When the sun doesn’t set till 10 p.m. and evenings reach 80 degrees, in Northern Michigan we know it’s time for grilling. As grilling season has begun and the National Cherry Festival nears, Kristen Celeste Shroeger, author of local food blog The Intentional Minimalist, shares her tasty recipe for summertime BBQ ribs.

Here are three cherry themed BBQ recipes for all those “Good Grill Girls” out there, says Kristen, “We love to rock the Good Girl Grill because Good Girlie Girl Grill food is as pretty as a picture and tastes a-m-a-z-i-n-g!” Featuring those Northern Michigan cherries we all know and love, this sweet and spicy sauce will make your mouth water when enjoying those tender ribs. Use the recipe for your next get together and save the leftovers for lunch. You’ll want to savor every last lick of the sauce off your fingers.

Cherry & Wild Leek BBQ Spare Ribs with Micro Greens Slaw

BBQ Sauce Ingredients:

  • Farm fresh wild leeks
  • Local olive oil
  • Local wild leek marinara suace
  • Local wild leek vinegar
  • Local verjus
  • Local cherry honey mustard
  • Local chipotle hot sauce
  • Local maple syrup
  • Local cherry cabernet preserves
  • Smoked paprika
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper

Micro Greens Slaw Ingredients:

  • Farm fresh local green cabbage
  • Farm fresh local baby arugula
  • Farm fresh local arugula micro greens
  • Farm fresh local china rose micro greens
  • Local verjus
  • Local olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Smoked paprika

Cherry BBQ Spare Ribs Ingredients:

  • Thick cut boneless spare ribs
  • Homemade cherry and wild leek BBQ sauce (recipe above)


Remove root ends off of wild leeks. Mince one quarter cup wild leek whites. Reserve wild leek greens for later use. In a small metal pot, add minced whites to two tablespoons olive oil and cook over medium heat for three minutes. Add in one cup wild leek marinara sauce, one half cup wild leek vinegar, one quarter cup verjus, one half cup cherry preserves, two tablespoons cherry honey mustard, two tablespoons hot sauce, two tablespoon maple syrup, one quarter teaspoon pepper, one quarter teaspoon smoked paprika and one eighth teaspoon sea salt. Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for thirty minutes. Remove sauce from heat to cool. Optional: Add BBQ sauce to food processor to blend until smooth or feel free to leave the BBQ sauce chunky as pictured.

Preheat grill to medium high heat. Rinse and pat dry boneless spare ribs. Add four tablespoons BBQ sauce to a large glass baking dish. Place boneless spare ribs in baking dish on top of BBQ sauce. Top boneless spare ribs with another two tablespoons BBS and let marinade for thirty minutes.

Place spare ribs on grill, reduce heat to medium and cook for ten minutes. Flip spare ribs over, cook for an additional ten minutes, turn off grill and let spare ribs rest for five minutes. Remove spare ribs from grill, plate and confirm internal temperature of spare ribs is 145 degrees with a meat thermometer.

Remove green cabbage spines, chiffonade two cups cabbage and place in a glass mixing bowl. Add two cups baby arugula to the bowl. Stir in one cup arugual micro greens and one half cup china rose micro greens to the bowl. Stir in one tablespoon verjus, one tablespoon olive oil, one tablespoon wild leek vinegar and season with salt and a dash of smoked paprika. Let slaw rest for five minutes.

Plate one cup slaw, top slaw with spare ribs, top spare ribs with one tablespoon BBQ sauce and a few sprigs of micro greens.

Check out other summer recipes such as this strawberry gazpacho here!

Photo(s) by Kristin Celeste Shroeger