cherry chicken2What are Flathead Cherries you say? They are the most amazing sweet cherries in in Pacific Northwest of course!

Actually…there really is no such thing as a “Flathead Cherry” any more than there is a “Washington Cherry.”  It’s the area in which the cherry is grown.  Flathead cherries come from Northwestern Montana and are grown in abundance around Flathead Lake. The most popular varieties grown here are Rainiers and Lamberts with the sweet Lambert being my favorite.

Here in Montana, we are pretty proud of our cherries. There aren’t many fruits that thrive in our environment, but The Flathead Lake Region of Montana offers an ideal climate for cherry production. It is approximately 3000 feet above sea level with beautiful, sunny, warm days, and cool evenings. Montana’s rocky, well drained soil and pristine, glacier fed water supply is well suited for cherry tree growth. Long warm days with plenty of sunshine helps develop outstanding fruit. Cool 40-50 degree evenings extend the growing season which allows fruit to mature over a longer period of time. These conditions contribute to the outstanding taste of Montana cherries.

One of my favorite couples just got married smack-dab in the middle of cherry season. They asked a friend and I to cater their wedding, and while I was putting the menu together, I made sure to incorporate a good flathead cherry recipe, after all what Montana wedding is complete without flathead cherries?


Smoked Chicken Wings with Flathead Balsamic Cherry Glaze

Serves: 4-6
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup cherry preserves(preferably organic, all fruit, no sugar added)
  • ¼ lb fresh or frozen pitted cherries, quartered(Flathead Cherries optional)
  • ¾ cup ketchup(preferably homemade) or ½c tomato paste
  • 2 TBS coconut palm sugar
  • 2 TBS molasses
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 20 organic chicken wings(seasoned with salt and pepper)

  1. Mix everything except the chicken in a small sauce pan, and simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes.
  2. To Grill:
  3. Preheat the grill tp high. Place the chicken wings on the grill grates Grill wings on high for 5 minutes on each side and brush with the cherry glaze grill until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F. Transfer wings to a bowl with the reserved sauce. Serve!
  4. Traeger it:
  5. Set your traeger or smoker/grill on smoke, according to manufacture’s instructions. Smoke the wings for 30 minutes. Turn the grill up to High, and grill for 5-8 minutes on each side brush the wings generously with some of the sauce and grill until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F. Transfer to a bowl with the reserved sauce and serve!

eat. love. nourish.

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