Sticky Ribs with Tangy Plum BBQ Sauce

Recipe Date: February 14, 2024
Difficulty: Medium
Measurements: Imperial (US)

These tender ribs have a delicious balance of sweet, spicy and tangy. Don’t stop at pork ribs. The sauce is also delicious on chicken as well as lamb and beef ribs. Serves 2 to 4


  • 2 rack baby back ribs, about 3 pounds
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped ripe plums, preferably Santa Rosa
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 Serrano chile seeds removed and chopped coarsely
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • ¾ - 1 cup brown sugar (dependent on ripeness of plums) 
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 medium red torpedo onions with tops or large green onions


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Season the ribs on both sides with salt and pepper. Wrap like a sandwich in parchment paper then wrap and seal tightly with foil and place on a sheet pan seam side up. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.

3. While the ribs are cooking make the BBQ sauce.

4. Heat a medium saucepan over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and then the yellow onions and chile pepper. Cook until onion caramelizes, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat if the onions starts to blacken.

5. Add the brown sugar and cook until it is melted and bubbling, about 1- 1½ minutes.

6. Add the vinegar and reduce by half. Add the plums and stir.

7. Add 1 teaspoon salt, soy sauce, ketchup, and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir well.

8. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook until plums are melted, and sauce is shiny and thickened about 10 -15 minutes. Cool to warm and purée. Reserve.

9. Remove ribs from the oven and let sit wrapped on the counter for 30 minutes then unwrap.

10. Preheat a grill to medium high. Brush both sides of the ribs with BBQ sauce.

11. Place meat side down on the grill and grill until lightly caramelized. Turn rack over and brush with more sauce. Caramelize the bone side and the then turn over.

12. Repeat the brushing and turning until the sauce forms a thick coating and is caramelized to your liking. Remove from the grill to a cutting board. Let rest for 15 minutes then slice into 2 to 3 ribs portions and serve.