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Dinnertime Recipes

Coca-Cola® Mexican Short Ribs


In Mexico, Coca-Cola® is often used in braised meat dishes to impart a rich caramel flavor. In these succulent short ribs, the soda is combined with orange juice and traditional Mexican seasonings like oregano, cinnamon and tamarind concentrate.

What You Need

  • 1 Teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 3 Pounds meaty, lean short ribs, about 4 inches long by 2 inches thick, blotted dry
  • 2 Cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 Cup Coca-Cola (at room temperature)
  • 3 Cups Simply Orange orange juice
  • 1 Stick cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 Teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 Teaspoon tamarind concentrate or balsamic vinegar (the tamarind concentrate doesn’t have to be a Mexican concentrate. Thai or Indian versions also work well)
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Scoop sour cream, to drizzle as garnish
  • 1 Sprig chopped cilantro, as garnish


  1. In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Liberally season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Once the oil is hot, brown the short ribs in batches on all sides. Remove and transfer to a slow cooker. Stir the garlic and tomatoes into the skillet, scraping up any browned cooking bits and transferring into the slow cooker. Add the Coca-Cola, orange juice, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, tamarind concentrate or vinegar and chipotle, if using. Cover and cook on high until the liquid begins to simmer. Reduce the temperature to slow/low and cook until completely tender, about 4 to 5 hours. Adjust the temperature down to warm. Uncover and remove fat (see Extra Tip for guidance on removing the fat). Transfer the liquid to a saucepan and boil until thickened, about 15 minutes. Return the sauce to the slow cooker and taste to adjust the seasonings. Serve each short rib with a dollop of sour cream and some cilantro, as garnish.
Cooking time (duration)

TOTAL TIME: 4 hr 10 min Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 4 hr

Number of servings (yield)

6 servings




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Because short ribs are fatty, consider using one of two classic methods for skimming off the fat and reducing the liquid. Either pour the liquid into a separator and boil the non-fatty part of liquid over high heat on the stove, or refrigerate the sauce until the fat hardens and then remove it. Either way, if the solids are removed from the slow cooker for a long period of time, or you refrigerate them, it is best to reheat the whole dish in a conventional pan on top of the stove.

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