Barbecued Smoked Baby Back Ribs with Spiced Plum/Brown Sugar Sauce and Potato Salad

Hops and Harvest, Las Vegas, Bradley Ogden / July 1st, 2013

For 4-6 servings (advanced preparation required)

Barbecue dry rub:
Yields about 3/4 cup

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsps. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seed
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander seed
  • 1/4 tsp. whole cloves 1 tsp. ground ginger

Combine brown sugar, salt, chili powder, black pepper, cayenne, red chili flakes, ginger, and cinnamon in a bowl; combine the whole spices in a small sauté pan over moderate heat and toast for 2 minutes; remove from heat and transfer to spice grinder and grind fine, add to brown sugar mix and store until ready to use.

Spiced plum/brown sugar sauce:
Yields 2 cups

  • 1/2 tsp. coriander seed, toasted and ground in spice grinder
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seed, toasted and ground in spice grinder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seed, toasted and ground in spice grinder
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup yellow Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups fresh plums, pitted and quartered
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Bourbon
  • 3 Tbsps. cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsps. molasses
  • 2 Tbsps. Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1" piece cinnamons stick
  • 3" piece ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  1. Toast coriander seed, mustard seed, and cumin in small sauté pan for 3 minutes; remove; place in spice grinder; grind until smooth.

  2. Heat butter in medium 2-quart sauce pan; add onions and plums; sauté 3 minutes; add remaining ingredients and gradually bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat; reduce heat to low; cook for about 20 minutes, tasting and adjusting seasoning as needed; strain sauce through fine mesh strainer; store in jar or sealed container; sauce can be refrigerated for up to one week.

Potato salad:

  • 2 lbs. or 5 large Russet potatoes
  • 8 eggs
  • 6 strips chopped bacon, fry crispy; reserve 2 to 3 Tbsps. bacon drippings
  • 1/2 cup scallions, sliced thinly, using part of the green
  • 1/2 cup red onion
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 to 3 Tbsps. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup dill pickles, diced
  • 3 Tbsps. Dijon mustard
  • 1 to 2 Tbsps. red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsps. kosher salt
  • 2 tsps. fresh ground black pepper
  1. Place potatoes in large pot of salted water; boil until fork tender, about 35 to 45 minutes; remove with slotted spoon; let cool before peeling; cut into 1” cubes; place in mixing bowl.

  2. Place eggs in medium pot of cold water with 2 tsps. salt; bring to boil; cover; remove from stove; let sit 9 minutes; drain immediately and place in ice bath for 5 to 10 minutes; chop eggs; fold into potatoes; add chopped bacon and drippings.

  3. For the dressing: place remaining ingredients in medium bowl; whisk until blended; season to taste; fold into potatoes; reserve.


  • 2 racks baby back pork ribs, about 3 1/2 to 4 pounds
  1. Rub ribs with rub; cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

  2. Heat smoker between 200˚F-240˚F, adding more coals to keep temperature steady if necessary; add wood chips (which have been soaked for at least an hour) to coals; smoke ribs for 3 1/2 hours until moist and internal temperature is 155˚F-165˚F, basting with sauce for last 60 minutes. Serve with potato salad.