Cherry BBQ Sauce with Cinnamon Cured Smoked Chicken

Cherry BBQ sauce. Hubs couldn’t quit talking about it.

A wonderful twist on traditional BBQ Sauce. It’s complicated in flavor. Savouring each bite, the palate sorts through a myriad of flavors as you start thinking about everything in sight that you could possibly drizzle this on.  Tart, sweet, sticky AND savory, it would be a perfect pair with duck or pork. Our first introduction was on some cinnamon cured smoked chicken.

I finally purchased some wood chips and took my first stab at smoking. Nothing like you professionals out there, and you know who you are. This is more like kindergarten smoking…I simply soaked some cherry wood chips in water for an hour, drained them, put them in a foil packet, leaving the top of the packet open and placed it on the flavor grates of the gas grill. There was a wasp nest in the charcoal grill, or I would have used it. Let’s take a look at my Saturday project:

For the Cherry BBQ Sauce:

Cherry BBQ Sauce
A delicious twist on traditional BBQ sauce.
Recipe type: Sauces
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ⅓ cup cherry preserves
  • ⅓ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ t. grated lemon zest
  • ½ t. grated orange zest
  • ½ t. cinnamon
  • ½ t. ground cloves
  • ½ C. ruby port
  • 2 t. cornstarch
  • ¼ C. orange marmalade
  • 1 T. chili sauce
  • ⅛ t. red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine the broth, preserves, orange juice, lemon juice, zests, cinnamon and cloves in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 8 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 1½ cups. Stirring occasionally.
  2. Whisk the port and cornstarch in a small bowl until blended. Whisk the port mixture, marmalade and chili sauce into the broth mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the flavors blend and the sauce is slightly thickened. Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The chicken was great simply served along side steamed broccoli. I glazed the chicken with the sauce just before removing from the grill and also served it when plated.

For the chicken:

  • 4 C. Water
  • 1/4 c. coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1 whole chicken, cut in half (or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 thin lemon slices
  • 2 thin orange slices
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 2 C. cherry or apple wood chips

Whisk water, salt and brown sugar in a large bowl until the brown sugar dissolves. Add the chicken, onion, lemon and orange slices, and cinnamon. Marinate, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for one to three hours. Do not marinate longer than three hours.

Combine the wood chips with enough water to cover in a bowl. Let stand for one hour, drain. Preheat grill on medium heat. Place wood chips in a 6×8 inch foil packet; do not seal top. Place the packet on the coals five minutes before grilling process begins and cover the grill. Drain the chicken, discard marinade. Grill chicken until cooked through.

Cherry BBQ Sauce with Cinnamon Cured Smoked Chicken…It’s What’s for Dinner.

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  1. says

    Yummy!! All that citrus, cherry, peppers and wine? Swoon-worthy ingredients and I can’t wait to try this on some chicken. LOL about being a kindergarten smoker – those guys do make it a little intimidating, but you stepped right up! 😉

    • Lea Ann says

      Intimidating to say the least. I read some of their posts and I’m just shaking my head in bewilderment.

  2. says

    Love all the flavors in that sauce. I bet it was great with the chicken. We all start out as Kinders when it comes to something new… nothing wrong with that :)

  3. says

    A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first steps – way to go. looks like you kicked off the season with a bang. If you can get then, cherry wood chips shoul work well with this.

  4. says

    I did a ‘sauce off’ a couple of years ago; I made two BBQ sauces and a couple of platters of ribs and then had my guests vote for their favorite sauce. One was a bourbon/molasses/cumin mixture I assumed would be a surefire winner as I put together the elements but no one was more surprised than me at how much we loved the sweet and hot cherry sauce. Yours is totally different from mine; now I’m thinking I need to do another sauce-off of the cherry kind!

    • Lea Ann says

      Barbara, I’m sure you saw that this came from one of the Jr. League cookbooks. It really was flavorful. It really has piqued my interest in trying less traditional recipes. Yum.

    • Lea Ann says

      Thanks for bringing that up. I thought the brine was very interesting, but didn’t talk much about it … mainly since I’m a brining dummy. :) I sent you an email explaining.

  5. says

    Oh it looks delicious. I just had some pork chops last night and this would have gone perfectly with them. I’ll try it with the chicken breasts that are waiting in my freezer.

    • Lea Ann says

      Ben, I had it on pork chops as soon as the chicken was consumer. Worked great. And actually the original recipe called for this to be served on grilled Chicken breasts. Thanks so much for stopping by and the comment.

  6. says

    Wow, that is one fruity bbq sauce, I like it a lot. For the record, I got to where I am today by using wood chips in a foil pack on a gas grill…’s a gateway drug, lol.

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