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The Best Barbecue Made With Grape Jelly

Suzanne is a former regional magazine publisher, as well as a cooking and gardening writer. She lives in North Carolina.

Think jelly on pork is gross? Think again, this recipe is absolute mouth-watering.

Think jelly on pork is gross? Think again, this recipe is absolute mouth-watering.

Falling for the "Cue"

My introduction to pork barbecue was at a "Pig Pick'n" at a Chamber of Commerce event in Pickens County, South Carolina. My husband was the human resources manager for NCR, and we had just moved a ton of people to the area. This was the chamber's way of welcoming all of us.

It was a beautiful day, one of many as this part of the country, in the foothills of South Carolina, has wonderful weather. There were cloggers, folk music, and of course, the barbecue.

I lined up with the rest of us soon-to-be-transplanted Delawareans and picked up a hamburger roll and put some pork barbecue on it. That was when a local told me to put coleslaw on top of the pork... and the rest is history. From South Carolina to Raleigh, I have now tasted every barbecue I could get my hands on and my mouth around.


My Secret Ingredient: Grape Jelly

Ever since I discovered the recipe for jelly meatballs (which I share below), I have experimented with the recipe and found grape jelly and chili sauce make the best barbecue sauce for pork and beef ribs.

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The Best Barbecue Sauce Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

2 hours

2 hours 30 min

Serves 4


  • 1 bottle chili sauce
  • 1 (4-oz. jar) grape jelly
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
  • Texas Pete hot sauce, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Pork or beef ribs


  1. Combine first five ingredients in a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until jelly melts. Set aside.
  2. Parboil ribs for 10 minutes. Drain.
  3. Place ribs in an ovenproof casserole dish, pour jelly sauce over it, and cover. Bake at 325 degrees F for 2 hours.
  4. Alternative: Baste ribs with sauce and barbecue on grill until meat pulls away from the bone easily.

Bonus Recipe: Super Easy Jelly Meatballs

In case you have been living on another planet and haven't been to a party that served these meatballs, well then, let me introduce you to this recipe for grape jelly party meatballs that are super simple to make and always a hit:


  • 1 large package of mini meatballs (or make your own!)
  • 1 (4-oz. jar) grape jelly
  • 1 jar chili sauce


  1. Heat grape jelly and chili sauce until jelly is melted. Add meatballs.
  2. Serve in a chafing dish with cocktail toothpicks nearby at a party and watch them disappear.

Variation: Substitute another jelly, such as apricot, for the grape jelly.

© 2011 Suzanne Sheffield

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