It goes without saying for many of us that ribs are a must-have at every tailgate, barbecue, homegate or backyard cookout. So when it came time to come up with our recipe of choice for our annual pilgrimage to the Pocono Raceway for the Gander RV 400 and the Pocono Fan Fest (featuring the Hungry Fan Throwdown!), we immediately sought out our friends at Smithfield to send us some product! As always, they came through. This time we got a couple slabs of their Extra Tender St. Louis Style Pork Spareribs, which we love because they’re super high quality, hand-trimmed and are made (as they darn well should be) from 100% fresh pork.

We get so spoiled during the summertime because there are so many of our favorite fruits in season, including all our favorite berries and our go-to stone fruits, such as peaches and plums. We here at Hungry Fan try to make as much as we can during their short in-season lifespan, so we worked some fresh plums from the farmer’s market into our latest barbecue sauce (below). This one’s a newbie and a goodie!

Aside from the fresh plums, another thing we love about this recipe is that it’s perfect for starting at home (cooking your ribs low & slow) and then finishing on-site (or in the Infield if you’re us). The ribs are essentially ready to eat by the time they’re done cooking at home, but the extra finish on the grill onsite gives them that texture we love, the grill marks we like to see and it helps heat them up for eating!

If you’re planning to be at the Pocono Raceway this weekend, don’t miss the Fan Fest on Friday! We hope to see you there before we head onstage for the Hungry Fan Throwdown! And we also hope to see you cheering for the #10 car driven by Smithfield’s own Aric Almirola!


Barbecue Sauce

  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 -2 small shallots, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary or a few fresh sprigs
  • 10 ripe plums diced
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Sambal, Sriracha, or other hot sauce
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Optional: 1 tbsp orange zest



To Make the Sauce (Enough for both racks of ribs)

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Then add in the shallots, garlic, rosemary, and plums and cook, stirring occasionally until the rosemary becomes fragrant, or 2 – 3 minutes. Remove the rosemary. *Note: if not using fresh rosemary sprigs, place the dried rosemary in a cheesecloth or tea steeper to allow for easy removal.
  2. Add into the saucepan the ketchup, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 30 minutes. The plums should release plenty of liquid. If they don’t, you can add a few tablespoons of water to thin the sauce.
  3. Remove the saucepan from heat and add in the balsamic vinegar and the hot sauce. Stir until well incorporated. Depending on the sweetness of the plums and desired spiciness of the sauce, extra vinegar can be added to reduce the sweetness and hot sauce can be altered to address spice.

    *Note: this would be where to add orange zest if using; zest will brighten the flavors and is a nice addition for summertime cooking.

  4. Optional: If the plums did not fully break down, you transfer the sauce to a food processor or blender, once the mixture has cooled, and purée until smooth. We like our sauce a little chunky so we skip this step.

To Make the Ribs

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F and line a high-edged baking sheet with foil.
  2. Pour water into the bottom of the foil (about 1/4″ deep). Top with the spareribs. Sprinkle the top of the spareribs with a healthy dash of salt, pepper and garlic; then seal the ribs in foil. (You want them fully wrapped in foil).
  3. Cook the ribs in the oven for 90 minutes. Remove from the oven, slather the ribs with some sauce, add more water if necessary, and reseal the ribs in foil. Return to the oven for another 90 minutes.
  4. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
  5. Slather the ribs (now removed from the oven for the second time) with more sauce. Grill for 8-10 minutes per side on the grill and then serve with any leftover sauce on the side!


DON’T FORGET! Smithfield is teaming up with Walmart to encourage backyard barbecuers to get grilling all summer long with the Smithfield Get Grilling Sweepstakes. From now through September 2, HEAD HERE daily to complete the entry form and take a brief quiz to see if you’re #TeamFast like Aric Almirola or #TeamSlow like Tuffy Stone.

UPDATE: This contest has now ended. We hope you were a winner!

Smithfield Extra Tender Fresh Pork Ribs are available at Walmart so you can pick them up and bring out your inner grillmaster all summer long.

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