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.

Rate My Recipe Please! (Thank you)

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


Stephanie Henkel from USA on July 15, 2015:

I must have been living on another planet because I never heard of either BBQ sauce or meatballs with grape jelly. However, they both sound delicious and I'm definitely going to give them a try! Yummy!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on December 01, 2013:

I haven't fixed the jelly meatballs but had tasted them and they are so good so I bet this is too. Will come back later and get some of your recipes. Great time of year to try new recipes. Thanks!

Agnes on February 06, 2013:

I never heard of this technique! I may have to share it with my husband, he is a chef.

Suzanne Sheffield (author) from Mid-Atlantic on November 29, 2012:

Thank you phdast7 for the share! I appreciate it!

Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on November 29, 2012:

This makes sense to me. Several years ago on the spur of the moment I had to feed a large number of people a summer Sunday lunch. Of course I had to use whatever I happened to have.

I combined black pepper, garlic, Worcestershire and a small jar of STRAWBERRY JAM with a large bottle of BBQ sauce and poured it over chicken breasts and thighs and baked them slowly in the oven.

Any side dishes would be fine. I think I served rice, a green salad, french bread. All I remember is guests using their bread to soak/sop up the last bits of the savory sauce in the pan -- these were adults, not children. :)

Suzanne Sheffield (author) from Mid-Atlantic on November 27, 2012:

Grape jelly is great in pasta sauce, spicy meatballs, baked beans, as well as ribs. Thanks for the comment.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on November 27, 2012:

This gives me some ideas. We smoke ribs all the time, and experiment with different sauces, so using jelly as a base sounds very interesting!

James Timothy Peters from Hammond, Indiana on November 11, 2012:

Holy cow!

I just read a HUB on using GRAPE JELLY in a MEATLOAF and when I read the title to this INVITING HUB, I had to find out - the curiousity got the best of me.

GREAT HUB! EXCELLENT video! I enjoyed it!

Thumbs Up & More!

Write On!

joaniebaby on April 28, 2012:

What a coincidence! I just tried a recipe for meat sauce with grape jelly and was pleasantly surprised. And since I used my own home canned jelly, I am sure it was even better than with store bought jelly. When I found the recipe, I was telling my daughter about it and she was very skeptical. Thanks for the Hub.

Suzanne Sheffield (author) from Mid-Atlantic on April 26, 2012:

Thank you for stopping by. Let me know what you think!

bmcoll3278 on April 24, 2012:

looks good I bookmarked and will try next week. Voted up

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on April 02, 2012:

Hmmm, grape jelly and chili sauce sounds must add up to spicy and sweet BBQ sauce. It sounds delish! I've marked this as a definite must-try.

Suzanne Sheffield (author) from Mid-Atlantic on March 25, 2012:

Thank you so much. I value your opinion.

Stoill Barzakov from Sofia, Bulgaria on March 24, 2012:

Even it is a bit fusion with the grape jelly it sounds tasty.

Voting up ;)

Suzanne Sheffield (author) from Mid-Atlantic on March 19, 2012:

Thank you Susan. You will not be disappointed!

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on March 19, 2012:

I love meatballs with the grape jelly so I have to try your rib recipe. Sounds like it would be a hit at my house. Thanks for the recipe.

Voted up, shared and pinned.

Suzanne Sheffield (author) from Mid-Atlantic on May 29, 2011:

You know that meatball recipe using grape jelly and chili sauce? Maybe I should post it. Grape jelly is also fantastic in spaghetti sauce. Yep, who'da thunk it is right.

Granny's House from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time on May 29, 2011:

This looks yummy. Grape jelly. Who would of thunk it

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