Barbecued Spareribs with Plum Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    4 to 6


Appears in

The Glory of Southern Cooking

The Glory of Southern Cooking

By James Villas

Published 2007

  • About

the great barbecue tradition continues to evolve in the South, and one fairly recent innovation is the popular use of relatively thick, sometimes syrupy basting sauces flavored with any number of fresh fruits and berries. Mangoes, oranges, guavas, apricots, plums, blackberries, raspberries—all can transform an ordinary barbecue sauce into a whole new, often exotic complement to pork, chicken, game, and even fish. I like to serve these particular ribs with smoky baked beans, a red cabbage coleslaw, oniony corn sticks, and, of course, plenty of ice-cold beer or ale.


  • 8 fresh purple plums, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 4 scallions (white part only), diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 racks meaty pork spareribs (about 3 pounds each)
  • Peanut oil for brushing


Ignite a thick layer of charcoal briquets in an outdoor grill, let them burn till ashen (30 to 45 minutes), and place the grill rack about 6 inches from the coals.

Meanwhile, in a stainless-steel or enameled saucepan, combine all the ingredients except the spareribs and oil, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring from time to time, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, let cool slightly, then purée the sauce in a blender or food processor. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.

Brush the spareribs with oil, place on the grill, lower the lid on the grill, open the vents, and cook about 20 minutes. Uncover, turn the ribs, brush with the sauce, and continue cooking, uncovered, turning and brushing the ribs with the sauce, till tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

Transfer the racks to a cutting board, cut into individual ribs, and serve hot with remaining sauce on the side.