This grilling effort was the result of enjoying fresh sweet cherries while vacationing in Michigan this summer. Originally I began searching for a recipe that involved cherries in the sauce or glaze, with that found, I then added cherrywood smoked bacon and cherry wood smoke to the cook and arrived at this version of Triple Cherry Country Style Ribs. Cherries have recently been dubbed ‘super fruit’ for their health benefits in countering inflammatory diseases, preventing cardiovascular disease, protecting neurological function, and reducing cancer risk. I wasn’t motivated by that at all, I just love the flavor. But before we get to the cherries, we have to make a rub.
½ tsp coarse ground black pepper
2 tsp granulated garlic
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cumin
Combine the ingredients of the rub and set aside. Now let’s get the ribs ready for the the rub and then the grill
8-12 boneless trimmed country style ribs
1 slice bacon per rib (larger portions may require additional slices)
The cherries will reappear later but they rather enhance the photo don’t you think?
Next it’s time to wrap… and it is ok to listen to rap while wrapping if you wish. Lay the bacon slice out and place the pork rib at one end then roll it at a bit of an angle to cover as shown. Use a toothpick to secure the bacon to the rib. We can’t have loose, unsecured, insecure pork traveling around the grill now can we? Tighten up!
It’s now time to drop the dust on the pork then set aside until the grill is ready.
Grill setup is next and we’re using cherry wood to smoke these beauties. Coals and wood placed on the left to create indirect grilling zone on the right.
…and they’re on!
Cook temp desired is 275-300 and I know my trusty Char-Broil 940X will hold steady.
While the ribs are grilling I’ll retreat inside to make the cherry sauce I’m so excited about.
Cherry Sauce Ingredients:
1 lb fresh cherries, pitted and chopped (substitute 16 oz. frozen cherries—this is a wise idea—more on that later)
1 ½ cups cherry juice
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp ancho chile powder
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cornstarch
Combine ingredients, reserving half the cherries, and puree in the blender.
Note of caution: when using the blender/processor be sure to use the correct attachment and insure it is properly affixed or you’ll end up with vibrant cherry color all over your counter and cabinets (ours are …er were white!).
Pour the mixture into a medium sauce pan, bring to a simmer for 10-15 minutes, and add the remaining cherries.
Let’s check the grill (after cleaning the entire kitchen!). The bacon wrapped country style ribs are picking up some color after 30 minutes:
Entire grill time is 45-60 minutes which will vary depending upon the size of the country style ribs. These were rather small so I suggest using a probe thermometer and pulling them around 150-160 to rest.
After about 30 minutes, apply the sauce or we can call it a glaze if you desire to the bacon wrapped, country style ribs.
They look ready for the plate!
Sauce every 10 minutes until the ribs reach 150-160 degrees.
Perhaps a spot of red wine will pair nicely with the ribs. I doubt this is a highly-rated vintage but when I noticed it in the wine shop it certainly had an appeal for Grillin Fool Greg. Let’s take a closer look at Rib Shack Red with the bacon wrapped, cherry glazed, country style ribs ready to eat.
Finally I must confess I was disappointed with the flavor of the sauce/glaze. Where did I go wrong? I used fresh sweet cherries (I suggest the frozen variety as they are already pitted next time) but the cherry juice was labeled tart and that really dealt the sweetness a severe blow. So… if you’re game to try this I highly suggest avoiding tart cherry juice or simply add sugar to arrive at an acceptable sweetness level. The bacon wrapped ribs were fine but the sauce needed an adjustment.
Shortly after this cook I grilled a second version of this that is much shorter, easier and was a fantastic touchdown (everyone uses homerun)! Oh… the wine? Let’s just say it was red and, as advertised, it was extra smooth and probably better than my sauce.
If you have any questions about the triple cherry ribs wrapped in bacon, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email
- ½ tsp coarse ground black pepper
- 2 tsp granulated garlic
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp cumin
- 8-12 boneless trimmed country style ribs
- 1 slice bacon per rib (larger portions may require additional slices)
- 1-lb fresh cherries, pitted and chopped (substitute 16 oz. frozen cherries—this is a wise idea—more on that later)
- 1 ½ cups SWEET cherry juice
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tbsp ancho chile powder
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- Combine the rub ingredients together and set aside
- Wrap each country style rib with a slice of bacon and secure the bacon with a toothpick
- Coat the bacon wrapped ribs with the rub
- Prepare the grill for indirect/two zone grilling with coals and smoke wood on one side and the meat on the other
- Target temperature of the grill is 275-300
- Place cherry wood on the coals and the meat on the other side
- While the ribs smoke, prepare the sauce
- Reserve half the pitted and chopped cherries and put all the rest of the ingredients in a blender and puree
- Place the sauce in a sauce pan and add the rest of the cherries
- Bring sauce to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes
- After the ribs have been on about 30 minutes, coat them with sauce
- Coat every 10 minutes until the ribs reach an internal temperature of about 150-160 degrees
- Remove from the heat and serve