Oven-Baked Ribs with Cola BBQ Sauce

It’s the 10th, which means it’s time for this month’s Eat the World Recipe challenge!

This month’s challenge takes us to the USA!  But since the USA is so large and diverse, the theme was narrowed down to Soul Food.  Soul Food in the USA typically refers to foods and cooking techniques used by people of African American heritage in the Southern United States.

One of the best soul food recipes I came across was BBQ Ribs.  In the past, I’ve only eaten bone-in ribs at restaurants.  But that tender meat, falling off the bones, drenched in BBQ sauce was amazing.  When I saw this challenge and then found a couple racks of ribs at the grocery store, I knew it was time to make these myself!

The recipe below is intense.  The flavors build and build as these ribs cook, with a dry rub, a baste/marinade, and a homemade BBQ sauce.  It is incredibly time consuming as well, but well worth the effort.  The ribs were bursting with flavor and melted in our mouths.  While the ribs likely won’t be on a regular rotation (so time consuming!) I know I’ll make these again, the next time we’re craving ribs!

Check out all the wonderful Soul Food dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us! Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Food to Soothe the Soul Making Miracles: Sylvia's Sweet and Sticky Baked Chicken Wings Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Oven-Baked Ribs with Cola BBQ Sauce Kitchen Frau: Smothered Pork Chops A Day in the Life on the Farm: Red Beans and Rice Palatable Pastime: Smoked Rib Tips with Sweet Baby Molasses Sauce Sneha’s Recipe: Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Burritos CulturEatz: Savannah Red Rice

Disclaimer: This post contains a recipe highlighting a different country or culture. While I strive for authenticity, I sometimes need to make adjustments to recipes due to ingredient availability.  

Oven-Baked Ribs with Cola BBQ Sauce

Adapted slightly from Jubilee: Recipes from 2 Centuries of African American Cooking by Toni-Tipton Martin


Dry Rub

2 slabs (about 4 pounds) of back ribs

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon celery salt



2 cups water

Zest & juice from 1 lemon

5 sprigs parsley

½ cup chopped onion

⅓ cup chopped celery

¼ cup chopped bell pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon hot sauce

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon onion powder

⅛ teaspoon black pepper

1 small bay leaf

¼ cup apple juice

3 tablespoon cider vinegar

2 tablespoons liquid hickory smoke

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce


Cola BBQ Sauce

1 ¼ cups ketchup

1 cup cola

⅓ cup cider vinegar

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce 

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons liquid hickory smoke

¾ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon salt


Flip the ribs over to the backside and remove the membrane (see this tutorial).  Use paper towels to dry the ribs.  Mix together the dry rub ingredients.  Rub all over both sides of the ribs.  Set aside for 1 hour. 


Meanwhile, make the baste-marinade.  Place the water, lemon zest, parsley, onion, celery, pepper, garlic, hot sauce, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and bay leaf in a medium saucepan.  

Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  

Remove from heat. Once cool enough to handle, strain the vegetables out through a fine mesh sieve.  Return the broth to the saucepan along with the lemon juice, apple juice, vinegar, liquid smoke and Worcestershire.  

Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cook for 10 minutes, then remove from heat.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the ribs in a roasting pan, and pour the baste-marinade over the top.  Cover the roasting pan tightly with a double layer of aluminum foil.  Place in the oven to bake for 3 hours.  A couple of times during roasting, baste the ribs with the liquid from the bottom.  If the liquid is drying up too quickly, add some water to the bottom of the pan.

While the ribs cook, make the BBQ sauce.  Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Cover, venting the lid slightly and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for 1 hour, stirring often, until the sauce is thick.  Remove from heat and set side.

30 minutes before the end of the cooking time, remove the foil from the ribs.  Brush BBQ sauce over the ribs every 5 minutes for the next half hour until the ribs are well browned and the sauce is thick and sticky.  Remove from the oven and serve with any leftover sauce.


Amy Eats the World in...

Cuba: Ropa Vieja (Slow Cooker Beef)
Thailand: Chicken Satay
Kenya: Crunchy N’Dizi (Peanut Crusted Bananas)
Sweden: Rodbetssallad med Getost (Grated Beet Salad with Goat Cheese)
New Zealand: Kiwi Burge
France: Fougasse (Provencal Flatbread)
Argentina: Chimichurri Sauce
Mexico (Halloween Special): Pan de Muerto (Day of the Dead Bread)
India: Spiced Golden Mil
Poland: Chrusciki (Angel Wing Cookies)
Ethiopia: Buticha (Hummus)
England: Wizarding World of Harry Potter Leaky Cauldron-Style Mini Cottage Pie 
Georgia: Lobiani (Bean-Stuffed Bread)
Mexico: Crispy Pork Carnitas
Cambodia: Loc Lac (Shredded Beef with Lime)
Israel: Chicken Albondigas (Chicken Meatballs)
Finland: Sima (Lemonade) 
Puerto Rico: Arroz con Tocino  (Rice with Bacon)
Egypt: Ghorayebah Cookies
Ukraine: Scuffles (Rohalyky) Cinnamon Crescent Rolls
Soul Food (United States): Oven-Baked Ribs with Cola BBQ Sauce


  1. Ooooo! Those look perfect! It seems enormous effort you put into them really paid off. That sticky glaze looks divine.

  2. We are rib lovers here too. I'm definitely trying that cola bbq sauce.

  3. I shared some oven-roasted ribs, too. But that sauce of your look amazing! I can't wait to try it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Wow, that sticky glaze looks out of this world! Definitely worth all the time you took to make it. This looks like a special occasion dish I'd definitely do for company. Yum.