Recipe courtesy of Doug Worgul

Cherry Bomb Barbecue Sauce

Though barbecue is my cooking passion, I'm not really much of a believer in barbecue sauce. When I make barbecue, I prefer to let the smoke do the talking, not the sauce. But this cherry-based sauce I concocted is pretty darn good — and pretty hot.
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1 yellow onion, chopped fine

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 can cherry juice concentrate

1 cup red wine vinegar

3 chipotle peppers, stems removed

4 packages dried sour cherries

8 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1 tablespoon paprika

6 to 8 pickled cherry peppers, stems removed

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup sour cherry preserves

One 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, with liquid

2 tablespoons rye or bourbon whisky

2 tablespoons sugar (or more)

Salt to taste


  1. In a heavy saucepan, saute onion in oil until caramelized. Add cherry juice, vinegar, chipotle peppers two packages of dried cherries, garlic, paprika and pickled cherry peppers. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until chipotle peppers are completely softened, at least 30 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool. In a food processor, puree this mixture together with the remaining two packages of dried cherries, the tomato paste, roasted red peppers and cherry preserves until smooth.
  3. Push puree through a fine mesh strainer into a saucepan. Add sugar and salt to taste. Add whiskey. Return to stove and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for another 20 minutes or so. Adjust salt and sugar.

Cook’s Note

This sauce probably won't be as thick as most commercial barbecue sauces.