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Cherry Habanero Rib Candy

This gorgeous cherry habanero rib candy will make your taste buds do a happy dance. The combination of sweetness and heat makes this the perfect glaze for ribs and chicken. Not only is it delicious and easy to make, but also a budget-friendly alternative!

Cherry Habanero Rib Candy

The best part about this recipe is that you can tailor the ingredients to suit your needs. Don’t you want to cut the spice? Reduce the amount of habanero called for in the recipe, or replace it with milder peppers like jalapeno or hatch chilis. Use this cherry-habanero rib candy on smoked pork belly or turkey burnt ends. It’ll amp up your outdoor cooking game!

rib candy-ingredients

Ingredients for Cherry-Habanero Rib Candy:

  • Cherry Jelly: If you cannot find cherry jelly, look for cherry jam or preserves that do not contain whole cherries. 
  • Apple Jelly: Do not use apple butter or apple jam. Smucker’s makes a simple, low-cost apple jelly that works perfectly for this rib candy.
  • Habanero Pepper Jelly: Use a basic habanero jelly for this recipe; however, you can substitute it with jalapeno or milder pepper jelly. 
  • White Vinegar
  • Honey BBQ Rub: Or a comparable sweet bottled rub.

Note on Pork Ribs:

I’ve curated several comprehensive rib cooking walkthroughs. Take advantage of the guides below to perfect your technique, and don’t hesitate to drop a comment if you have additional questions.

How to Make Rib Candy:

Prepare your ribs as instructed by one of the guides above. During the last hour of cooking time, gather your cherry-habanero rib candy ingredients: 1/4 cup apple jelly, 1/4 cup habanero jelly, 1/4 cup cherry jelly (or jam), 1 tablespoon white vinegar, and 2 teaspoons honey BBQ rub.

glaze-on smoker

Place rib candy ingredients into a small saucepan. Melt over low heat, and stir to combine. You can also melt the ingredients in a cast-iron pot on your smoker, as shown above. This version will take about 20-25 minutes for the sauce to melt through. However, the rib candy will pick up a little smokiness as it cooks next to the pork ribs. Stir the sauce well before using.

Applying Cherry Habanero Rib Candy to Ribs:

glaze on ribs
  • About 35 minutes before the ribs are done, set a piece of foil underneath the rack, and fold the sides and ends upward, as pictured. If you have the room, skip the foil and set an aluminum drip pan underneath the grates. 
  • Pour the heated cherry-habanero rib candy directly onto the rack of ribs. Get a good coating, and if needed, use a sauce brush to even it out. Apply the rib candy to all exposed meat, including the edges. 
  • Close the lid of your smoker or grill, and let the ribs cook for 30 more minutes or until the ribs reach the target internal temperature. This will give the rib candy time to cook down and form a nice rich red glaze.  
  • Remove the glazed pork ribs from your grill or smoker, place them onto a clean cutting board. Let them stand for 10-15 minutes before carving.
rib candy on the grill

Using Rib Candy on Pork Belly:

We have an amazing recipe for Pork Belly Burnt Ends. Simply swap out the bourbon sauce ingredients and replace it with 3/4 C. of our cherry habanero rib candy. You can also use this as a glaze for smoked turkey breast or turkey burnt ends. 

Cherry Habanero-Rib Candy in Jar

Tips:

  • Double, Triple, or even quadruple this rib candy recipe and pour it into a large, sterilized glass jar with a secure lid. Cool completely and store in your refrigerator for up to 1 month. Take out what you need, heat it on your stovetop or smoker, and use it as directed above.
  • Substitute the cherry base for strawberry, blueberry, peach, or mixed berry. Customize this rib candy glaze to your liking.
Cherry Habanero Rib Candy

Cherry Habanero Rib Candy

This gorgeous cherry-habanero rib candy glaze is easy to make and a more cost-effective way to get that luscious sweet candied finish on smoked pork ribs!
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sauces
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: cherry habanero rib candy, rib candy, rib candy recipe, rib glaze
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 0.75 Cups
Calories: 989kcal
Author: Sabrina Baksh

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup apple jelly not apple butter
  • 1/4 cup habanero jelly or a milder pepper jelly
  • 1/4 cup cherry jelly if using jam of preserves, remove the whole cherries, or melt and strain them
  • 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Honey BBQ Rub or your favorite sweet bottled rub

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients into a small saucepan and heat for 5-7 minutes over medium-low to low heat. Stir until the mixture has melted through.
  • During the last 35 minutes of cooking time, place a large sheet of foil under the ribs (or a large aluminum pan under the cooking grate). Fold the edges of the foil.
  • Pour rib candy over the ribs. Use a bbq sauce brush to even out if needed. Close the lid and continue cooking ribs for 30 minutes.
  • For Pork Belly Burnt Ends. Use 3/4 C. of our cherry habanero rib candy during the last 30 minutes. You can also use this as a glaze for smoked turkey breast or turkey burnt ends.
  • Double, Triple, or even quadruple this rib candy recipe and store it in a large, sterilized glass jar. Store in your refrigerator for up to 1 month. Take out what you need, heat it on your stovetop or smoker, and use it as directed above.
  • Substitute the cherry base for strawberry, blueberry, peach, or mixed berry. Customize this rib candy glaze to your liking.

Nutrition

Calories: 989kcal | Carbohydrates: 243g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 113mg | Potassium: 352mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 165g | Vitamin A: 346IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 200mg | Iron: 6mg

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