Smokey Cherry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

As the Texans say, “Hooo-dawgie!” This smokey-sweet-hot barbecue sauce is wonderful on ribs! The cherry season is short, so don’t put off making a batch of this sauce. Cherry pitters are available from Mountain Feed, and you’ll find sweet, ripe cherries at Jurevich Farms.

INGREDIENTS:

4 lbs. pitted sweet ripe cherries
1/2 to 1 (7 oz.) can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1-1/2 cups cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

METHOD:

Sterilize 6-8 half pint canning jars and lids, keeping them hot until needed.

Rough chop the cherries in food processor or by hand. Reserve juice.

Drain chipotle peppers, reserving sauce. Chop the canned chipotles.*

Combine chopped cherries and juice, chipotles and sauce, vinegar, lime juice, sugar, onions, garlic, ketchup, and liquid smoke in a heavy stock pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 40-45 minutes, or until mixture is slightly thickened. 

Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool slightly. Using a stick blender, blend mixture until smooth. (Alternately, you can use a blender or food processor to liquify mixture — process only 2 cups or so at a time, being careful not to overload the blender jar with hot ingredients.)** 

Return mixture to stove and heat until it comes to a full boil. If you prefer a thicker sauce, reduce heat and cook for 10-15 more minutes, stirring, or until thickened to your liking. 

Ladle into prepared half pint jars, leaving 1/4 head space and top with lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. 

*Chipotle pepper heat varies from brand to brand. Be sure to taste the peppers before using. If you like a very hot barbecue sauce, use full can and all of the adobo sauce. If you would like a mild-sweet hot barbecue sauce, use half the chopped peppers and half of the adobo sauce.

**For a sauce with a smooth, silken texture, pour mixture through sieve or process through a food mill.

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