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Fruit & Fire: Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce

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Fruit & Fire: Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Devon No Comments

Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce is sweet, smoky and satisfyingly spicy. Created with tart pie cherries, this bbq sauce is best paired with pork!

Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce

To tell you the truth I have never been good at that thing called balance.  Especially during the summer.  Need somebody to take on more than they can chew? Sure. I got you covered.

And so here it is – high pie cherry season, the garden swinging into full tilt, and, of course, I embark on a massive home improvement project (two, actually) right before extended stay house guests arrive for a massive potluck — hosted at my home.  Are you breathless yet?  I am.  Add sleepless and sore to the list, too.

But I did carve out a few hours, albeit after everybody else went to bed, to make this amazing Cherry Chipotle BBQ sauce…

And tell you what – I didn’t regret it one bit.

When my mom and her siblings were little, my grandparents purchased a couple acres of land up the road from the farm my grandfather was raised on.  There they planted a small orchard of pie cherries.  This property is now owned my aunt and uncle, fulfilling all our pie cherry needs.  Being that my grandfather was an Ag teacher at the time, I suspect pie cherries were in their heyday.

Fast forward a few decades and farmers across the valley were ripping out pie cherries without care.  Now they are planting more cherries again.  Such are the farming trends dictated by a persnickety market.  One might find these old pie cherries  dotting older housing developments, parks and of course, farms and orchards left untouched by the whims of the market.

“Pie” cherries are sour and tart compared to other cherry varieties and are suitable for both sweet and savory culinary applications.  Bored by commercial BBQ sauces  and a lover of spicy heat, Cherry Chipotle BBQ sauce from this year’s harvest was in order.

Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce is smoky, fruity, and a tad spicy.  Equal parts pie cherries and tomatoes, the sauce has the familiar hallmarks of classic BBQ with a sublimely fruity note.  The addition of a small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce adds some serious kick, tempered by the dark and bittersweet notes of molasses and brown sugar.

Cherry Chipotle BBQ sauce is best paired with pork ribs or a pulled roast, but do as you please, of course. The slight fattiness of pork mingles well with the heat of the chipotles. Fruit and pork are always a fantastic pair.

Should you commit to cherries, you’d be wise to purchase a pitter like this to cut down on the preptime.  As I perch before the pitter, I do however wonder if great Granny is raising an eyebrow in the great beyond. She pitted her cherries with a bobby pin…

That said, however the means of pitting, I think she would have approved of Cherry Chiptole BBQ Sauce.  And I hope that you will too!

Note: Using a handheld pH meter, this recipe registered below the USDA suggest 4.2, making it safe for water bath canning.

Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce Recipe

Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce is sweet, smoky and satisfyingly spicy. Created with tart pie cherries, this bbq sauce is best paired with pork! Makes approximately 8 pints.


  • 5 lbs pitted sour pie cherries
  • 5 lbs roma or paste tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 7 oz can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce or less, if lower heat level is desired
  • 3/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika


  • Place all ingredients in a large heavy bottomed stockpot, then puree with a stick/immersion blender until smooth. Alternatively, blend ingredients in batches using a blender or food processor.
  • Bring mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 1-2 hours until the sauce reaches desired thickness, stirring frequently. You may also choose to reduce the sauce in an uncovered stock pot set to low heat for 12-18 hours.
  • Ladle hot bbq sauce into sterilized jars. Wipe rims, place prepared lids and screw on rings finger tight. Process in a water bath canner at a full boil, 15 minutes for pints.
  • After processing, remove from canner and allow to cool for 24 hours. Check for seal and store in a cool, dark place for up to a year.

Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce


Devon is a writer and author on subjects of holistic and sustainable living. She has a degree in Complementary and Alternative Medicine from the American College of Healthcare Sciences, and her first book, The Backyard Herbal Apothecary, was published by Page Street Publishing in Spring 2019. Devon's work outside of can be seen at,,, and in the magazine The Backwoods Home. Devon's second book, The Herbalist's Healing Kitchen, will be published Fall 2019.

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About Me

About Me

Meet the Nitty Gritty Mama, Devon!

I am an herbalist, farmer, cook, and forager. I get my hands dirty and am not afraid to do things the "hard way". Sharing my Nitty Gritty Life with you! Read More



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