasty tip: This is an easy recipe for BBQ ribs. Using baby back ribs, smothered in barbecue sauce we get amazing ribs that are better than eating out! Save your $$$ and eat in for homemade yum!
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the recipe. Please refer to the printable recipe card for specific ingredient measurements as well as detailed instructions.
As you can see the recipe calls for:
- Pork ribs: you can find these in the meat section at the supermarket or your local butcher. They will be sold as a pair. Look at the options when in the store and choose a pair that look meaty as these will deliver the tastiest results.
- Coca cola: the real stuff, not the diet or coke zero option. This gets added to the tomato and BBQ sauces with the Worcestershire for the sauce.
- Tomato sauce: (ketch-up): another key ingredient in the basting sauce. This brings a well rounded flavour to balance the BBQ and coke ingredients.
- BBQ sauce (barbecue sauce): thick and rich, is it really a ribs recipe if you are not smothering them in sauce! Sweet Baby Ray would likely argue its not 😉.
- Worcestershire sauce: a condiment that will be found near the soy and apple cider vinegars this gives the sauce and ribs a whole lot of oomph.
🍜 Dry Rub Seasonings
- Garlic powder: this can dry out if the bottle is open, sealed, but not used in a while. So keep this in mind so that you don't go to grab it out and then have to pop out again to get another bottle.
- Onion powder: same as the above, a great ingredient, but needs to be used regularly so that the powder doesn't dry into a clump in the bottle.
- Mustard powder: soft and pale yellow in colour, an excellent choice for rubs.
- Cayenne powder: to add a little spice to the recipe. As much as it delivers, there is so much going on in the overall flavour that this won't stand out as a 'too hot' ingredient.
- Paprika: a smooth fine spice that has a powdered texture. Made from mild peppers (capsicum).
- Salt and pepper: a little of each to help season the pork ribs and dry rub.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the recipe. We start by combining the ingredients for the dry rub. You will find a glass and mini whisk or fork handy for this initial step.
- Gather dry rub ingredients (Photo 1)
- Combine by whisking together (Photo 2)
- Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs (Photo 3)
- Massage the dry rub into the ribs (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Coca Cola Ribs
To make the ribs, start by gathering the garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt and pepper. Whisk these till they are consistently mixed.
Next place the ribs with the underside up on a chopping board. Look for the membrane (white looking material) and starting at one edge pull this until it comes off. You can also use a knife to help with this process if it doesn't come off as one piece.
Once you have removed the membrane, flip the ribs back to the other side. Liberally sprinkle the ribs with the dry rub then massage this into the meat with your fingers and hands. Flip to the other side and repeat (less will stick to this side).
Then place the ribs onto a lightly oiled (couple of sprays) aluminium covered baking tray. Place another layer of foil over the top to completely cover the ribs.
- Flip and massage rub into other side (Photo 5)
- Place onto oil and foiled tray (Photo 6)
- Cover with foil and cook for 2 hours (Photo 7)
- Gather coca cola sauce ingredients (Photo 8)
Once the ribs go into the oven, you can make the sauce. For this step you need to combine the tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, Coca Cola and Worcestershire sauce. Simply whisk together. This sauce will lend itself to 2 uses for the recipe.
The 1st is as a sauce to baste the ribs in before grilling and the 2nd is a serving sauce. There is no need to cook or simmer the sauce, it will be right to go as is.
- Combine the sauce ingredients in a jug (Photo 9)
There will be plenty enough sauce to go around (I made sure of that 😉👍) so you can be very generous when you are coating the ribs in the sauce (there will be enough left for serving too, trust me 👍).
- Baste, grill for 5 minutes and repeat 2 to 3 times (Photo 10)
🍖 Coke Ribs
Once the 2 hours of cook time are up, use oven mits to remove the ribs from the oven and place the trays on a heat proof surface.
Pull the tin foil off and then use kitchen tongs (may need 2 pairs) to place ribs onto a silicon mat above a baking rack and tray).
Take a pastry brush and brush the sauce all over the ribs and sides to cover.
Then place the ribs into the oven (uncovered at this point) and grill them at high heat on the 2nd highest shelf for 5 mins. Remove from the oven, repeat the baste process, pop them back in again to grill. Then you can be satisfied that they are done or repeat the basting one more time.
The next step is to take the grilled ribs out of the oven, place on a heatproof surface and let them rest for 2 mins. Then use the kitchen tongs again to transfer the cooked ribs to a chopping board and use a knife to chop into individual or pairs or ribs (they will still be hot so you can use the knife without touching them too much as a means to achieve this step). You might also find it easiest to flip them over and cut from the back side as you can see where the bone runs. If you are worried, no, not all of the sauce will slide off if you cut them like this 😉👍.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
For a light bright salad, the Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad is a great pairing.
Mexican street corn or the Air Fryer Corn on the Cob will work well and offer a balance pairing.
Or the best side dishes you can serve are the Gravy Fries or Air Fryer Chips. If you are having a family feast the Ciabatta Pizza and Bruschetta Pizza will help to provide additional delicious options.
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Store leftovers of the ribs in a sealed, air tight container. They can be refrigerated for 2 days.
How to Freeze
I don't recommend freezing leftover cooked ribs as you will never get the finger licking goodness of them again after they have been cooked and frozen. You can however, purchase your ribs then freeze them (ahead of time) and thaw prior to using when you are ready to make the recipe.
How to Reheat
Place the ribs onto a silicon baking mat and reheat in the oven (moderate temperature) for 5 to 10 mins to reheat. If you are in a hurry, you can microwave them on high for 2 to 3 minutes.
😉 Substitutions and Variations
Here are my sub ins and outs that you might be thinking about as you read the post and I will tell you if I think they will work or why they won't:
- You can add 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce to the baking tray (under not on the ribs) to allow for an extra moist, steamy cooking process.
- You can use this dry rub marinade for other types of ribs (lamb, beef short ribs, pork spare ribs).
- You can use Pepsi if you want to as a substitute for the coke.
- If you are following a keto diet, but want to make these with a no sugar sauce for cooking, you might then like to serve the ribs with a Herbed Yogurt Sauce or Horseradish Yogurt Sauce. You can also find all of my homemade sauces in the one spot for further ideas.
💡 Tasty Tips
Here are my top tips and tricks that I want to share with you so that you master the recipe from the get go:
- When purchasing the ribs look for the weight. If you are feeding 4 people, a larger weight of ribs will satisfy more than the same product with a lot less meat involved. (Best to check the label as there can be quite a difference over similar looking products).
- It helps to keep the dry rub away from any liquids, so check the glass before you add the ingredients to ensure it is dry and clean. Wet rub doesn't stretch as far.
- Ensure that the oven is preheated as this will allow you to follow the cook times as set out in the recipe card accurately. You can turn it on before making the dry rub so it will be ready to go when you have the ribs ready.
- It doesn't matter which side of the alfoil you have facing up, but it is handy to spray it a little with olive oil. The dry rub will still stick in some places as it cooks for so long, but the ribs will pull smoothly from there due to the oil.
- The remaining sauce that is not used for basting can be popped into a bowl on the serving plate of the ribs for dunking.
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
Can Coke be used as a marinade?
Yes coke can be used as a marinade! The best version to use is the real 'coke' not the coke zero or diet coke flavours.
How to cook pork with Coca-Cola?
The ribs are cooked in a dry rub before being brushed with a coca cola sauce.
What is the secret to tender ribs?
The secret to making moist fall of the bone ribs is cooking them for a long period of time. 2 hours of oven baking with 15 minutes of grilling ensures tender meat with caramelised edges.
😍 More Easy Dinner Recipes
If you love to switch it up, are looking for more ribs recipes or want to make a variety of different dinner recipes to keep things interesting, then I have some more ideas I hope you will love:
- Oven Baked Pork Ribs
- Beef Osso Bucco
- Beef Udon Noodles
- Bolognese Pizza
- Air Fryer Spare Ribs
- Pork Mince Noodles
- Pork Bolognese
- Macaroni Bolognese
- Fusilli Bolognese
- Linguine Bolognese
You might need to BYO your own bib for this one my friend! 😉👍.
Coca Cola Ribs
- 1 Small glass
- 1 Mini whisk to combine the rub ingredients
- 2 Long rectangular oven trays
- 1 Aluminium foil
- 1 Spray oil
- 1 Medium sized jug
- 1 Pastry Brush
- 2 Oven Mits
- 1 Oven tray
- 1 Oven rack
- 1 Silicon Baking Mat
- 1 Kitchen Tongs
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon mustard powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper Note 1
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce optional, Note 2
- 1.5kg/ 3.3 pounds pork ribs
Coca Cola Sauce
- ½ cup coca cola Note 3
- ½ cup BBQ sauce
- ½ cup tomato sauce (tomato ketch-up)
- 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat the oven: preheat the oven to 180°C / 350-375°F / Gas Mark 4-5.
- Baking trays: cover 2 x long rectangular baking trays with aluminium foil. Spray with olive oil. Then set aside.
- Dry rub: add the garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to a glass jug and use a mini whisk to consistently combine.
- Ribs: place the ribs onto a chopping board with the underside facing up. Starting at one corner locate the membrane and gently pull this off. Use a knife for any tricky bits, cut and discard.
- Seasoning: working one rack at a time, place the ribs onto a chopping board (meat side up). Sprinkle the dry rub all over the meat to cover and massage into the ribs. Flip to the underside and repeat covering with rub. Then transfer seasoned ribs to oiled baking tray, cover with foil and then repeat process for the 2nd rack.
- Oven bake: place the covered ribs into the oven and bake for 2 hours.
- Coca Cola sauce: add the coke, BBQ sauce, tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce to a medium sized jug, stir to combine.
- Remove: use oven mits to remove each tray from the oven and rest on a heat proof surface. Gently unfold and discard the alfoil.
- Baste: transfer the cooked ribs to a silicon lined baking rack with tray underneath Use a pastry brush to liberally coat the ribs with the cola sauce. Flip and do the underside also.
- Grill/broil: change the oven setting to grill at 200°C 392°F6. Place the baking rack into the oven on the top shelf. Grill the ribs for 5 mins (no need to flip). Repeat basting process followed by 5 mins grill time 2-3 times.
- Serve and enjoy: use oven mits to remove the baking rack from the oven and rest on heat proof surface. Allow the ribs to sit for 2 to 3 minutes. Then use kitchen tongs to transfer to a serving platter. Place bowl of leftover cola sauce next to ribs for serving.
- Note 1 - Cayenne pepper: reduce to ½ or ¼ tablespoon if you don't enjoy any heat or spice in flavour. Omit if you prefer very mild flavours.
- Note 2 - Worcestershire sauce: you have the option of adding 2 tbs of this to each baking tray when cooking the ribs in the oven. This helps to create a moisture rich environment so that the ribs cook with a steamy sense about them.
- Note 3 - Coca Cola: I recommend actual coke. Not diet coke or coke zero. You can however, use Pepsi or Dr Pepper as alternatives.