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Wellness for the Family: Grilling with Cherries

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Another underused way to incorporate cherries in your life: the grill.

This week in Wellness for the Family, Michelle Dunaway and Grace Derocha, a registered dietitian with, show us some healthier options to bring to the picnic table.

Grilled Cherry Salsa


1 small sweet onion, peeled and sliced in half

1 jalapeno peppers, halved and de-seeded

2 cups pitted bing cherries

2 garlic cloves

3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 limes, juiced

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon each to start)


Preheat your grill to the highest setting.

Rub the onions and peppers with the olive oil, saving 1 tablespoon or so for the cherry.

Place the onion and pepper on the grill. Grill until they begin to char (and the pepper skins bubble and blacken), about 2 to 3 minutes, turning often. Remove the onion and pepper and let them cool slightly.

Toss the remaining olive oil with the cherries and garlic, then place in a grill tray or basket. Grill until the cherries start to burst slightly and bubble and blister, just 2 to 3 minutes, tossing with a large spoon.

Add the can of tomatoes, the onions, peppers, garlic, lime juice and the cherries to a food processor. Pulse until you have the consistency of salsa you enjoy. Stir in the chopped cilantro.

Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with tortilla chips or cheese quesadilla. Enjoy!

For more recipes and health and wellness tips, visit . 

Cherry Beer Can Chicken with a Cherry BBQ Sauce


Beer Can Chicken

Whole chicken (3-4 pounds)

1 12 oz can of your favorite cherry beer – I recommend Bell’s Pooltime Ale or Perrin’s Michigan Cherry IPA

2-4 Tbsp Canola oil or favorite heart healthy oil

1/4 cup of your favorite rub or other spices

Cherry Barbeque Sauce

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups fresh or frozen dark sweet cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped

1 cup ketchup

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon Liquid Smoke, optional


Beer Can Chicken

Remove neck and giblets. Rinse the chicken and dry with paper towels.

Rub chicken with favorite spices.

Lightly brush on oil over spices on skin of chicken.

Take a gulp of beer or pour out ¼ of the can. Make sure the beer is room temperature. Place the chicken (legs down, breast up) with cavity over beer can.

Transfer the bird-on-a-can to your grill and place in the center of the grate, balancing the bird on its 2 legs and the can like a tripod.

Cook the chicken over medium-high, indirect heat (i.e. no coals or burners on directly under the bird), with the grill cover on, for approximately 1 1/4 hours or until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees F in the breast area and 180 degrees F in the thigh, or until the thigh juice runs clear when stabbed with a sharp knife. Think cook time shoul be 10-15 minutes for every pound of chicken.

Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Cherry Barbeque Sauce

In a large saucepan, sauté onion in butter until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.

Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cook, uncovered, over medium­ low heat for 20 minutes or until cherries are tender and sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally. Serve with Beer Chicken. Enjoy!


For more recipes and health and wellness tips, visit .