Grilled Baby Back Ribs with Smoky Cherry BBQ Sauce and Red Cabbage Citrus Slaw

Fresh cherries round out the smoky heat of a feisty barbecue sauce that glazes tender pork ribs as they crisp on the grill. Pair with California Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

Sauce:
1 tablespoon (15ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound (450g) fresh California cherries, pitted, chopped
2/3 cup (160ml) ketchup
1/4 cup (60ml) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon (15ml) balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon (5ml) Worcestershire sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons ground chipotle chili pepper (or smoked Hungarian paprika)
1/2 teaspoon (2.5ml) salt
Rub:
1 tablespoon (15ml) salt
1 tablespoon (15ml) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon (15ml) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon (15ml) ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon (7.5ml) freshly ground black pepper
2 racks baby back ribs, each about 2 pounds (1kg), membranes removed
Slaw:
1/2 medium head red cabbage, finely shredded, about 4 cups (480ml)
2 large carrots, coarsely grated
1/2 medium yellow onion, coarsely grated with juices, about 1/2 cup (120ml)
1/4 cup (60ml) cilantro leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons (30ml) olive oil
2 tablespoons (30ml) fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons (30ml) fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon (15ml) honey
1 teaspoon (5ml) Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon (3.75ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1.25ml) freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Make the sauce:
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the jalapeño and garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1 to 2 minute. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the sauce to a food processor or blender, process until smooth and taste for seasoning.

Prepare the ribs:
In a small bowl, combine the rub ingredients. Evenly coat the ribs with the rub. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over medium-low heat (about 300°F/150°C). Grill the ribs, bone-side down over indirect heat, with the lid closed, until the meat is very tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking. During the last 20 to 30 minutes of grilling time, baste the ribs with the glaze every 5 or 10 minutes. Remove the ribs from the grill and let rest 5 minutes, then cut into individual ribs for serving.

While the ribs are grilling, make the slaw:
Combine all of the slaw ingredients in a large bowl and toss to thoroughly coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour to allow the flavors to develop.
Serve the ribs with the remaining sauce for dipping and the slaw.

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