Grandpa’s Coca-Cola Ribs

Here are my adorable parents, who are just about to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary. With all their friends. And all our giant extended family. At my house. Please pray for good weather.

Anyway, my mom has always been an amazing, phenomenal, extraordinary cook. As a matter of fact, when I did the “All About Me” section on this blog and described myself as a self-taught cook, more than one person who has known me for a while pointed out that I actually had a pretty fantastic teacher, otherwise known as My Mother. Totally true! I probably should have mentioned that. At any rate, she was and still is a virtuoso in the kitchen. Fresh-baked bread, home-made pasta, chocolate mousse cake, veal Oscar, marinated mozzarella, the best scones in the entire world, I could go on and on. My dad…well, he made some pretty great scrambled eggs over the years, but he was mainly relegated to kitchen clean-up crew along with the rest of us.

However. Over the past few years, I have had more than one great meal at their house, and complimented my mom on whatever it was, and she said these four words that were not usually ever strung together in my childhood home:

“Your father made it.”

Macaroni and cheese. Shredded beef barbecue sandwiches. And lately, these ribs that are the sweet and spicy kind that literally fall off the bones as you eat them.

Dad? Dad, is that you?

So when he made them for dinner over Memorial Day weekend, I thought that’s it, the world must know about this. And with that, here they are, the world’s most scrumptious and tender ribs, from the world’s most scrumptious and tender dad.

Grandpa’s Coca-Cola Ribs
  • 4 lbs Pork Ribs
  • 3 cups Coca-Cola or Dr. Pepper
  • 3 cups Ketchup
  • 1 cup Packed Dark Brown Sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 4 tablespoons Ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoons Ground cinnamon
  1. Transfer the ribs to a large non-reactive glass or ceramic dish pour 2 cups of Coca-Cola or Dr. Pepper over them. Reserve the third cup of the soda for a sauce to be made later. Let the ribs marinate, tightly covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated, overnight.
  2. Pour the remaining 1 cup of soda into a blender or food processor and add the ketchup, brown sugar, chili powder, pepper, dry mustard, and cinnamon. Mix until smooth and well blended.
  3. Put the ribs in a roasting pan that has been coated with cooking spray, brush with the sauce, and roast covered in a 225 oven for about 2½ hours until very tender. (Can be done the day before. )
  4. To finish, grill over high heat, basting with the uncooked sauce until the outside is crispy, about 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile simmer the unused sauce for about 20 minute until a little thick.


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  1. Nancy Stern says

    Knowing your parents as I do, those words are a pleasure for me to hear. I will be happy to try himself's rib recipe at our earliest opportunity and maybe it will make the next book with his name on the recipe. Love your blog and your family….Nancy

  2. Kathleen says

    I love reading about your lovely parents! These ribs look outrageous! Can't wait to try them! Tell your Dad thanks 😉

    • Kate says

      You transfer the ribs from the soda to a baking dish, then brush with the marinade – you don’t pour the soda into the baking dish. Does that help?

  3. Delihia Gaytan says

    Hi Kate I love ur Dad spare ribs they are very good this is my Third time making them
    my family and friends love it , tell ur dad thank u
    Mrs Gaytan

  4. Jason says

    Wow i just tried your ribs and they’re great. I’m glad I made the effort to bbq today even though it’s a brisk -18 C today and had to warm up the tank inside. You really taste the cinnamon eh.

    Thanks again for the recipe

  5. Atlas skwarchuk says

    I made this recipe in Oct 2012 and it was amazing and I’m back today to do it again. This is a delicious recipe and would like to thank you for sharing. Props to you and your family. Thank you

  6. says

    I made these ribs for my family the other night… Delish!!! I can’t wait to make them again. The best part, I have plenty of sauce left for other projects.

  7. Joni says

    I am trying this tomorrow. I am about to do the marinade and let the ribs soak overnight. I will let you know how much my family enjoys them. Looks delicious!!

    • Kate says

      Hi Diane! The ribs are pretty much cooked once they go on the grill – they are being grilled just to get that nice crispy exterior. If you run them under the broiler after the oven time in the recipe (and watch them carefully during the broiling part!) you should get a similar crispy effect. Hope this helps!


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