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Smoky Cranberry Ribs Recipe
Smoky Cranberry Ribs Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Smoky Cranberry Ribs Recipe

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I love cranberries and freeze them in season to enjoy all year-round. Living near New Jersey’s cranberry bogs inspires me to develop new and delicious ways to use them, as in this recipe.—Christine Wendland, Browns Mills, New Jersey
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. + chilling Grill: 2 hours
MAKES:6 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. + chilling Grill: 2 hours
MAKES: 6 servings


  • 4-1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seed
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 6 pounds pork baby back ribs
  • SAUCE:
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed
  • 1-1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup ketchup

Nutritional Facts

1 serving with 3 tablespoons sauce equals 1023 calories, 62 g fat (23 g saturated fat), 245 mg cholesterol, 1936 mg sodium, 63 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 51 g protein.


  1. In a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, combine the first nine ingredients; grind until fennel and caraway seeds are crushed. Set aside 4 teaspoons for sauce.
  2. Rub remaining spice mixture over ribs. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Wrap ribs in a large piece of heavy-duty foil (about 28 in. x 18 in.); seal tightly. Prepare grill for indirect heat, using a drip pan. Place ribs over drip pan and grill, covered, over indirect medium heat for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until tender.
  4. In a small saucepan, combine the cranberries, brown sugar, vinegar, onion and reserved spice mixture. Cook over medium heat until berries pop, about 15 minutes; cool slightly. Transfer to a blender; add ketchup. Cover and process until smooth. Set aside 1 cup sauce for serving.
  5. Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, lightly coat the grill rack. Carefully remove ribs from foil. Place over direct heat; baste with some of the sauce. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 20-30 minutes or until browned, turning and basting occasionally. Serve with reserved sauce. Yield: 6 servings.
Originally published as Smoky Cranberry Ribs in Taste of Home June/July 2011, p69

Light-Bodied Red Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a light-bodied red wine such as Pinot Noir.

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Reviewed Oct. 15, 2011

"These are great! It's a nice change from the standard sweet, brown sugar barbacue sauce. I also use the sauce for chicken wings. It's a big hit."

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