A Spoonful of Delight: Homemade Cherry BBQ Sauce

Who would have thought that a homemade cherry BBQ sauce, with its perfect blend of sweetness and spiciness, would be so irresistible that you’d want to eat it with a spoon? Trust me, this sauce is a game-changer! Homemade cherry BBQ sauce

I first discovered this mouthwatering recipe during a canning challenge on the Food In Jars blog. The challenge involved trying out a new recipe every month for a whole year. How exciting is that?

That year turned out to be a delightful culinary education for me. Not only did I acquire canning skills, but I also stumbled upon delectable recipes like this Cherry BBQ Sauce! The best part is that it’s not just for canners – you can also refrigerate or freeze it for later use.

When participating in the challenge, I noticed that many of the assignments coincided with the changing seasons and harvests. And this particular recipe was a perfect fit when I received a massive 20-pound box of cherries from my CSA.

Yes, that’s a lot of cherries! But trust me, once you taste this sauce, you’ll be grateful for the abundance. Homemade cherry BBQ sauce

What Makes BBQ Sauce So Special?

According to Dictionary.com, barbecue sauce is a flavorful, tangy sauce commonly made with vinegar, tomatoes, sugar, and spices, used primarily for basting meat while barbecuing. Some people spell it as “barbeque” or just “BBQ” – whichever floats your boat!

This versatile condiment is a staple in Southern cooking, with different regions adding their own unique twist to the sauce. While it’s famously known for topping ribs and chicken, you can also get creative and use it in other dishes. For instance, I love adding it to my mouthwatering Iowa BBQ Soup, which features pork, corn, and peppers. It even plays a crucial role in adding that irresistible flavor to Hawaiian pizza! Cherry BBQ Sauce in a jar

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Why You’ll Fall in Love

Prepare to have your taste buds tingling with delight when you try this sauce. Here’s why you’ll be head over heels for it:

  • Tasty: I’ll confess, I was skeptical about a BBQ sauce that didn’t rely on tomatoes and instead opted for cherries. But one spoonful and I was converted! It’s so delicious that I had to stop myself from devouring it straight from the jar.
  • All Natural: If you’re keen on avoiding high fructose corn syrup and preservatives, then store-bought sauces might not be your best bet. With this homemade sauce, you know exactly what goes into it, allowing you to enjoy a healthier option. In fact, you can even make an organic barbecue sauce if you prefer!
  • Easy: While some time is required for the ingredients to soften and reduce, the actual effort involved in making this sauce is minimal. Just schedule the cooking when you’ll be in the kitchen, and you’re good to go.
  • Packed with Healthy Fruit: According to Time Magazine, a shockingly low percentage of people meet their recommended daily fruit intake. So why not sneak it in wherever you can? This sauce offers a delicious way to incorporate some fruit into your diet. Homemade cherry BBQ sauce

What You’ll Need:

Ingredients:

  • Cherries: Cherries provide the primary body, flavor, and sweetness. You can use fresh or frozen cherries, but I recommend organic ones.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: This adds tartness and helps give the sauce the necessary level of acidity for canning.
  • Brown Sugar: To achieve that characteristic sweetness of a good BBQ sauce, use brown sugar. It also imparts a subtle hint of molasses.
  • Minced Onion and Garlic: These ingredients enhance the flavor profile.
  • Salt, Smoked Paprika, Chili Powder, and Cayenne Powder: These spices add depth and a touch of heat to the sauce. The inclusion of smoked paprika even gives it a smoky flavor!
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Special Tools:

  • Blender: You’ll need a blender, either a regular one or an immersion blender, to puree the sauce.

Step-by-Step Directions:

To get started, gather all the ingredients and follow these simple steps:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a medium saucepan.
    Put ingredients in saucepan

  2. Cook until the ingredients soften, then puree the sauce.
    Puree the sauce

  3. Return the sauce to the saucepan (unless you pureed it in the saucepan initially) and thicken it to your desired consistency.
    Thicken the sauce

  4. Pour the sauce into jars for canning, refrigerating, or freezing.
    Pour into jars

How to Pit Cherries

If you frequently use fresh cherries, it may be worth investing in a cherry pitter. This handy tool can pit multiple cherries at once, making the process quick and easy. Cherry pitter and cherries

Simply place the cherries in the depressions on the tray, flip the lid, and watch as the metal rod effortlessly removes the pits. Trust me, it’s not as daunting as it may seem.

Serving Suggestions

There are countless ways to enjoy BBQ sauce, and this cherry-infused version is no exception. Here are a few delectable serving ideas:

  • Grilled Delights: Slather this sauce on grilled chicken for a lip-smacking experience. The combination of flavors is simply divine. BBQ Chicken
  • Flavorful Ribs: Even if you don’t have a grill, fear not! Oven-roasted ribs, glazed with this smoky BBQ sauce, can still capture that authentic barbecue essence. BBQ Ribs
  • Dipping Delight: Serve extra sauce on the table for those who can’t get enough. It’s perfect for dipping and complements grilled meats beautifully.
  • Pizza Perfection: Elevate your pizza game by using this sauce as the base for a delicious Hawaiian pizza. The combination of the fruity sauce with savory toppings is a match made in heaven! Don’t forget to try it in my BBQ Soup too!
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Tips & FAQs

  • The original recipe for this sauce came from the Food in Jars canning blog. Although I initially halved the recipe because I was unsure about omitting tomatoes, I eventually made the change permanent. This quantity yields approximately one pint, which works well for a couple of BBQ dishes.
  • Is it safe for canning? Absolutely! As long as you don’t alter the recipe, you can safely can this sauce in pint or smaller jars. However, if you prefer not to can it, freezing is another option. For the full-size recipe and canning instructions, head over to the original recipe.
  • Can I make a cherry jalapeno BBQ sauce? If you’re refrigerating the sauce and planning to use it within a couple of weeks, feel free to experiment. While I haven’t tried it with jalapenos or other alterations, there’s no harm in giving it a go. Who knows? You might discover a delightful new flavor combination! Blending cherries with an immersion blender
  • Immersion blender vs. stand blender: Personally, I found the stand blender to be easier and faster for pureeing the sauce. However, both options work well. Just remember to blend on low since the sauce will be hot and might spurt.

Now that you have the recipe, go ahead and whip up a batch of this irresistible homemade cherry BBQ sauce. Store it in your pantry, refrigerator, or freezer, and savor it whenever you crave a burst of flavor. And remember, you can always find more mouthwatering recipes and inspiration at Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ.