Cola is fairly commonly found in Southern barbecue sauces; it lends a deep caramel flavor. Most barbecue sauces — North, South, East or West– have some kind of sweet element in them, be it brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, plain old granulated sugar– or cola. But cherry cola just takes it to a very special place in barbecue nirvana.
Don’t fret about cola and it’s atrocious health offenses: one can has the equivalent of about a quarter cup of sugar. If you think about drinking cans of cola, that is scary– but when you think about it as an ingredient in a sauce, it isn’t nearly so awful. And, oh my! What a yummy sauce it makes. Slather it on chicken thighs or burgers; brush it over ribs or skirt steak. Make it as spicy or mild as you like…but make it.
Brush it on in the last ten minutes or so of grilling*– much before that and the sauce is likely to burn.
*Or, if it is too hot out, crank up the air conditioning and roast chicken thighs in the oven. In that case, the sauce can go on about 15 minutes before the chicken is finished cooking.
Cherry Cola Barbecue Sauce
1 12-ounce can cherry cola
¾ cup ketchup
¼ cup cherry preserves
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
hot sauce to taste (start with 4 dashes)
- Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium high heat; reduce to a gentle simmer and cook until somewhat thickened, about 15 minutes. Taste and add hot sauce as desired.
Makes 6 servings
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 101 calories, 0 protein, 25 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 429 mg sodium
Had to develop a recipe for a TimeLife project I worked on for several years called ‘Fast Family Favorites’ entitled Blue Ribbon BBQ Sauce. Some of the ingredients I used were Ginger beer and fresh ginger and chipotle and it wasn’t cloyingly sweet. Whenever I need BBQ, it’s my go-to recipe.