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Dr Pepper Ribs

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The following recipe is from the September 14 edition of our weekly recipe newsletter. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, sign up here!

According to Lisa Fain, author of The Homesick Texan Cookbook, there’s a long and celebrated tradition of cooking with soda in Texas, in sweets like cake and brittles but also in more unexpected places, like these Dr Pepper Ribs.

These unexpectedly sweet and spicy ribs begin with a dry rub of chipotle, cayenne, mustard, and allspice, along with salt, pepper, and brown sugar. When it’s time to bake, that’s when the Dr Pepper comes into play. By pouring a quarter cup of this native Texan soft drink into the pan, the soda simmers the bottoms of the ribs, lending a subtly tangy sweetness. After slowly cooking for a while, the ribs are brushed with a Dr Pepper glaze that has the same “sweet up front and hot on the end” flavor profile as the dry rub. When your ribs have been slow cooked and glazed to falling-off-the-bone doneness, it’s time to hack ’em up, break out rolls of paper towels, and enjoy.

From The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Lisa Fain. Text and photographs copyright © 2011 Lisa Fain. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved

  • Yield:serves 6 to 8
  • Active time:
    45 minutes
  • Total time:4 hours


  • For the Ribs
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 racks of St. Louis ribs
  • 1/4 cup Dr Pepper (don’t use diet)
  • For the Glaze
  • 2 cups Dr Pepper (don’t use diet)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup yellow prepared mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons chipotle powder


  1. 1.

    First, make a rub by mixing the salt, black pepper, brown sugar, mustard powder, cayenne, chipotle powder, and ground allspice. Coat the ribs with the rub, cover them with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

  2. 2.

    Preheat the oven to 300°F and bring the ribs to room temperature. In a large baking or roasting pan lined with foil, arrange the ribs with the meat side up, pour in 1/4 cup of Dr Pepper, cover pan tightly with foil, and place in the oven.

  3. 3.

    Meanwhile, to make the glaze, place in a saucepot the Dr Pepper, ketchup, mustard, apple cider vinegar, molasses, and chipotle powder. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 20 minutes until thick and syrupy.

  4. 4.

    After 1 1/2 hours, take the ribs out of the oven and spread some of the glaze on each side of the racks. Place back in the oven, meat side up, and cook uncovered for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, take out the ribs and spread more glaze over them, and cook for 30 more minutes or until ribs are desired tenderness. Take the ribs out of the oven, spread more glaze on them, and then cook each side under the broiler for 4 minutes.

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