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Wow, talk about cherry heaven…. While driving down to Lolo Hot Springs, MT this weekend we took Highway 35 (the Bigfork side of The Flathead Lake). We normally take 93 but decided for a change of scenery and I am glad we did. It’s cherry orchards as far as the eye can see…IMG_3576
It was so hard to decide at which stand to stop. One stand advertised the cherries at 65 cents per pound but we couldn’t find it so we ended up stopping for a lovely little old lady waving to us from her stand and was selling her cherries for  99 per pound. Still a big bargain in my book for fresh off the tree fruitIMG_3584The big bags of the Rainer cherries were $20 a bag but I must say, I don’t care for them as much as the dark reds. They don’t have much flavor- what’s the big deal about them? Anyway, I bought a big bag of dark, sweet, juicy reds for 10 bucks and a pound of huckleberrys for another $10. What we really loved was the sign “by the ton”IMG_3586 Was anybody really driving by and saying “Let’s pick up a ton of cherries?” But, it turned out, they sold 2 tons the week before!!

So… I have been busy eating cherries and pitting them one at a time with my dollar store pitter. I have been able to freeze 3 trays so far and made a cherry buttermilk sorbet the other day with my new ice cream maker. My old one gave me 10 years of good service but finally gave out on me.

Cherry Buttermilk Sorbet

Boil: 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar – let cool
Mix with: 2 cups cold buttermilk
and
3 cups fresh cherries that have been pureed in a blender
Pour into your ice cream maker, turn it on and in about 30 minutes you will have yummy soft serve cherry sorbet -or- put it in a container and put in the freezer for a few hours for firmer ice cream

ANYWAY….. I wanted to make something that I hadn’t made before so I tried a Cherry BBQ sauce. I don’t think I have ever made a BBQ sauce before and thought this might be pretty tasty since I love raspberry and huckleberry BBQ sauces. I made this up as I went along but wrote it all down….

Cherry BBQ Sauce

3 cups pitted cherries
1 cup Ketchup
1 bottle of Beer (I used a lager)

IMG_3594I’m sure you could use any beer but I would think a stronger tasting beer would be nice…
1/4 cup runny Honey
6 Tblsp Molasses
3 Tblsp Dark Brown Sugar
1 Tblsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
1 Head of Garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp Liquid Smoke
1/4 tsp Smoked Habernaro powder (Omit if you don’t want it spicy)
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 28oz can diced tomatoes, drained

Put everything into a pot and just let it simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.IMG_3596You want to make sure all the flavors have a chance to mellow out and flavor each other. After a few hours very carefully puree your mixture in batches in a blender, or use a  hand emulsifier if you have one. If using a blender don’t put too much of the hot sauce in at once, only half way full at a time. Pour it all back in the panIMG_3614and simmer until it is the thickness that you desire. Since it has a decent amount of sugars in it, this sauce is only for the final basting. I cooked my ribs three quarters of the way and then basted them with this yummy sauce for the final 15 minutes,being careful not to let them burnIMG_3627

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