alcohol | barbecue | beer | brown sugar | canbassador | canning | cast iron cookware | cherry | condiments | dip/salsa/spread | fruit | garlic | grilling | molasses | olive oil | onion | preserved foods | quick & easy | sauce | savory | seasonal | traditional with a twist

I’m back! And bearing gifts: Cherry stout barbecue sauce.

July 9, 2018

Well, well, well. Look who’s back posting! Boy, is it nice to be back. I’m typing with a happy, babbling, sweet smelling little baby boy sitting on my lap on a beautiful day. Ready for an actual RECIPE??? Here goes…

Once again this year the lovely folks at Northwest Cherry Growers sent me pounds and pounds of gorgeous sweet cherries!


I couldn’t wait to get in the kitchen and do something with these little glistening orbs of sweetness. But it isn’t as easy as it used to be. Making things like canned barbecue sauce and jams and jellies aren’t easy anymore. Baking is easier, because you can mix it quickly and toss it in the oven. Canning requires attention. Time. And most of my time is occupied by a tiny human who is quite demanding. If I thought blogging while pregnant was tough… lets just say I had no idea. So lemme just say my mom is the real MVP for pitting a gazillion cherries so I could make some recipes while Kieran slept. Thanks mom!

Speaking of Kieran, he’s 7 months old now & the most beautiful little boy on earth. Here comes gratuitous image of baby and mommy bragging:


Gosh, he’s just perfect and amazing. Motherhood agrees with me, but it’s not so great for food blogging. Should I start blogging about a variety of things now? I don’t know. I loathe mommy blogs. What’s a girl to do? Any feedback would be much appreciated. No, seriously. It feels so good to be back doing this, but should this space change? Morph? Should I add more content than just food? HELP A GIRL OUT.

Anyway. This is something like my fifth year being a Canbassador. *counts* Uh. Yeah. No. Sixth…. I think. Yes.

In case you’re a new reader, or you just love stone fruit, in previous years I’ve made: vanilla brandied peach jamnectarine basil preservespeach & pepper salsavanilla bean sliced peaches in syrup, a beautiful (and easy!) peach, bourbon & black walnut crostatamint julep peaches, which were such a hit around here I’ve already had pre-requests for them if I get a batch of fresh peaches. I also made grilled peaches with ricotta cream & honey, which were also amazing and a great use for those peaches not suitable for canning (too many soft spots, overripe, not ripe enough, etc). There was also a triple stone fruit crisp, spiced nectarine jam, nectarine & blackberry jam with purple ruffles basilcanned cherries in a light syrup, cherry preserves with jasmine green tea, mini-cherry pies made with Pimm’s No. 1 Cup and a cherry sauce I served with vanilla panna cotta… then a sour cherry jam, whole cherries in coconut syrup and a beautiful almond ricotta cake with fresh cherries and strawberries. Last year I made cherry salsa with jalapeño and cherry vanilla freezer jam. I also baked up some whole wheat cherry almond oat bread and a cherry crumble. Then when the peaches came… I made peach ketchup, peach salsa (again) and a peach caramel tart.

Whew. I’m gonna take a breath now.


Also don’t judge me for using my iPhone to take these pictures. I just did not have the time to set up crazy shots like I used to. Kieran was trying to help me move the jars around, though. He’s so helpful! Thankfully nowadays iPhones take photos that are just as good as most cameras. iPhones. Saving moms asses since… I have no idea. Moving on.

To be honest, my mother gave me this idea too. She mentioned a barbecue sauce (probably because she loves when Jay fires up the grill) and I hadn’t ever made one with fruit before. I have made a Guinness barbecue sauce (ignore cringeworthy old photos plz thx), which is probably where the tiny little part of my brain that stores information other than PBS Kids TV show themes kicked in and suggested I add stout to this one. Because initially I wasn’t planning on adding beer to this sauce, but sometimes you’ve gotta go where the wind takes you. Know what I mean? For some reason I was thinking about it as I was making it and boom- I opened a can of Murphy’s stout and poured in about a bottle and a 1/4. That’s just how these things happen.

I had Murphy’s on hand, but you can certainly use Guinness or your favorite stout. Even a chocolate stout would work well. Really well actually. Murphy’s is a bit smoother than Guinness, not as much of a bite. Lends itself nicely to this kind of thing.


Okay! On to the recipe!


Makes about 4 or 4 1/2 pints


  • Six cups of cherries, pitted and halved
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar *
  • 2 1/4 cups Murphy’s stout (or Guinness, or your favorite stout)
  • 2 cups ketchup or plain tomato sauce
  • 4 tablespoons molasses (or use brown sugar instead of white*)
  • 4 teaspoons hot Hungarian paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper


  1. Using a Dutch oven or similar heavy pot, cook onions and garlic in oil until translucent.
  2. Add everything except cherries and stir to incorporate. Add cherries and stir again. Bring to a rolling boil.
  3. Lower heat. Simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, or an actual blender if you’re cool enough to have one (I currently do not), blend until smooth. I left a few chunks in mine because NOTHING IN LIFE IS PERFECT YOU GUYS.
  5. Transfer to clean, warm jars. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. I would say wait about a week before using to let everything meld together. But do whatever you want!



Note: I actually processed mine. Now, I don’t know if this recipe is safe for that being as my brain is fried now. But I wanted to give most of my jars away as gifts so I didn’t want to risk them opening. But I processed them in a water bath for 20 minutes.

Now… what to do with the remainder of these cherries…

And for more amazing recipes and inspiration follow the #Canbassador hashtag on social media. Pssst… hint: Instagram is especially rife with deliciousness!


Suggestions for use: Slather it on any meats you’re planning to plop on the grill. Use it as a dipping sauce for already grilled meats. Use some oil to thin it out and make it a salad dressing (if you like smoky salad dressings). Use it on a sandwich.
Soundtrack: Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood on TV (this is my life now).
Sources & credits: Raspberry tea towel; IKEA, vintage red bowl; Pyrex, all jars by Ball®.
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