Baby Back Ribs & Zinfandel

Sticky, smoky and sweet baby back ribs are a summer staple and a classic partner for those game-day tailgate parties. Sure, most people think of grabbing a cold beer with barbecue, but I promise the right wine pairing can literally blow your mind. There are so many styles of BBQ, so for this post, I am focusing on the Kansas City style that boasts that thick jammy, sweet, smoky and spicy sauce. My go-to wine pairings are a  fruit forward, spicy Zinfandel or a rich, smoky Syrah.  The intense smokiness of ribs can be challenging to pair with wine, often overpowering the vino. Remember, the perfect pairing should complement one another and highlight the flavor profiles in both the food and wine.  Since, we are talking about casual food here, I have chosen a few budget-friendly wines under $20 to pair with Kansas City BBQ Pork Ribs.

Recommended Producers


Pulled Pork Sandwich & Riesling

Why not add a little class to your next BBQ sandwich with a great glass of wine? If you think wine and bar food don’t belong together – think again! North Carolina vinegar-based BBQ requires a more subtle wine pairing than it’s Kansas City counterpart. One of my favorite, unconventional pairings with a pulled-pork sandwich piled high with cole slaw is an off-dry Riesling. Yes, you read that right! Think about it for a moment. What is one of the all-time favorite drinks in the south? Sweet tea. The off-dry Riesling acts as a slightly sweet balance to the vinegar and touch of spice in the BBQ. The piercing acidity in the Riesling mirrors the mouthwatering vinegar notes in the barbecue.

This pairing was discovered last summer when I was challenged by Doughties Barbecue to find the perfect pairing for a wine festival.  This was hands-down the surprise hit of the day! People were coming back to me for more of this delicious pairing. Doughtie’s delivers to your door, so why not place an order of their delicious barbecue and grab a bottle of Riesling for a super easy meal. Check it for yourself and find out what all the fuss is about!

Recommended Producers (Under $15) 

Paleo Pairing: Pork Tenderloin & Cotes du Rhone

It’s hard to believe that I am already on the third week of my 31 day Paleo Challenge. Creating flavorful and different meals everyday takes some serious thought when you are eating Paleo, but I am already feeling and seeing the benefits of the extra time in the kitchen.

My Paleo Pairing for day 21 features Pepper Crusted Pork Tenderloin & Cotes du Rhone. Cotes du Rhone are typically Grenache dominated wines blended with Syrah and Mourvedre. The GSM (Grenache, Syrah & Mourvedre) blends are becoming quite popular. These wines are incredibly food friendly.  This wine has dense fruit and spice notes along with soft tannins that make it a nice compliment to the lean pork tenderloin.  An affordable one (under $20)  to try with this for a weeknight meal is the JV Fleury Cotes du Rhone Cairanne. It’s a good introduction to a Cotes du Rhone at a good price point.


2 Pork Tenderloins
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 tbsp. Roasted Garlic Spice Rub –  blend of roasted garlic, rosemary, oregano, thyme, gray salt, chili, and citrus zest
1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper


Add spice rub and pepper to pork tenderloins and coat evenly on all sides. Let marinate in the spice rub for about 30 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large cast iron skillet or dutch oven, heat olive oil until very hot. Add pork tenderloin and sear on all sides.  Place pan in oven and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer to a plate, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Serves 4-6.