French Fridays with Dorie: Cola and jam spareribs

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe – Cola and Jam Spareribs (p 280) – was one I approached with some trepidation.  Firstly, the only ribs I *really* like are Dorie’s beef short ribs – pork spareribs are not my favourite – plus, Coke and apricot jam? Supposing that Dorie knows much more what she is talking about than I do, I dutifully marinaded the ribs in the jam, orange juice, lemon juice, five spice powder and ground ginger overnight.  The marinade ingredients alone sounded promising and it smelled pretty good when I was mixing it up.

For once I actually read the recipe the whole way through before I started (not something I am wont to do!), so I noted that the total baking time is about 2 hours (thanks Dorie for actually writing that in the recipe – when I am cooking, I don’t need that extra step of adding up all the separate cooking times..) and prepared them for a late lunch – actually with the Dorie’s warm weather pot-au-feu as the starter and a cherry clafoutis that I am posting on Sunday for the dessert…


Well I liked these quite a lot – for ribs, you understand.  The sweetness from the jam and cola and the lovely aromatics of the ginger and five spice worked really well together. Will I make them again? For myself, probably not. For a large gathering of friends? Yes.  Easy and flavourful and something a little different from barbecue ribs.

And yes, I ate mine with a knife and fork, à la française!

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57 Responses to French Fridays with Dorie: Cola and jam spareribs

  1. Liz June 10, 2011 at 06:54 #

    LOL, I’m glad you liked them a lot for “ribs.” My oldest has only liked one of my rib recipes…and this was not it. Hubby loved them though 🙂 I had to throw some green on the plate to get a decent photo…you did a fabulous job for a plain plate of ribs~

  2. Belinda @zomppa June 10, 2011 at 06:57 #

    Who can resist ribs? Finger lickin’ ribs? Perfect picnic meal!

  3. Mr. Neil June 10, 2011 at 08:28 #

    I wouldn’t toss these aside, but they definitely would not be my first choice for ribs – but they are (relatively) thrifty, so I suppose that gives them added points.

    If every there was a time for a jammy Shiraz from California or Australia, this is it.

    Though personally, ribs are a perfect meal to wean yourself off of a wine fixation, and move onto beer. Stout is the classic pairing, though a deep ale works well too. These are a bit fruitier, so lend themself to a slightly lighter beer than stout quite well.

    • Mr. Neil June 10, 2011 at 14:15 #

      (Sorry, for the ‘Murricans here, thrifty = cheap.) 😉

  4. penny aka jeroxie June 10, 2011 at 09:15 #

    oh wow! cola and jam… I want this recipe… BOO

  5. Trix June 10, 2011 at 09:18 #

    I love a good pork rib, but not all that sweetness so I went a different direction .. .surprise. My hat is off to you for using a knife and fork! I guess I am just a messy American ; p

  6. Adriana June 10, 2011 at 09:28 #

    I started eating mine a la française too but after a while ended up switching to my hands. Even though they were falling off the bone I couldn’t help myself. I agree these ribs would be great for a large gathering (down to the red checkered tablecloth).

  7. Ethan June 10, 2011 at 09:44 #

    If I had been over, I don’t think I would have been so proper with the knife and fork. Maybe if we had just met, but now, I think I can just dig in 🙂

    • Melissa@EyesBigger June 11, 2011 at 00:15 #

      Ha! Even though he is a big Seinfeld fan, Ethan still doesn’t subscribe to the “eating a Snickers with your knife & fork” school of thought!

      They sound pretty tasty Mardi – I’d probably have sauce all down the front of my shirt!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 19, 2011 at 19:47 #

      You’re welcome to “dig in” of course!

  8. Kate@Diethood June 10, 2011 at 10:36 #

    That plate looks soooo good! I wish I had some more ribs. I tried to eat them with a knife and fork, but I couldn’t resist… I had to finish them off the “American way”. :)) We loved them, and I can’t wait to prepare them for a group of friends.

  9. Paula June 10, 2011 at 11:12 #

    They do look good Mardi! I have a recipe for chicken using apricot jam and Russian Salad Dressing but I’ve never done it on the grill. This post makes me think I should try it.

  10. Eileen June 10, 2011 at 11:36 #

    I love the setup in your pics with the ribs on the red-and-white-checked tablecloth. It looks perfectly picnic-ey!

  11. K A B L O O E Y June 10, 2011 at 11:56 #

    I’m glad Neil weighed in, since you aren’t much of a “hunk o’ meat” person. The recipe sounded sweet to me, but tastes differ, of course. The 5 spice powder sounded intriguing, though.

  12. lo June 10, 2011 at 12:17 #

    They look delicious… but I’m just not warmed up to the idea of using Coca-cola in cooking. I don’t drink it, so why would I cook with it? 🙂

    That said, I’m intrigued enough by the ginger and five-spice that I might make some concessions.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 19, 2011 at 19:46 #

      Thanks – the cola never actually touches the meat though, no flavour imparted whatsoever…

  13. Tammy Cannon June 10, 2011 at 12:23 #

    Wow, I’ve read a lot of comments about this not being a favorite, so I think I will use the only ribs I have (beef short ribs) and forego the marinade overnight, brown, then roast. We’ll see how this turns out! They look really good though…I’m sure I would eat the whole lot (sans knife and fork)…

  14. Kathy June 10, 2011 at 14:07 #

    Beautiful ribs! Glad you enjoyed the them…I thought they were very good, too. I think I would spice it up just a bit more next time. Enjoyed your post!

  15. Steph@stephsbitebybite June 10, 2011 at 14:45 #

    Delish!!! And your placemat has got me craving a picnic!

  16. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts June 10, 2011 at 17:50 #

    Oh, I love ribs!! These look wonderful! All for spicing up any dish!

  17. Monty June 10, 2011 at 19:07 #

    Odd question, but what kind of knife is that in your picture? The ribs do look great as well, interesting combination.

  18. foodie cravings June 11, 2011 at 09:09 #

    Wow what a strange mix…looks good though and I love anything sweet!

  19. Marla June 11, 2011 at 09:35 #

    Such an interesting way to prepare ribs…they sound wonderful!

  20. Cher June 11, 2011 at 13:00 #

    Sorry you weren’t super crazy about them, but I thought you were able to get a pretty nice shot of a not-so-easy to photograph test subject!

  21. Pam @ From Apples To Zucchini June 11, 2011 at 15:47 #

    Your pictures are just lovely! We have a favorite rib recipe as well, so I went into this one with some skepticism, but all in all they weren’t too bad! Glad you enjoyed them : )

  22. Lynn June 11, 2011 at 16:48 #

    I’m not a huge fan of ribs either, by I’m really curious about using coke in the recipe. I might give this a try.

  23. Candy June 11, 2011 at 21:24 #

    Your ribs are gorgeous! I’m completely jealous of your beautiful photos – so French and American at the same time!

  24. Sis Boom June 12, 2011 at 02:28 #

    I can’t really imagine eating these with a fork and knife but then I couldn’t imagine cooking with a can of Coke either. I enjoyed them and will make them again but I have coke phobia still… something for me to work on I guess.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 19, 2011 at 19:42 #

      I am not a Cola fan either – this kind of sort of convinced me it has potential for cooking…

  25. Jason Phelps June 12, 2011 at 09:59 #

    I was amazed at what cola did for some slow cooked pork I made last year. The addition of Five Spice here seems like a twist I will have to check out.


  26. Lana June 12, 2011 at 22:37 #

    I married a blue-blooded Southerner (he, he) and I was wondering what he would have thought of these ribs (I would have made them if my work schedule were not so crazy – I miss my FFwD crowd:)
    I like country ribs and short ribs, but spare ribs have to be extraordinary to win my approval.
    Nice photos of a not so photogenic meal:)

  27. kitchenarian June 13, 2011 at 21:42 #

    I did not make these this week; was caught up in work stuff. I didn’t regret it until I saw your ribs and read your post. Maybe I should have squeezed them in somewhere.

  28. Erika - In Erika's Kitchen June 13, 2011 at 23:10 #

    The ribs look delicious. I still haven’t been able to bring myself to cook with soda. Guess I’ll have to get over that sometime.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 19, 2011 at 19:41 #

      It’s strange – the cola does not even touch the food – perhaps might have been better if it had…

  29. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction June 15, 2011 at 10:53 #

    Very interesting… I, myself, am not a big ribs fan. Sure, I’ll eat them on occasion, but I don’t typically go searching for recipes. And, I surely wouldn’t have tried one that called for cola… But, if you and Dorie think it’s a good recipe, who am I to argue? I bet my brother would love it… He’s the rib lover in the family!

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