American Dish · BBQ · Grilled · Holiday Recipes · International Recipe

Cherry Vanilla Bourbon BBQ Ribs Recipe

Cherry Vanilla Bourbon BBQ Ribs Recipe
Cherry Vanilla Bourbon BBQ Ribs Recipe

These Barbeque ribs are so tasty and finger ‘lickin good. This recipe is perfect for the Holiday season and any special occasion… or anytime you crave for a sweet delicious barbecue sauce. Cherry is one of the best trio for bourbon and vanilla with a touch of salt to taste. Perfect! However if cherry flavor, or cherry syrup is not possible..substitute it with any fruit like Orange, apples, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and peaches flavor. They can create some very interesting flavor changes in Bourbon. Caramel is also a perfect pair with vanilla and bourbon (though you may need to adjust the other sugar ingredients in the list below). Enjoy and happy cooking!

Cherry Vanilla Bourbon BBQ Ribs Recipe


  • For the Ribs:
  • 1-2 racks pork ribs, (baby back or spare ribs)
  • Pork Rub: (Any spices and herbs to rub the ribs: salt, black pepper, brown sugar, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, dry mustard, plus herbs)
  • For the Barbecue Sauce:
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoons + ½ teaspoon cherry flavor (syrup or juice from bottled cherries)
  • 2 ½ Tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 2 Tablespoon molasses*
  • 2 Tablespoon yellow mustard*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (½ a vanilla bean, scraped)
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1-2 Tablespoon Knob Creek bourbon (Substitute 2 tablespoons of rum, brandy, or cognac)
  • 1-2 tablespoon Hickory Liquid Smoke* (Wrights brand)


  1. For the Barbecue sauce: Combine all ingredients in a medium pot (except for the fresh ginger, bourbon and hickory liquid smoke). Bring  it to a boil and just let it simmer while constantly stirring for about 10-20 minutes. 
  2. Add the freshly grated ginger before turning off heat. Season with salt to taste, but only as needed. Set aside 
  3. Just before you start coating the ribs, whisk in the bourbon and hickory liquid smoke to the barbecue sauce.
  4. For the Ribs: (Make ahead Preparation) Remove the membrane on the backside of the ribs using a sharp knife. Discard the membranes. Then chop it.  Season the ribs liberally on both sides with the pork rub. You can use any spices and herbs to make the pork tasty. Then transfer in an airtight container and keep in the fridge overnight.
  5. Prepare the oven or air fryer: preheat the oven at 190°C. Transfer the ribs into the air fryer. Let it bake for about 30 minutes. Make sure to turn it in between to even out cooking. 
  6. At 20 minutes adjust oven temperature to 200°C and brush it lavishly with the barbecue sauce and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Remember that cooking time may also vary depending on the size of your ribs. So adjust cooking time as needed.


  • For Knob Creek bourbon, this is stirred in after cooking the barbecue sauce. Whisk in right before using the sauce
  • If using a Vanilla bean: slice the vanilla bean in half. Scrape out the black interior of the bean. 
  • To remove the membranes: slip the knife between the membrane and the bone, lift and loosen a big portion of the membrane. Just grip it tightly and pull it off swiftly. 
  • If using a smoker: Preheat and pre-smoke the electric smoker at 225-240°C. It should be done in 5 hours up to for 6 hours. In between smoking, after 3 hours open the foil and brush it with more barbecue sauce and continue to cook for another 3 hours.


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