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Easy to prepare, sweet and sticky Smoked Cherry BBQ Sauce makes the ideal lacquer for a meaty rack of baby back ribs.
I remember when I first starting my love affair with cooking, the idea of preparing a tender rack of ribs was almost as intimidating as acknowledging a girl at the 7th grade dance. Though, in my defense, the risk for cooties were at epidemic levels in those days. However, I have since learned for best results just take it slow, time is on your side. Simply letting the ribs relax in the heat long enough will render them into mouthwateringly tender barbecue. As for demystifying women? Well, I still don’t know much about that.
Though one of my most popular recipes on this website is for making BBQ Ribs in the Oven, I typically prefer to smoke my ribs over charcoal, as shown above, using the popular 3-2-1 method. This is a foolproof way to prepare ribs in a smoker, or a grill, at 225 degrees. It simply means cook for 3 hours, then 2 hours wrapped in foil with a splash of apple juice, and finally finish by cooking 1 hour unwrapped again. Cooking ribs is really a lot simpler than people fear. However, if you would like a more detailed explanation of what makes the 3-2-1 method so great, check out my post on the 3-2-1 Ribs Method.
Really, the only thing you need to remember about cooking great ribs is this: “If they aren’t tender yet, cook them longer.”
Meaty ribs like the Smithfield Extra Tender Back Ribs I picked up at Walmart make for an amazing flavor canvass for constructing your ideal BBQ. Whether you simply dry rub them, lacquer them in a sticky coat of sauce, or go a completely different route, there are an infinite number of flavor possibilities. However, this Smoked Cherry BBQ Sauce is probably going to be your rib’s best friend.
Seriously, this is not a gimmicky condiment that is more reminiscent of a loose cherry jelly than actual BBQ sauce. No my friends, this is a well-balanced BBQ sauce that pits the sweetness of dark cherries and brown sugar against the acidity of apple cider vinegar and a bit of orange juice, with just the right touch of heat. This sauce is thick and luxurious, and will create the perfect sticky glaze to top these Smithfield Extra Tender Back Ribs!
If you prefer a more traditional BBQ sauce, check out my homemade BBQ sauce recipe.
Plus right now Smithfield® is hosting their Hog Wild Throwdown, with prizes including two F-150’s! I wonder how many ribs that could haul? Celebrity grillers Moe Cason and Tuffy Stone have returned as Brand Ambassadors for this event too. Check out the video below for some great grilling tips from Tuffy Stone.
- 2 racks Smithfield Extra Tender Back Ribs
- 2 tbsp Mustard
- 1 recipe BBQ Dry Rub
- 1/4 cup Apple juice divided
- 4 Hickory chunks for smoking
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 cups pitted dark cherries frozen are fine
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup juice from 1 orange
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 honey
- 2 tbsp molasses
- 1 tsp ancho chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 tsp Kosher salt
- 2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp liquid smoke
Remove membrane from under the ribs.
Rub a light layer of mustard around all sides of the ribs.
Dust liberally with BBQ dry rub (mustard helps it stick)
Heat smoker or grill to 225 and add hickory chunks on top of charcoal.
Cook ribs for three hours.
After three hours, wrap the ribs in foil with apple juice and cook for 2 hours.
Unwrap ribs, and continue cooking for 30 minutes, slather in Smoked Cherry BBQ Sauce and cook for additional 30 minutes, or until done.
Serve with additional BBQ sauce for coating if desired.
Melt butter in medium sauce pan and add onions. Saute until onions turn golden brown then add garlic, cooking till fragrant.
Add all remaining sauce ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.
Let cool and store in mason jars in the refrigerator.
If using a grill rather than a smoker, be sure to set the charcoal off to one side so the ribs cook gently in indirect heat. Always use a thermometer to monitor cooking temperatures.
The meat on properly cooked ribs should be tender and gently pull away from the bone, but should NOT fall off the bone. If you're meat "falls off the bone" it is because it is overcooked. Properly cooked ribs are more akin to a tender steak than pulled pork.
Don’t forget to enter to win one of the great prizes in the Hog Wild Throwdown!
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