Cherrywood BBQ & Ale House on Kiawah Island, SC and a recipe for Cherrywood Signature BBQ Sauce

My guess is somewhere between Maine and South Carolina Jason learned the fine art of barbecuing and he does it with finesse.  It definitely takes talent to cook and smoke meats properly and keep them moist at the same time.  Jason has achieved this fine balance.  I think there is also a lot of love for what he does.  You can feel his passion when he talks about his food and Cherrywood BBQ.

There are few places that get us this excited, especially when you mention BBQ.  We were so impressed with Cherrywood BBQ that on our return visit we just enjoyed the food, company and local craft beers and did not take many additional photographs.  It was that good.

* These ribs were amazing

Now that we are in summertime full swing, I am sure BBQ grills are cranking up all over the country.  July 4th is just around the corner and everyone is looking for more ways to cook outdoors to keep the kitchen cool on these scorching hot days.  Jason has shared some BBQ grilling tips with me to share with you.  He has also given me his recipe for one of their most popular BBQ sauces at Cherrywood BBQ, Cherrywood’s Signature BBQ Sauce.

The description of this sauce on the menu reads, “Our Signature Sauce would fall into the category of light tomato based sauce. While it is slightly thicker than a traditional “light tomato” based sauce, the addition of pale ale and strong coffee give this sweet garlic sauce a uniquely distinct flavor.”

If you are traveling to Kiawah Island or the Charleston area, I highly recommend having lunch or dinner at Cherrywood BBQ & Ale House.  Be sure to tell Jason we said “hello”.  In the meantime, enjoy the tips and the recipe!

Pork Belly with Red Beet Eggs and Pickled Vegetables

BBQ Tips

The first step to making great ribs is the preparation.  No matter what your preference in ribs, baby backs or St. Louis cut, you need to start off by pulling off the tough skin on the back side of the rib.  This will help make your ribs tender, and if you are smoking them, it will help the smoke to penetrate the meat more evenly.  You can achieve this by starting on one end of the rib and using a dry towel to help assist you in getting a good grip on the skin and then pull it off.  This may take a couple of attempts, but once you get good at it, the skin should come off in one pull.

The next step is to rub your ribs with your favorite BBQ rub and let them sit in the fridge over night in the “dry rub marinade”.  Take them out of the fridge and let them sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes to an hour before you start cooking them.  This will help get you a more accurate cooking time and take some of the “guess work” out of how long to cook them.

Fire up your grill or smoker, and try to maintain a temperature of 250 degrees.  You will want to cook your ribs on indirect heat for about 3 hours while maintaining that constant temperature.  It is also helpful to keep a small pan of water on the heat so as to release a little steam and aid in the cooking process.  This will help keep your ribs moist so there is not too much “dry heat” cooking your ribs.

How to tell if your ribs are done?  There are a few tests you can do to see if your ribs are done.  One is called the bend test.  Hold your ribs on one end with a pair of tongs and look to see how far they bend.  If they are done, they should be pointing 90 degrees downward and they will most likely start to split in a few spots.  Another test you can do, which tends to be a little more accurate than the bend test, is the pull test.  Grab the ends of two bones near the center of the rack (be careful, they’re hot) and try to separate them apart by gently pulling them away from each other; if they pull apart easily your ribs are done!  Enjoy, and remember, if you’re looking, you’re not cooking!


Jason Cote

* This photograph and another in the video were courtesy of Kiawah Island Golf Resort.

Cherrywood Signature BBQ Sauce


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Chopped Garlic
2 Cups Ketchup
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Strong Coffee
1/2 Cup Pale Ale (or any beer you like!)
*4 Tablespoons Apple “Molasses”*
4 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
4 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
TT Salt
*Apple “Molasses” (what I call it) is simply apple juice reduction. Reduce apple juice on the stove, by just over half, until it becomes slightly thickened and very sweet.*


Saute the chopped garlic in the oil until just tender (try not to brown). Add all remaining ingredients and simmer until slightly thickened (approx. 20 min) season with salt to taste.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Jason Cote
Cherrywood BBQ & Ale House
Kiawah Island Golf Resort

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