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Cherry Pecan Ribs Recipe

January 17, 2023

Cherry Pecan Ribs Recipe

If you’re up for an adventure, you have to try my Cherry Pecan Ribs. I’ve cooked with honey pecan before, but this is the first time I added cherry to the mix. After one bite, I knew it wouldn’t be the last time I used this flavor profile! I know you’ll love it just as much as I did.  This recipe is great for those times when you want something different that everyone will devour.

My Cherry Pecan Ribs are a classic, dry rib without much fuss. Cooking in various styles, from easy to challenging, helps hone your skill. This recipe is one of my easiest but produces results that are out of this world. With a total cook time of under 3 hours, you’ll have dinner on the table fast! There’s nothing better than an easy weeknight meal with all the fun of a weekend BBQ.

Cherry Pecan Ribs on the Traeger | Timberline 1300

Recipes like this make me believe that sometimes simple is best. These ribs come together without a wrap, injection, or sauce. When done right, dry ribs take the cake! This recipe will build confidence in even a novice grillmaster. It’s forgiving, simple, and tastes like you spent all day in the kitchen. Serve my Cherry Pecan Ribs for game day, family picnic, or whenever the mood strikes. 

The Ingredients

Most of my recipes come together with ten ingredients or less, but this time, I pulled it off with four. Here’s what you need to add to your shopping cart. Pro tip: You won’t use the entire bottle of rub, so save the remainder for the next great recipe. 

  • Baby Back Ribs. We used Prairie Fresh baby back ribs and cooked three racks. Everything I use from Prairie Fresh is high-quality and turns out great. If you don’t want to do a lot of trimming, go with Prairie Fresh. You won’t regret it! 
  • Duck fat spray. The truth is, you can use just about any binder you want on your ribs. After all, your kitchen, your rules, right? I’m usually a French’s mustard guy, but for this cook, I used duck fat. This binder makes seasoning stick without altering the meat’s natural flavors. Plus, it’s easy to apply, making grilling a breeze. 
  • Heath Riles BBQ Cherry Rub. This unique rub is unlike anything else out there. It mixes paprika, brown sugar, cherry notes, and garlic. Its reddish hue gives ribs a beautiful crust, pleasing the eye and appetite. I use this rub on pork, chicken, lamb, and ribs. 
  • Heath Riles BBQ Pecan Rub. You’ll go “nuts” for my decadent Pecan Rub. It’s savory with a hint of sweetness on the back end. This rub is also allergy-friendly as it doesn’t contain actual nuts. It’s great if you want a sprinkle of nutty flavor without using the real deal. 
  • The Smoker Setup

    Here’s the main equipment I used for this fabulous cook. You can find more of my favorite grilling tools in the Equipment and Tools section. 

    Pellet grill/smoker. I used a Traeger Timberline 1300 for this recipe. The Traeger is awesome because you can use it to grill or smoke. If you have limited space, this all-in-one setup is such a game-changer. This pit has many fun features like a pellet sensor, a super smoke button, and included probe. I consider Traeger “king of the grill” and can’t recommend this grill enough.

    Pellets. For this cook, I used Royal Oak Charcoal pellets. If you’ve been around for a while, you know this is my prime choice of charcoal. Royal Oak is high-quality, and they don’t use any fillers. All you get is a nice, pure smoke. 

    The Process for Making Cherry Pecan Ribs

    You can find a detailed demonstration of this recipe in the video and recipe card near the bottom of the post. For now, enjoy this brief overview of how I pulled this recipe together. 

  • Fire up the Traeger. I stoked the Traeger with Royal Oak Charcoal pellets and fired it up to 300℉. I kept my pellets simple this time, but you can add a touch of pecan or cherry wood to amp up the flavors. 
  • Prep the ribs. To prep the ribs, I patted them dry and removed the membrane. Prairie Fresh ribs are high-quality, so I didn’t have to do any trimming. If you use a different brand, you’ll have to trim excess pockets of fat and hanging meat flaps.
  • Add binder and seasoning. I placed the ribs on a baking tray and spritzed them with duck fat spray. Duck fat is an excellent, neutral-flavored binder that’s easy to apply. Once the binder adhered, I laid down a thick base coat of Cherry Rub. I sprinkled the ribs with a little Pecan Rub to add a savory twist. I flipped the ribs and repeated the process on the other side. Then, I let the meat sweat in for 5 minutes before putting it on the grill. 
  • Cook the ribs. I laid the ribs directly on the lower rack of the grill and arranged them at an angle. I let the ribs cook for 1 ½ hours, then sprayed them with water. I continued to cook the meat until it reached 200℉ internally.  My ribs had a total cook time of 2 hours and 45 minutes. 
  • Rest and serve. I removed the ribs from the grill and laid them on a baking tray. I tented foil over the top and let them rest for about 30 minutes. As the ribs cool, they’ll sweat in, putting all that moisture back into the meat where it belongs. If you think you can’t wait that long, put the ribs “out of sight, out of mind!”
  • The Results

    These ribs were so gorgeous; they didn’t need sauce or a wrap! As soon as they were off the grill, the house filled with the aroma of sweet cherries. The ribs had a gorgeous golden crust but were perfectly moist. The pecan took center stage, with a dash of cherry in every morsel. These Cherry Pecan Ribs are a recipe I’ll come back to time and time again. 

    Serving Suggestions for Cherry Pecan Ribs

    One whiff, and you won’t be able to stay away from these ribs. If you can find the willpower to make a whole spread, here are some of my favorite sides. 

  • Apple Dump Cake. If you want to stick with a fruity theme, try my Apple Dump Cake. This easy dessert uses shortcut ingredients and is baked on the Traeger. Add a scoop of ice cream, and you’ve got heaven in a bowl. 
  • Bacon Wrapped Green Beans. If you want to add a little color to your plate, try this green bean recipe. I guarantee you’ll come back for seconds. 
  • Smoked Brisket Baked Beans. Every good BBQ needs baked beans, and this recipe is top-notch. These baked beans are totally different than canned. Each bite is infused with a smokey, sweet flavor and studded with savory brisket. 
  • Storing Cherry Pecan Ribs

    If you have leftovers, you can store them in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can also freeze these ribs for up to 4 months. 

    Equipment and Tools

    Traeger Timberline 1300, Royal Oak Hardwood charcoal pellets, cutting board, Large Aluminum Sheet Pan, metal cooking tongsplastic spray bottle, heavy-duty aluminum foil, Thermoworks instant-read meat thermometer, and insulated gloves for handling meat.  

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