I once had ribs so tender, so moist, so fall-off-the-bone-melt-in-your-mouth amazing I just had to know how they were made. This ancient, grumpy geezer had made them and he must have been a former CIA agent because this guy knew how to keep a secret.
I tried complimenting, begging, pouting and even a little flirting but the old guy was not budging. I can however be persistent when I want to and I finally wore him down. I think it may have been the Demi Moore tears, the quivering lower lip and the fact that somehow he wrongly got the impression I had only months to live and just had to know his secret before I passed on. I have no idea how he came to that conclusion.
Turns out the secret to his tender juicy ribs was marinating them in Coke overnight. Something about the carbonation and sugar breaks down the pork protein and tenderizes the heck out it.
Combine a nice long soak in a cola bath with slow roasting in a warm oven and a sticky, sweet, cherry infused, mildly spicy, kick you-know-what glaze and these ribs are out of this world. In fact I just stole the Rib Master of the Universe title from my husband. My husband’s ribs are truly amazing but they take hours of hands-on preparation time, 27 ingredients and a day of sweltering to prepare. Mine have maybe 15 minutes total of hands-on work and my kitchen appliances do all the heavy lifting.
So grab a bunch of napkins and prepare yourself for fall-off-the-bone-melt-in-your-mouth amazing Cherry Cola ribs!
Insert a dinner knife between the bone and membrane that covers the back of the ribs and peel the membrane off. This will ensure your ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender.
Place ribs in baking or roasting pan and pour over the cola. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the fridge overnight or up to a day.
It is best to have the ribs bone side down so the meat is submerged. Remove the ribs and pour the cola into a large, heavy saucepan.
Pat the ribs dry with paper towel and season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Wipe out the baking or roasting pan.
When done the ribs will be sticking out like a twenty-something, anorexic Hollywood starlet.
Puree the maraschino cherries (juice and all) in a blender or small food processor. Add the pureed cherries to the pan with the cola and add some chili garlic sauce, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil.
The protein from the meat (from marinating the ribs) will form into a scum at the top of the sauce as it boils, skim this off. Cook until reduced down to about a cup and very thick – about an hour, stir it once on a while.
Place ribs on a baking sheet, bone side down and brush with the glaze – be generous!
Gluten Free Cherry Cola Ribs Recipe
5 pounds baby back ribs
1 – 2 liter bottle Cola
Salt & Pepper
1 – 10 ounce bottle maraschino cherries without stems
1 -2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 – 4 tablespoons brown sugar – optional
Flip the ribs bone side up and insert a dinner knife just under the white membrane that covers the meat and bones. Gently peel the membrane off. Place ribs in a baking dish or roasting pan and pour the cola over. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Remove the ribs from the cola, reserving the cola for the sauce. Pat the ribs dry with paper towels and season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Pour the cola into a saucepan, wipe of the baking dish or roasting pan and return the ribs to the pan. Cover with foil and bake for 3 – 3 ½ hours or until the meat is very tender.
While the ribs are baking, make the glaze. Puree the maraschino cherries, with the juice, in a blender or small food processor. Add to the cola in the sauce pan. Add 1 teaspoon of chili garlic sauce, the mustard, vinegar and ½ teaspoon of both salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Continue to boil, uncovered until the liquid reduces down to about 1 cup and is very thick. Skim the foam off the top of the mixture occasionally and stir once in a while. When the mixture is reduced and thick, taste it – you may want to add some more chili garlic sauce if you like it spicier and some brown sugar if you want it sweeter – this is to taste. Also check to see if it needs more salt and pepper. Reserve glaze until the ribs are done.
When the ribs have finished baking in the oven, remove and turn the heat up to 500 degrees (or you can use the broiler – turn to high). Place ribs on a baking sheet, bone side down, and brush the glaze liberally over the top. Cook or broil for about 5 minutes, watching to make sure the glaze does not burn.
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