Things I have been cooking lately #44: Coca cola ribs with baked sweet potato fries

Over the bank holiday weekend I decided to make Paul, our friend Jen and I something a bit special for our dinner. I don’t often have time for long labour intensive recipes but the extra day of weekend seemed perfect for ruining the kitchen (because I almost always do). When I first saw each of the two recipes that I put together for this meal I was instantly intrigued. I have made a ham boiled in Coke for several Christmases and found it delicious so this seemed like a great similar idea… and sweet potatoes are one of my favourite veg (and more nutritious and tastier than white potatoes). If you have the two hours (approximately) to spare that it takes to make this I would highly recommend it for a treat.

Coca cola ribs with baked sweet potato fries

Adapted from and

For the ribs

2l Coca cola (feel free to use cheap supermarket cola, just as long as it’s not diet)
1 large onion, quartered
2 bay leaves
6 cloves of garlic, crushed1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
3 racks of baby back pork ribs

For the sauce
1 340ml can of Coca cola (again cheapo is fine, just not diet)
80g butter
2 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of ketchup
1 heaped tablespoon of English mustard
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce

For the sweet potato fries
3 sweet potatoes
1/4 cup corn flour
1 teaspoon salt
Olive oil

Put your ribs in a deep 24cm stock pot. Pour over the Coke and add the remaining ingredients to the pot. If your ribs are not completely covered by the Coke, top up with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for one hour, turning the ribs occasionally.

While the ribs are cooking, make the sauce. Place all the ingredients in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until it is reduced and nice and sticky. Set aside to cool for a few minutes and then blend until smooth.

Now peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into thin batons. Put them in a bowl of cold water and leave them to soak for 5 minutes. In the meantime put the cornflour and salt in a Ziploc bag and shake to mix. Pat dry the sweet potatoes and add them to the Ziploc bag. Shake well to coat. Spread the fries over a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Drizzle with a little olive oil and toss with your hands to coat.

Preheat your grill to 200C (or high).

When the ribs have finished boiling, drain away the cooking liquid, pat them dry and then lay them on 1 or two foil lined baking trays. Whatever you have.

Spread the sauce over both sides of each rack of ribs and then put them under the grill for 8 minutes, turning halfway. Remove from the oven and cover with foil.

Turn the oven back to bake, leaving the setting to 200C. When the temperature is right, put the sweet potatoes in the oven on the top shelf. Bake for 25 mins, turning halfway.

Serve fries with ribs.

Serves 4



  1. Those ribs look fabulous!

    1. Abbi

      Thanks! My husband and the friend I made them for loved them and the leftovers we had the next day were equally delicious!

  2. Sounds MENTAL but amazing. Whats not to like, I like coke and ribs! 🙂

    1. Abbi

      It is well worth the time investment. They were so tasty. Coke works surprisingly well as a marinade because the sugar acts as a tenderiser, plus pork goes great with sweet things.

  3. Mmmm I want to buy some sweet potatoes now!!!!

    1. Abbi

      I love sweet potatoes. They are a very common food in South Africa. I am definitely going to do these as a side with lots of other dishes.

  4. With Coke? How odd! I’ve never heard of that (but the closest I come to cooking is putting crumpets in the toaster). It sounds yummy, though!

    1. Abbi

      It sounds nuts but it really, really works! Don’t sell yourself short though, crumpets are tough. I mean no one wants to burn them!

  5. I’m so hungry after reading this post, those ribs look amazing.

    1. Abbi

      They were pretty damned good. Definitely worth the work!

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