Try this sticky plum and earl grey ribs with plum and sesame salad, then check out our barbecue-style pork ribs, sticky Chinese ribs and our best plum recipes for more inspiration.

Cook's tips:

  • Japanese plums, with their red hue, are the type you'd typically find in the supermarket, but don’t be afraid to branch out. Damsons are excellent for jam and gin due to their slightly bitter flavour, golden Mirabelles are sweet and juicy, and greengages can vary between tart and sweet, depending on how ripe they are.


Dry rub

  • 4 earl grey tea bags
  • 50g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 x 1kg racks of baby back ribs

Plum sauce

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 20g ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 300g red plum flesh (about 5 plums)
  • 75g soft light brown sugar
  • 75ml rice wine vinegar


  • 3 plums, cut into slim wedges
  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced diagonally
  • 1 red chilli, thinly sliced
  • small bunch of coriander, leaves picked
  • 1 tsp runny honey
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds


  • STEP 1

    Empty the contents of the tea bags into a bowl along with the sugar, 2 tsp of fine sea salt and 1 tsp of ground black pepper, stirring to combine. Arrange the ribs on two pieces of foil, large enough to wrap around them, and divide the rub mixture between the two, rubbing it firmly into the ribs. Wrap the ribs in the foil and leave to marinate for an hour. Heat the oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Transfer the ribs to two baking trays and bake in the oven for 2 hrs 30 mins until tender but still intact.

  • STEP 2

    While the ribs cook, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and cook the shallots, garlic and ginger for 6-8 mins, or until softened. Add the cinnamon, star anise and allspice, and cook for a further minute before adding the plums, sugar and rice vinegar. Stir to dissolve the sugar, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat, partially cover and cook for 25 mins until the plums are very tender.

  • STEP 3

    Remove the star anise and cinnamon stick from the pan, and blend the remaining mixture with 1 tbsp of water using a mini or immersion blender. Season to taste.

  • STEP 4

    Turn up the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Arrange a wire rack in a large oven tray and put the ribs on top. Baste with the plum sauce and roast for 25 mins, turning and basting often until evenly coloured and sticky all over.

  • STEP 5

    Meanwhile, make the salad. Combine the plums, spring onions, chilli and coriander in a large bowl. Whisk together the remaining ingredients and drizzle over the salad, tossing together. Let the ribs rest for 10 mins before serving with the salad. Save any remaining plum sauce in the fridge for up to two weeks – it works well as a dipping sauce.

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