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Cherry BBQ sauce is sweet and spicy and your new favorite grilling companion. Use it on everything!
I’m all about cherries right now — obviously, since this is the second cherry recipe I’m sharing this week. (Did you make those cherry walnut scones yet?) And I have another to share that uses this recipe!
It’s hard to not embrace the seasonal produce when it shows up. While we can grow a lot of things in Texas, cherries always come from pretty far away, so I’m always on the lookout for sales. Of course, then I buy more than we can eat, and I’ve got to do something with them!
I had been wanting to make cherry BBQ sauce for a long time — ever since I made my peach barbecue sauce, in fact. Fruit works really well as a base for savory sauces. After all, tomatoes are fruits too, and when you add onions or shallots and heat-inducing spices, you end up with a sauce that rivals any standard variety.
Honestly, the hardest part of making this sauce is pitting the cherries. If you don’t have a cherry pitter tool, you should definitely get one. Until a few years ago I had been pitting cherries by hand, which is not fun at all.
Pit the cherries in the sink to keep the mess to a minimum. If you don’t pay attention to the time and just work through them, it will be over before you know it! I tend to pit more than I need so I have easy snacks later, but note that pitted cherries don’t last as long.
Need ideas on how to use cherry BBQ sauce? Try it with chicken, or add it to your favorite burger! It’s particularly good on my cherry glazed meatloaf.
This recipe makes about 2 cups of sauce. You can use it immediately, or store it in the fridge for about 10 days.
Cherry BBQ Sauce
- 1 pound fresh cherries
- 1 large shallot, diced
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Pit cherries and dice (or chop in a food processor). In a saucepan, combine cherries, shallot, brown sugar, vinegar, salt, cayenne, and cloves, stir, and heat to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, until cherries and onions are soft, about 25 minutes. Very carefully, blend with an immersion blender or food processor or blender with the lid off (to allow steam to escape). Sauce will thicken more upon standing, but you can also simmer the blended sauce until it has thickened to your liking.