Sweet Cola Ribs — A Fourth of July Simple Soirée

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sweet cola ribs

Is there really anything better in life than a rack of slowly cooked ribs that are doused with a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce? I don’t think so. Whether you celebrate the Fourth of July tomorrow or this coming weekend with family and friends, it’s time to start thinking of great grilling recipes.

These Sweet Cola Ribs from the Neelys' are the perfect addition to your Fourth of July celebration. They cook nice and slow over your grill so they become smoky and tender, then you add the sweet cola sauce and it’s a match made in heaven. You can use any kind of dark cola for this recipe, but I think my favorite has to be Dr. Pepper.

This year I’m hosting my own Fourth of July party and you can bet that there will be multiple Sweet Cola Ribs on my grill throughout the day. Be sure to whip up extra of the barbecue sauce;  you might even want to double the recipe because it’s great on all sorts of other fun Fourth of July sides like corn on the cob and potato salad. Plus, you can throw some on the side for your guests to dip their ribs into while they eat.

sweet cola ribs

Sweet Cola Ribs

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

Sweet Cola Barbecue Sauce:
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups ketchup
1 can Dr. Pepper
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon ground mustard
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Dry Rub:
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 racks pork spare ribs (about 3 pounds each)
For the sauce:

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, add oil. Once heated, add the onion and garlic and saute until tender. Add all the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for 1 hour 15 minutes.

For the dry rub:

Whisk all dry ingredients together in a small bowl.

For the ribs:

Rinse and dry ribs. Place on a clean cutting board, pull off the membrane and trim the ribs of excess fat. Liberally season both sides of the ribs with rub. Wrap ribs with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 to 12 hours so flavors can permeate.

Preheat grill to 250 degrees F using charcoal. Set up your grill for indirect heat.

Place ribs, meatier side down, on the grill away from the coals. Close grill cover. Cook the pork ribs for 1 hour 15 minutes, flipping several times for even cooking. *Coat ribs with Sweet Cola Barbecue Sauce and cook for another 20 minutes.

*Reserve some of the sauce for dipping when the ribs are served.

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