Whisky and Coke Ribs

  • 2 sheets pork ribs
  • 1.5 litre coke
  • 1 star anise

  • 4.5 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4.5 tbsp malt vinegar
  • 3 tbsp whisky
  • 3 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 6 tbsp HP sauce
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 2 dried chillis, finely chopped

Put the brown sugar in a frying pan and heat it gently until it begins to melt, then add the malt vinegar (don’t breathe in at this point or you’ll keel over). Bubble, stirring, until you have a smooth syrupy liquid (about 3 minutes). Add the whisky and bubble again to reduce everything down to a sticky sauce (about 2 minutes). Add the garlic, tomato sauce, HP sauce, cinnamon and chilli and cook everything together. Adjust the flavour with more vinegar or whisky if you need to—you want a good sweet/sour balance. Season with salt and lots of pepper.

While you are making the marinade, heat the oven to 120ºC. Put the ribs in a roasting tin, pour over the Coke and add the star anise. Cover with foil and cook for 1.5 hours, or until tender but not falling apart. Lift out of the cola and drain and discard. Brush the ribs with a thick coating of marinade, leave to marinate in the fridge for as long as possible. The longer the ribs marinate, the tastier, so as a rule of thumb leave them for a minimum of 24 hours.
When ready to cook, heat the oven to 220ºC or fire up your braai. Careful the temperature’s not too hot, though, as the marinade will burn. Cook the ribs for 20–40 minutes (this depends on whether you use an oven or braai and the heat of the braai), until they are blackening slightly around the edges. 

Serves 4

Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage 2006 complements this dish.

To shop from a selection of South Africa’s best wines, go to wineofthemonth.co.za

Recipe by Diane Heierli • Photography & Styling C&D Heierli