Sweet Heat Cheerwine Baby Back Ribs

Smothered on grilled baby lower back ribs, this Cheerwine glaze is finger-licking’ excellent. Better stock up on the napkins.

Sweet Heat Cheerwine Baby Back Ribs
Sweet Heat Cheerwine Baby Back Ribs


2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (3-lb.) slabs baby back ribs
1 (12-oz.) bottle Cheerwine soft drink
1 (15-oz.) can tomato sauce
1/3 c. light brown sugar
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. chili-garlic sauce


Preheat oven to 325°F. Stir together paprika, chili powder, dry mustard, garlic powder, ginger, 4 teaspoons salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons spice mixture over ribs, dividing evenly. Place ribs on a rimmed baking sheet; wrap tightly with aluminum foil. Bake until tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove foil; rest 30 minutes.
Combine Cheerwine, tomato sauce, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, chili-garlic sauce, and 1 tablespoon spice mixture in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 2 cups, 25 to 30 minutes.
Heat grill to medium. Grill ribs, basting with 1 cup of the Cheerwine sauce and turning frequently, until lightly charred and lacquered, 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer to a platter and serve with remaining Cheerwine sauce and spice mixture.

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