I know you’re looking for something to do with that bag of cherries in your fridge before they go bad. May I suggest you smoke them and make an incredible smoked cherry BBQ sauce? Nothing beats the infusion of sweet cherrywood laced all through meat, veggies, and in this case…cherries. Smoked cherries take about 2 hours on a very low 225-250 degrees, and they go from bright deep red to dull unsaturated version of themselves, color-wise. But trust me, the taste is amazing. The finished product comes together beautifully, and tastes amazing on your grilled chicken, baby back ribs, corn, lamb, jumbo shrimp, steaks — you name it. This sauce is that versatile. Sweet, spicy, smoky, it’s the perfect combination.
Not everyone has access to an outdoor smoker. Let me introduce you to a solution that could change your life — an indoor stovetop smoker. I own one, and I love it. Using it in conjuction with my oven allows me to have that great slow-smoky flavor without smoking up the house. Letting the chips smoke over an open flame for about 10-minutes, or until super smoky (whichever comes first) is all I need. Of course, nothing really beats an actual smoker, but the stovetop version is pretty stellar considering your possible limitations. You should absolutely check it out if you live in an apartment or condo, or some place you simply cannot lug around one of the big joints.
see all those pits? we don’t want those in our sauce.
I’m using an electric outdoor smoker, set to 250 degrees. Cherrywood is my wood of choice here.
If you’re a fan of making your own sauces, this smoked cherry BBQ Sauce is a clear winner. This recipe is very adaptable to your own personal tastes. Not everyone likes their bbq sauce the same way. You may want more or less smoke, more or less sweet, more or less heat, etc. Use my measurements as “starting-off-points”, and continue to taste through the cooking process to adjust as you see fit.
here’s what they look like after 2 hours. they smell amazing!
so let’s get started on the sauce. pour some olive oil into a heavy bottom pot, add the onion and crushed red pepper.
add some salt (i’m using kosher)
Cook that down until the onions are softened, about 4 minutes. add additional oil if you need to.
throw in some brown sugar, honey, and a little molasses.
don’t forget the mustard, and maybe a little more cayenne if needed.
allow all of this to simmer for 30-45 minutes, tasting often and adjusting seasoning as needed. if you need more heat, add it. if you need more sweet, add it.
once it’s perfect, take a hand-blender and get to work! or, use a regular blender in batches. safely though, you don’t want this super hot stuff splashing you in the face. you can blend it until it’s the consistency you prefer.
this is how i wanted mine. smooth but somewhat textured. you can go smoother or chunkier, it’s up to you.
jar it up. it’ll stay yummy for up to a month in your fridge.
Make sure you also check out my Peach Bourbon BBQ Sauce, that one is amazing as well. Happy smoking!
Preheat your smoker and wood chips according to manufacturer’s instructions to 250 degrees. Set timer for 2 hours, if using electric. Place cherries in a medium-sized baking dish and smoke for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, saute the onions and crushed red pepper flakes in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Add one teaspoon of kosher salt, and cook an additional minute. Add the black pepper, ground ginger, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and smoked paprika. Drizzle in a little more oil if needed. Cook until the spices bloom and become fragrant, about a minute. Add in the garlic, stir and cook for 30 seconds.
Pour in the pinot noir, and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, about 1 minute.
Add the smoked cherries and let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the brown sugar, honey, and molasses, stirring until well combined. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, tasting and adjusting often. When the sauce tastes perfect to your standards, remove from heat. Use a hand-blender to break down and smooth the sauce, or use a regular blender in batches. Puree until it’s the texture you prefer. Pour the finished sauce in jars or tall plastic quart containers and keep in your fridge for up to a month. Alternatively, you can enjoy it right away on your favorite protein or veggies.
Prep Time:20 mins
Cook Time:1 hour
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