Coca-Cola BBQ Ribs

May 29, 2009.   33 Comments.   Categories Chef David Lawrence, Contributing Chefs, Smoking / Grilling.  


Coca Cola BBQ Ribs

by Chef David Lawrence

This is the ONLY rib recipe you will ever need. Sticky and sweet. Absolute perfection!

Serves 6

  • 1 (1.5 liter) bottle of Coca-Cola (not diet!)
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 racks baby back ribs (about 4 pounds)


  • 2/3 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1Β½ tablespoons yellow mustard
  • ΒΌ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 (12 ounce) can Coca-Cola (not diet!)
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large pot, add the (1.5 liter) bottle of Coca-Cola, onion, garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns. Add the ribs and, if necessary a bit of water just to ensure the ribs are submerged completely. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer, turning the ribs occasionally, until the meat pulls away from the bone, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, to make the sauce combine the butter, onion, garlic, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and (12 ounces) Coca-Cola in large heavy sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for about 25 minutes stirring often until sauce is thickened and reduced. Season to taste with salt and pepper and let cool slightly. Using a blender, puree the sauce.

Note: Sauce can be made up to 5 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Preheat the grill to high.

Remove the ribs from the pot, pat dry, season with salt and pepper and brush liberally with the sauce. Grill, turning often, until charred on the outside, about 8 minutes. Loosely tent the ribs with foil and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting into individual ribs. Serve extra sauce on the side for dipping.

Recipe and photos reprinted with permission of Chef David Lawrence.


  1. you do not boil ribs you put them on a smoker

  2. Not a fan of parboiling ribs but they came out great. The sauce was great. Next time I want to barboil then run them through the smoker and see how they come out . Great recipe thanks

  3. Do yourself a favor and read this:

  4. Do yourself a favor and google “raw pork and coca cola” think you ll choose the beef?

    • I am going to put this as politically correct as possible. “Pull your head out of your ass”

  5. can I cook it in the oven

    • Yess

  6. This looks delicious but I do have a question. My husband is diabetic and regular cola is one of the worst things for him. Do you have a similar recipe that uses diet cola or any other substitution that would be ok for diabetics?

  7. Can you please give an alternative for those of us who do not have an outdoor grill ??? Oven option would be great..

  8. These are delictious , I have made them twice and loven them

  9. I made these ribs for the holiday they were fall off the bone delicious.

  10. WE never parboil ribs just season them and place them on the grill. I know my husband won’t go for the parboil so what do you suggest I do. Just marinate them in the coca cola and spices that is used in the parboil then grill with the sause?

  11. can u do these in a crockpot?

  12. Could I smoke the ribs instead of grilling them?

  13. They look Delish! I am from Texas and I would love to make these but I do not have a pot big enough to cook them in. I love spare ribs and they are huge. I bought two pkgs of them for Easter. Is there another way to use the coke to flavor them with out cooking them first in a pot. I slow cook them in the oven because that is the only way I can fit them. Can you marinate them with the the coke, onions and other ingredients first? Thankyou!

    ps. Not all Texans are jerks. There are some nice ones too, Happy Easter πŸ˜‰

  14. This looks absolutely delicious! I was wondering if you could precook the ribs in the Coke mixture and then refrigerate until you use them? Was thinking of doing this for a wedding reception/backyard BBQ but won’t have the time to stand by the stove and do the precook of the ribs. What do you think??

    • Yes you can Tammy, I did it myself and they tasted the same


    • Please, don’t do that! Precooking ribs takes away from the flavor.
      Just senceless!!!!!!!!

  15. I follwed this recipe to the tee and I will never make it again. Thought I would try something different, but here in Texas we like our ribs smoked for 6-8 hours till they fall off the bone. This recipe just didn’t cut it, we don’t use a mustard BBQ sauce here. I use some brown sugar in my dry rub and use some good wood. Sorry

    • Nobody really cares what texas thinks. We do know ur mama didn’t teach yo,u “if you can’t say something nice shut up”!

    • If is was such an abomination as relating to Texas ribs then why did you bother even making them?!
      You should have saved yourself all the effort and us the pain of reading your useless review.

      • Maybe you shouldn’t be a jerk and accept other peoples opinions.

      • you are so so right. He is an a**hole

    • Please share your dry rub recipe, if you wouldn’t mind!

  16. Will this work with beef ribs?

  17. David,
    These are the best RIBS ever!! I have made this recipe 3 times now and continue to impress my friends. Hands down this is the most stress-free way to serve amazingly delicious tender ribs that will fall off the bone every time. I actually don’t make the sauce. It takes the longest to make and my husband said it is too sweet, But these RIbs are Killer!!!!!

  18. Hi Laura!
    I’m drooling over those ribs!! Any advice on what’ll be the procedure if I parboil then oven-bake it instead of grill? I live in a tropical country and it’s storming like crazy out here! Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Cha .. yes I dont grill mine when I finish parboiling..i put them in the oven and bast as I go along and save soem for a final baste when I take them out. Mmm finger lickin good!!!!

  19. I author a blog on Coca-Cola history and popula culture. I saw this recipe a few weeks ago and saved it to post on my blog. If you have a chance, take a look at the site and the recipes that readers have shared with us over time. The rib recipe is perfect for the Summer. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Oh my gosh! This looks AND sounds amazing! I love the sauce recipe and it looks great…but I’ve never been a fan of ribs. This looks so good that now I’ll have to buy some ribs just to try it out. πŸ™‚ I bet this would be killer on chicken or pork loin. Yum! Thanks for the great sauce recipe!

  21. Hi Evans, I am a card-carrying cult-following “Egger!” I scratched my head too on the parboiling.. I’ll encourage David to defend his honor on that one. I will say that his recipes seem spot-on so I’ll have to try this before passing judgement. But I will tell you that I would roll these ribs on the grill first, then slow-cook and baste on the Egg… That’s how I make all my ribs, no matter what the sauce or seasoning. Being from California, the Cola sauce was new to me and I thought it fitting with July 4th around the corner! Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for visiting the site!
    PS – I am ashamed to say I haven’t tried baking on the egg yet – but your idea to do the scones is a great one!

  22. Just as a follow up…
    Great to see you’re an “Egger”!!
    I’ve been cooking with Eggs for about 6 years now…Now have 3 of them..and love’m!!
    I use one of my Large Eggs pretty much… just for baking!
    Im going to try your BlueBerry Scone recipe on the Egg as a matter of fact!

  23. First…
    I’ve really enjoyed your page, and will definately try some of the recipes here!! this Rib Recipe. The sauce sounds like so many old southern “RC Cola” or “Dr. Pepper” based sauces…but, Iv’e got to say it… nooobody in their right mind would parboil Ribs!!
    It is a Culinary Crime…and way below a man of your obvious talents!!

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