Oven-Baked Ribs With Cherry Cola Barbecue Sauce

Now that it’s almost summer, it seemed only necessary to kick it off with some juicy, succulent ribs. I am an amateur when it comes to ribs; I definitely had to do some digging to figure out the perfect way to cook them. But since ribs are one of my favorite foods (do I say that about everything?), it was well worth the research.

For this recipe, I used St. Louis pork ribs. Feel free to use beef ribs, but just be aware that the cooking time for beef ribs varies from that of pork ribs—a quick Google search should help you out. However, the rib choice is not what matters. It’s their tenderness that matters—along with the dry rub and barbecue sauce.

I wanted to create a barbecue sauce that was simple yet sweet and smoky. I interned with a food magazine last year and learned that Coca Cola goes well in barbecue sauce, so I decided to kick it up a notch and experiment with Dr. Pepper. I used a classic store-bought sauce to keep things extra simple for myself and for you, and added some chipotle powder because I like the hint of a smoky scent that it has.

My family was kind enough to taste test this one with me…how generous of them to come around for free food, right? I truly appreciated it because they are my most honest critics, and they kept coming back for more. I should have made two racks! I hope you enjoy this recipe just as much as they did.


Makes 1 rack of ribs
1 rack St. Louis pork ribs
For dry rub:
1 teaspoon garlic
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp. packed brown sugar
For barbecue sauce:
1 1/2 c hickory & brown sugar barbecue sauce (such as Sweet Baby Ray’s)
1/2 c cherry cola (such as Dr. Pepper)
1/8-1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder

For barbecue sauce: Combine Sweet Baby Ray’s, Dr. Pepper and chipotle chili powder in a small pot. Let simmer on low heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour over ribs and enjoy.
For ribs: Preheat oven to 300. Combine spices and rub over top of ribs (for a more intense flavor, put dry rub on ribs the night before cooking). Wrap ribs in tin foil and place them on a metal sheet. Bake for 2 – 2 ½ hours (Ribs must have an internal temperature of more than 145 degrees, but I made sure mine were at least 165). With about 20 minutes remaining, take ribs out of oven, unfold tin foil and lather in barbecue sauce. Let cook for 20 more minutes, then slice and enjoy.


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