Monday, October 3, 2011

Dr. Pepper Ribs

In an effort to send my husband into age 32 with a smile on his face and a happy belly, I made him a "birthday feast" last night (this is just what I like to call it — I thought it sounded more fun than "birthday dinner"). I try to mix it up from year to year, even though I'm pretty sure that he wouldn't complain if I made him a rib-eye and mashed potatoes each birthday. A simple man, Brad is. I, however, am less simple — typical. So for this year's feast I wanted to try something different.

At about the same time that I was looking for inspiration, I came across a recipe for Dr. Pepper Ribs on a blog called Homesick Texan. Never having made ribs before, I said "yes please!" and decided to go for it, adapting my recipe from HT's.

As always, I'm a firm believer in starting with high-quality, fresh, and local (when possible) ingredients. I buy most of my non-poultry meat at Martin's in the Reading Terminal Market — great prices, knowledgeable butchers, and I have never once been disappointed with a purchase!

These ribs are spicy and full of flavor, and I've officially overcome my fear of cooking them. They're also a very low-maintenance entree, only requiring an initial rub and then periodic glazing. Perfect for cooking on a Sunday afternoon while the game is on.

I served them with a slightly sweet cornbread (recipe forthcoming), steamed green beans, and a stack of napkins. Brad's sentiments? "Damn, that was tasty!"

Delicious. Spicy. Sweet. Messy. Oh baby.

Dr. Pepper Ribs (1 large rack of ribs — about 5 lbs.)

One large rack St. Louis-style ribs (about 5 lbs.)
1/4 cup Dr. Pepper (don't use diet)

Dry Rub Ingredients:
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/8 cup black pepper, freshly ground
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 tsp. mustard powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. ground chipotle
1/2 tsp. of allspice

2 cups Dr. Pepper (don't use diet)
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tbsp. molasses
2 tsp.
ground chipotle powder


Coat the ribs with the dry rub, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least four hours. (I recommend putting the plastic-wrapped ribs on a large tray or shallow dish to avoid a mess in your fridge.)

Bring the ribs to room temperature prior to cooking (about 20 minutes on the counter should do it). Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Line a large baking or roasting pan and arrange the ribs with the meat side up. Pour 1/4 cup of Dr. Pepper into the pan, cover pan tightly with foil, and place in the preheated oven.

Meanwhile, place all the glaze ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes until thickened.

After 90 minutes, take the ribs out of the oven and spread some of the glaze on each side of the rack. Place back in the oven, meat side up, and cook uncovered for 30 minutes. Then
take the ribs out of the oven and spread more glaze over them and cook for 30 more minutes uncovered.

Once again, take the ribs out of the oven and spread more glaze on each side. Then cook under the broiler for four minutes per side. Cut the ribs and serve.

Click here for a printable recipe!


  1. Sounds great!!! I have make BBQ sauce with Coca Cola and ketchup before, but I bet Dr. pepper is better!!

  2. I didn't know you had a blog, stringtheory!! :)

    The Dr. Pepper flavor isn't really that strong, so it might be very similar...just provides a sweet something to the sauce. Yum!


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