BBQ Wine Pairings for Summer

Posted by Ann Brydle on

Summer BBQ season is upon us!


We can’t think of a better way to compliment some saucy ribs on a warm evening than with a glass of BC’s finest wine. Now all you’ll need are the mouth-watering recipes to cook up the absolute best dinner. Don’t sweat it – we’ve enlisted the help of Kyle Dampsy, Executive Chef at Canoe Brewpub, to come up with some easy BBQ recipes.


Apple Brined Smoky Baby Back Ribs


We love these smoky ribs on a warm evening in the backyard. And we love Pentage Gamay really any time! This wine features dark cherry notes and soft tannins that make it a great companion to saucy, smoky pork dishes – not too light to get lost in the meal, but not too big to overpower! And to really up your pairing game, pour a glug in to your sauce so the flavours really shine.


For the Brine:

  • Apple Juice — 3L

  • Salt — 90 grams

  • Pepper Corns — 30 grams

  • Fennel Seeds — 45 grams

  • Bay Leaf — 3 leaves

  • Chili — pinch

For the Ribs:

  • Baby Back Pork Ribs — 3kg

  • Onions — 6 whole, peeled and sliced

  • Cracked Pepper — To taste

  • Apple Wood Chips — 2 cups


  • Bring apple juice to a simmer and stir in remaining ingredients for the brine.

  • Cool.

  • Run a knife down each bone on the backside of the ribs to sever the connective tissue.

  • Place Ribs in brine and refrigerate over-night.

  • In a baking dish place a layer of raw onions followed by a layer of ribs and repeat until all the ribs are in the pan. (This is a great time to use your favourite dry rub.)

  • Cover with aluminum foil and place in BBQ at 250°F for approximately 90 minutes.

  • Once ribs are “fall off the bone” tender, cool slightly and remove the onions and cooking juices from the pan.

  • Reduce the juices and onions until thick.

  • Fold the thickened juices into your favourite BBQ sauce for the perfect marriage between meat and sauce.

  • Soak wood chips in cold water for 20 minutes.

  • Liberally slather the BBQ sauce on the ribs.

  • Drain the liquid off the wood chips and throw them right onto the coals of your BBQ. If it is propane, put them in a tin foil pouch with holes poked in the pouch and leave it on the grill until it begins smoking.

  • Once you have a nice smoky environment, grill (high heat) your saucy ribs. Continue to add sauce as you feel fit.

  • Serve and enjoy!


Bourbon Espresso BBQ Sauce


This is a pretty big sauce that needs a pretty big wine, and Lunessence Merlot is certainly up for the job! This wine is full bodied, spicy, and has a coffee-like kick to echo the espresso in the sauce.


  • Onion — 2 whole, peeled and sliced
  • Garlic — 5 cloves, peeled and sliced
  • Ketchup — 2L
  • Jim Beam Bourbon — 1 cup
  • Espresso — 1 cup
  • Soy Sauce — ½ cup
  • Molasses — ¼ cup
  • Butter — ¼ lb


  • Melt butter in a heavy bottomed pot.

  • Add sliced garlic and onion. Sweat until the vegetables are tender and starting to stick to the bottom of the pot.

  • Deglaze with Soy Sauce, half the Jim Beam Bourbon and half the espresso. Allow to reduce by half.

  • Add Ketchup and Molasses and allow to gently simmer until sauce is thick and sticky. Approximately 90min.

  • Remove from the heat then add the remainder of the Bourbon and Espresso. Stir vigorously.

  • Chill and enjoy!


Skillet Charred Cornbread


Sometimes you need a break from big reds, and sometimes bubbly is the perfect remedy. We think this sparkler from Cedar Creek will compliment Kyle’s cornbread so nicely, and it gets bonus points for having enough versatility to stand next to just about every other dish at the cookout! The wine is super floral and citrusy with a refreshing mousse and lively acidity – great as a palate cleanser, with summer salads, or just on its own as a toast to good times.


  • Cornmeal — 1 ½ cups

  • Whole Milk — 2 ½ Cups

  • All Purpose Flour — 2 cups

  • Baking Powder — 1 tablespoon

  • Salt — 1 teaspoon

  • Sugar — 2/3 of a cup

  • Eggs — 2 whole, large

  • Butter — ½ cup

  • Sour Cream — 2 tablespoons

  • Fresh Corn — 1 cobb


  • Pre-heat a heavy bottomed skillet on the BBQ (400°F)

  • Peel corn and char on the BBQ. Remove the kernels and reserve.

  • Melt butter and combine it with all other wet ingredients.

  • In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients.

  • Fold all ingredients, including the charred corn kernels, together to form a batter.

  • Add the batter to the skillet and allow to cook for 20–30min.

  • When a fork is placed in the bread and comes out clean, the cornbread is ready!

A tip…

While you are cooking your cornbread on the BBQ, it will absorb other flavours from the grill. Preparing some nice smoky ribs adjacent to the bread will deepen the flavour!


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