03 November 2009

Coca-Cola Glazed Baby Back Ribs

This recipe did not come with a photo. Another version of barbecue baby back ribs: Photo by arnold inuyaki @ flickr. It's difficult to salivate over something you can't see, right? :) First we eat with our eyes...

From Denny: Since this is football season and also home of the LSU Tigers, we just have to run some barbecue recipes for the tail-gating crowd! Besides, you know you live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana when the mayor announces that Halloween trick and treating hours have been moved up an hour from 5 to 7 PM. Why? Because the LSU-Tulane game was scheduled to play at 7 PM. This town eats and sleeps LSU football. The whole world stops when LSU plays football. (OK, I'm a heretic; usually listening from around the corner while I'm posting on my many blogs...)

Like many people from Louisiana we too have lived in Atlanta and enjoyed the restaurant scene there. Restaurants don't last long in Atlanta as the city is fast-paced and moves to food trends. In Louisiana a restaurant can become a favorite with locals and stay in business for a lifetime!

This barbecue recipe is from a now closed restaurant and developed by a local famous chef with yet another restaurant that is doing well. What I like about his recipe is he is working with hot Hungarian paprika, jalapenos and habanero peppers. There are those of us in Louisiana who enjoy a little heat with our barbecue. :)

If you are not accustomed to so much heat just cut it way down: only a slice of habanero pepper for the entire dish (these crazy peppers are on the atomic heat scale!), only half of a jalapeno pepper making sure you don't include any of those fiery seeds or ribs and then cut in half the hot Hungarian paprika. You need these peppers for the flavor but can cut back the heat if need be.

Reminder: Any time you add lemon or lime juice or vinegar to a recipe with spices, especially hot spices like hot paprika, be aware these juices or vinegar are going to intensify the heat and flavors.

From: Chef Tommy Ricci, restaurant Commune in Atlanta, Georgia, (now closed). Thanks to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for archiving this popular recipe!

Thomas Ricci says: "Slow and low are the keys to great-tasting ribs. If the temperature is too high, you lose the fat rendering into the meat for flavor and moisture and the ribs could become dry and chewy instead of moist and tender."

Hands on time: 20 minutes

Total time: 4 hours and 20 minutes

Serves: 6

1/3 cup pimenton picante (hot Hungarian paprika found at farmers markets and other specialty markets)
1/3 cup ground ginger
1/4 cup kosher salt
4 pounds baby back ribs (about 4 slabs)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 yellow onions, finely diced
1 1/2 jalapeno peppers, finely diced
1/2 habanero pepper, finely diced
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup dark molasses
1/2 cup lime juice
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 gallon (2 quarts) Coca-Cola


Preheat a convection oven to 200 degrees or a standard oven to 250 degrees.

In a bowl, combine pimenton picante, ginger and salt. Rub evenly over ribs, just to cover, not to cake. Discard excess rub.
Place ribs in a shallow baking dish or on a baking sheet and bake for 4 hours, until tender. Set aside to cool.

An hour before ribs are ready: In a large pot add oil. Saute onions, jalapenos and habanero until tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add sugar and cook until dissolved. Add molasses, lime juice and vinegar. Reduce by 1/3 over medium heat. Add Coke and reduce by half until thickened, but not syrupy, stirring occasionally.

When ribs have cooled, cut into individual ribs. Place ribs in the sauce and glaze to your liking, reducing further if desired. Bathe ribs generously in sauce and serve.


Chef Ricci also advises letting the ribs cool briefly before cutting. Cut the ribs upside down because you can follow the bones. He adds, "Make sure to eat that last one on the end that's ours --- the chefs' cut."


Per serving:
327 calories (percent of calories from fat, 64), 16 grams protein, 14 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 23 grams fat, 76 milligrams cholesterol, 389 milligrams sodium.

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