Call it pop culture or perhaps pop cuisine, but cooking with soft drinks is a time-honored tradition of home cooks. The beverages substitute for sweet syrups in sauces, cakes and more. All colas can be used in these recipes. I especially like the flavor root beer adds to baked beans and barbecue glazes.
Cola Short Ribs
Makes 8 to 10 servings
Vegetable oil spray
4 to 5 pounds beef short ribs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Garlic powder to taste
1 1/2 cups cola drink
1 1/2 cups bottled chili sauce
2 tablespoons hot red pepper sauce, or to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons instant-dissolving flour (optional)
1. Heat oven to 325 F.
2. Spray a roasting pan or Dutch oven with oil. Brown short ribs on all sides over medium-high heat. Drain any excess oil that accumulates in pan. Combine salt, pepper and garlic powder; sprinkle evenly over ribs on all sides. Mix cola, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce and red pepper sauce. Pour over ribs.
3. Cover pan with tight-fitting lid and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until tender.
4. Remove ribs from roasting pan and keep warm. Skim excess fat from sauce in pan. If desired, thicken gravy by dissolving equal amounts of flour in water; stir into sauce. Gently heat on top of stove until sauce bubbles and thickens. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Recipe note: From “Potato Chip Cookies and Tomato Soup Cake: Recipes of Americana” (Eberly Press, 1992)
Cola Baked Beans
Makes 4 to 6 servings
2 (15-ounce) cans pork and beans
1 cup light brown sugar (loosely packed)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup Coca-Cola
1 small onion, diced
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1. Heat oven to 300F. Mix pork and beans, brown sugar, ketchup, Coca-Cola, onion and dry mustard.
2. Spread in an 11-by-2-inch baking dish. Lay bacon strips over the top. Bake at 300 F, uncovered, for about 11/2 hours, until bubbling and bacon is thoroughly cooked.
Recipe note: Adapted from “Classic Cooking With Coca-Cola” by Elizabeth Candler Graham (Hambleton-Hill Publishing, 1994).
Cola Barbecue Sauce
Makes 2 cups
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, plus a generous pinch for the garlic
3 cups cola
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 slightly heaping tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, plus additional for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1. Smash the garlic cloves, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt, and, with the flat side of a large knife, mash and smear mixture to a coarse paste.
2. Stir garlic paste, the 1/4 teaspoon salt, cola, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire, chili powder, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, and allspice together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thickened, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, stir in the lime juice, and season with black pepper and hot sauce, to taste.
Recipe note: From “Food Network Kitchens Get Grilling” (Meredith, 2005)
Makes 12-15 servings
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups small marshmallows
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup Coca-Cola
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons cocoa
6 tablespoons Coca-Cola
1 box (16 ounces) confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a bowl, sift the sugar and flour. Add marshmallows.
2. In a saucepan, mix the butter, oil, cocoa and Coca-Cola. Bring to a boil and pour over dry ingredients; blend well.
3. Dissolve baking soda in buttermilk just before adding to batter along with eggs and vanilla extract, mixing well.
4. Pour into a well-greased 9-by-13-inch pan and bake 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and frost immediately.
5. To make frosting, combine butter, cocoa and Coca-Cola in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and pour over confectioners' sugar, blending well. Add vanilla extract and pecans. Spread over hot cake. When cool, cut into squares and serve.
Recipe note: From The Junior League of AtlantaCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun