Cherry BBQ Baby Back Ribs - Napa Winery Recipe

Special Pre-Release Offers on 2012 Alexander Valley


Cherry BBQ Baby Back Ribs

If you like your ribs super tender so you can pull the bones out clean, then this recipe is for you! This is a perfect fork and knife rib recipe so you won't get your wine glass dirty. This BBQ sauce is savory enough to balance with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, while the cherries add just the right amount of fruit sweetness to complement the fruit profile of Pinot Noir.

Serves 4-6, total time:


  • 2 tablespoons ancho powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 racks baby back ribs
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (*omit if you are able to smoke your ribs in a smoke box)
  • 1 cup water

Cherry BBQ Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ½ cup onions, diced
  • ½ cup garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ancho powder
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup cherries, pitted, fresh, frozen, or dried
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (*omit if smoking your own ribs)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ cup water

Make the Ribs

  1. In small sauté pan, mix all of the spices together and place over medium heat. Stir constantly over the heat until the spices begin to lightly smoke, and the aroma of the spices fill the room. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  2. Once the spices have cooled, sprinkle them all over the ribs. Once the ribs are thoroughly coated with the spices, place them in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. When ready to cook the ribs, preheat the oven to 300°F. Next, mix the liquid smoke and water together and pour into roasting pan. Place the ribs into the pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake in the oven for 1-2 hours. (** Here is where you can adjust how you like your ribs. If you like your ribs with a chew or bite to them, then you should pull them out after an hour. If you like them super tender so the bone pulls out clean, then cook them longer, possibly up to 2 total hours.)

Make the Cherry BBQ Sauce

  1. Make the BBQ sauce the day before, or while the ribs are cooking. To do this, sauté the onions and garlic in the canola oil until they start to caramelize.
  2. Then add the ancho and cocoa powder. Let cook with the onions and garlic for 1-2 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients

Pair with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Pinot Noir