Scuppernong-Glazed Bourbon Beef Ribs with Tasso Potato Gratin
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
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Serves: 4
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup red wine
  • ½ cup vinegar-based barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (3-pound) rack of beef short ribs
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 pints (about 2 dozen) ripe scuppernongs, sliced in half and seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons sugarcane molasses
  • 2 tablespoons sugarcane vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • 3 large russet potatoes
  • ½ cup diced tasso or smoked ham
  • Spray butter
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Dry Rub and Beef
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground coffee
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 fresh sprigs of rosemary, for garnish
  1. In a large stainless steel mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and combine. Place the rack of ribs in a large plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Seal the end of the bag and massage the bag to make sure the marinade covers all parts of the ribs. Place the bag back into the mixing bowl and refrigerate overnight.
  1. In a large saucepan, add the water. Bring to a boil and add the scuppernongs, rosemary, sugar, and brown sugar. Stir to combine and add the honey, molasses, and vinegar. Lower the heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes until it reduces by half. Add the lemon juice and bourbon. Stir the thickened sauce until the bourbon cooks off most of its alcohol and the scuppernongs break down. Add a little more water if needed to thin the sauce so that it can be brushed on. Turn off the heat and keep warm.
  1. Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
  2. Using a sharp knife, or better yet, a mandoline, slice the potatoes into thin rounds and place into a bowl. Add the diced tasso to the bowl.
  3. In a large skillet, spray the bottom and sides with an even coating of the butter.
  4. Pour half of the olive oil into the skillet and swirl it around until it coats the bottom. Arrange the potato rounds on the bottom in a concentric circle overlapping the edges. Keep going until you reach the center and have completely covered the skillet. Do the same all along the outer edges of the skillet using half circles of potato.
  5. Scatter the diced tasso over, under and around the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the potatoes. Sprinkle the cheese liberally over the potatoes and along the edges of the skillet. The cheese will work to bind the potatoes and tasso together.
  6. Place the skillet over medium-high heat and cook just until you hear the sizzle of the olive oil and potatoes beginning to cook on the bottom. Immediately turn off the heat and move the skillet to the hot oven and continue cooking for 20 minutes until the potatoes just begin browning and the cheese is melted. Turn the oven off and open it to let the heat escape. Keep the skillet in the warm oven until serving.
Dry Rub and Beef
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and combine into a dry rub.
  3. Retrieve the rack of beef short ribs from the refrigerator and pour off the marinade into a container. Coil the rack of ribs tightly and tie with butcher’s twine.
  4. Sprinkle the still-wet ribs liberally with the dry rub, place on a cutting board and let come to room temperature.
  5. In a large roasting pan lined with foil, place a metal rack. Pour the remaining marinade into the bottom of the roasting pan and place the ribs on the rack above the liquid. Cover the pan tightly with foil and place in the oven. Let cook for 2 hours.
  6. After the ribs have finished cooking in the oven, remove them and uncover.
  7. Add 2 handfuls of hickory wood chips to a large container. Cover with water and let soak for 30 minutes. Remove the soaked wood chips to a large piece of aluminum foil and tightly seal. Punch holes in the foil packet and set aside for later.
  8. Preheat an outdoor gas grill, with one side burner on high and the other burners turned off.
  9. Place the wood chip packet on the grill over the hot burner. Place the ribs on the side of the grill without heat and approximately three inches from the hot side. Brush the ribs with the scuppernong bourbon sauce. Cover the grill hood and cook for 30 minutes as the wood chips begin to smoke.
  10. After 30 minutes, raise the hood and rotate the rib rack brushing again with the scuppernong bourbon sauce. Cover the grill hood and cook for another 30 minutes.
  11. After 30 minutes, raise the hood and turn the rib rack over and brush again with the scuppernong bourbon sauce. Cover the grill hood and cook for a final 30 minutes.
  12. Remove the rib rack from the grill and brush liberally with the scuppernong bourbon sauce. Wrap in aluminum foil and let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.
  13. For serving, place the coiled rib rack in the center of the skillet of potatoes and remove the butcher’s twine. Brush on the remaining scuppernong bourbon sauce. Garnish with the rosemary sprigs placed in the center of the coiled rack of short ribs of beef.
  14. Bring to the table family style for a dramatic presentation. Carve the ribs along the bones into individual servings with a bed of the cheesy tasso potatoes. Serve with hot French bread and horseradish cream sauce or Creole mustard on the side for dipping.
Unless you live near The Best Stop, you may never see these short ribs in a rack, so make friends with your butcher. I tested this glaze with and without the bourbon. Buy (or borrow) some bourbon, this small addition makes a huge difference in the balance of flavor and smokiness. If buying local, try the farm-raised Carmichael's honey from Carencro. It has a sweet grassy taste and I find it at Piggly Wiggly and Joey's in Lafayette.
Recipe by Acadiana Table at