By Virginia Willis
Coca-Cola is to Atlanta as Guinness is to Dublin. Friends and family liked my Coca-Cola–Glazed Wings (page 24) so much that I decided to try a similar combination on pork. Pork has a natural affinity for sweet, rich caramel flavors. These “nouveau” Southern ribs are by no means traditional, but they are lip-smacking good.
Scotch bonnet peppers are intensely hot, but their fire is tempered by the sweetness of the sugar and Coke. To tone down the heat, substitute jalapeños instead.
1 cup Coca-Cola Classic
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
11/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Scotch bonnet chiles, chopped
2 racks baby back ribs (3 pounds total)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the glaze, in a small saucepan, bring the Coca-Cola, vinegar, brown sugar, and chiles to a boil over high heat; reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until syrupy, about 10 minutes. Decrease the heat to low and keep the sauce warm while the ribs cook.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Liberally season both sides of the ribs with salt and pepper. Place the ribs on a broiler pan and bake for 30 minutes, glazing the ribs occasionally with the Coca-Cola mixture. Turn the ribs over and continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes, glazing occasionally, or until the ribs are tender and the meat is starting to pull away from the bone.
When the ribs are cooked through, set the oven to broil. Liberally spoon half of the remaining glaze over the ribs and broil until glazed a deep mahogany brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn over; repeat with the remaining glaze, an additional 5 to 7 minutes.
Serve immediately with lots of napkins.
Virginia Willis and Lisa Eckus-Saffer will be at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum on July 20 for a special Cookbook Publishing seminar. Find out more here. http://southernfood.org/sofab/explore/events/cookbook-publishing-101/
Reprinted with permission from Bon Appétit, Y’all: Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking by Virginia Willis, copyright © 2008. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House.
Photo credit: Ellen Silverman © 2008