I am using a quick prep of ribs on a UV grill (that doesn't really hold a temp under 300'F; qed, no long slow cooking). I saw one other answer here where the ribs are wrapped in foil and quasi-braised in apple/pineapple juice.

Basically it goes like this: (1) trim, apply rub, and grill at 300'F indirect heat 30 mins, (2) wrap in foil with apple juice for 30 mins (which is supposed to quasi-braise the meat), (3) finish grilling apply bbq sauce.

Unfortunately I don't have apple or pineapple juice. On the other hand, I do have vanilla Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, iced tea, Sierra Mist, margarita mix, sweet and sour mix, and watery domestic beer.

From the list above, can I make any substitutions? For further consideration, I will be applying a chipotle rub and bourbon BBQ sauce.

  • 2
    I've had the strangest results using carbonated drinks for marinade. Apply something without carbonation. You are not bound to the drinks you have; you can puree any fruit or veggies available and mix with some water, acid (cream of tartar or citric acid or vinegar, whatever available) and herbs and spices. Will probably work better than vanilla Coke.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Apr 23, 2011 at 21:38

4 Answers 4


In all honesty, I think that apple juice is just a euphemistic way of saying sugar-water. The braising happens due to the sugar content mostly, which is why it doesn't really matter what type of juice it is (citrus excluded). The flavour of the apple juice will be almost completely lost during cooking, so you don't need to worry about it too much.

  • I think you and @Rum are right; this likely could have been any sugar water. I'm actually guessing they chose apple juice because it is relatively subtle. The apple juice flavor was definitely not apparent (someone on their way over called in the nick of time to find out if we needed her to pick up anything). My reluctance to add carbonation to the process (since it was supposed to braise, not simmer etc) was due to the likelihood that the gas would cause the liquid to evaporate too quickly relative to the 30 minute steaming time.
    – mfg
    Commented Apr 25, 2011 at 17:07

I think I would use a bottle of beer with two teaspoons of sugar and a tablespoon of the BBQ sauce added. For obvious reasons, it won't taste the same!


Don't be afraid to cook the ribs without a brine. (btw, are they spares?)

300f is not too high of a heat to get some nice, tender ribs. I do my ribs in the smoker at higher heats (275-300f), with excellent results. Just be mindful of the sugar content in your rub, and you'll probably want to foil them about halfway through the process. Also, I'd recommend trimming some of the larger chunks of outer fat away. You'll want less outside fat mass soaking up heat energy so the fats and tissues within the meat will render better.


Substituting apple juice in either your recipes, smoothies, cooking, baking or just simply as a drink depends on whether your end product is sweet or not.

If your end product for substituting for apple juice is sweet then substitute it with pear or grape juice and if your end product is not sweet (eg ribs)then you can substitute apple juice with apple cider, Lemon juice, White wine, White wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar.

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