If you love fall-off-the-bone ribs, you’ll love this super-simple recipe with a secret Southern ingredient.
In the lyrics of Juvenile, “She get it from her mamma.”
This three-ingredient, fall-off-the-bone, hassle-free rib recipe came directly from my mother. Her secret ingredient is a local brand soda, and once you try it, you will not make ribs any other way ever again.
I have made ribs in the past, and it typically took a lot of attention and ingredients — and they just were not that good. Once I spent nearly all day in the kitchen tending to ribs in the oven, and another time, I stayed close by a smoker for hours trying to make sure I did not dry them out. I must admit, neither time were the ribs very tasty.
I like my ribs dripping with sauce and sliding off the bone. I do not like them being too chewy or too mushy, and I really don’t like it when I must tear them off the bone with my teeth because the peritoneum was not removed.
My mother taught me to remove the fatty membrane tissue (peritoneum) from the backside of the ribs before cooking them. It does make them a bit more delicate to handle and transfer, but at least they do not have the super chewy sheath that restaurants typically leave on ribs.
For this recipe, you just drop them in a crockpot and walk away. When you are about ready to serve them, you sauce them up and pop them in the oven for a short time.
The sauce is made from Cheerwine, which is a Southern soda consisting of sweet cola flavors and a hint of cherry. Cheerwine was created right here in North Carolina in 1917 and calls itself the “Nectar of North Carolina.” Most Southerners are familiar with it. It claims to be best paired with the foods of football season — including BBQ ribs. It is important to note that my mother is also an avid soda drinker and loves Cheerwine.
The first time my mother made these she invited us over for a family dinner. Knowing I had botched my last few attempts at ribs, I was eager to try hers as she is a very good cook. The moment we walked into the house, we could smell the sweet aroma of BBQ sauce — and it instantly activated my Maillard Reaction. She plated the ribs on her favorite hand-painted platter that she brought back from a trip to Hawaii, which is also known for its amazing BBQ pork dishes. Her presentation was as beautiful as the ribs were delicious. The meat literally fell from the bone as I tried to place ribs on my plate.
If you also struggle with making the ideal BBQ ribs, then you must try this recipe. Not only are you supporting a local company and using minimal ingredients, but also you will have time to enjoy the day after licking your fingers and bones clean.