BBQ Recipes to Rock Your Wine Collection

Nothing says summer like a classic outdoor BBQ. Memorial Day is the perfect time to fire up the grill and break out your favorite bottles of wine from Livermore Valley wineries. With delicious marinades, spice rubs, and sauces to choose from, you’ll be sure to impress family and friends with a mouthwatering meal that pairs perfectly with your selections of wines.  With endless possibilities wine pairing and meal planning can be overwhelming, so take the advice of our local experts!

Alexandra Henkelman of Omega Road Winery recommends the 2021 Caring On Carignan with bold flavors like blueberry jam, hints of forest floor, fresh bark, and salted caramels. This fruit forward wine pairs perfectly with all BBQ, especially ribs featuring a sweet sauce with a bit of heat.

Nella Terra Cellars 2021 Estate Rubertino Red Blend of Zinfandel & Petite Sirah is full bodied with medium-high tannin. Aromas of black plum and strawberries fill the glass along with black pepper, leather and hickory. The tannins in this bold wine will cut through any sauce’s sweetness and complement the smoky grilled flavor of meats.

Harrison Miller of Concannon Vineyard likes to pair the 2018 Reserve Zinfandel with BBQ pork ribs, chicken, or veggie kabobs. This Zinfandel offers up wonderful aromas of ripe dark fruit, fig, and a hint of earthiness. Intense, jammy blackberry and boysenberry flavors coat the palate. The bold fruit flavors of this wine will bring out subtle notes from a marinade while its soft tannins balance out the richness of pork.

No matter what type of BBQ recipe you’re making, there’s sure to be a Livermore Valley Winery wine that pairs perfectly with it. With these recipes, you’ll rock your wine collection and make your Memorial Day BBQ one to remember! Continue reading to explore more wine pairings and favorite recipes from Livermore’s expert tasters.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken by Pat Heineman of Bent Creek Winery

Pairing: Bent Creek Winery 2017 Zinfandel

Tasting Notes: Dark and smooth with layers of black cherry, blackberry and plum and just a hint of spice.


  • 12 boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon onion flakes
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried chives


  1. Mix all of the dry rub ingredients together.
  2. At least four hours before grilling, wash the thicken thighs and sprinkle the dry rub all over them.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours).
  4. Prepare your charcoal grill to white hot.
  5. Grease the grill to prevent sticking. Place the chicken thighs on the grill, skin side down.
  6. Turn every 8-10 minutes to prevent sticking. The chicken thighs are done when the meat feels firm and the juices run clear when pierced by a fork.

Grilled Beef Ribs by Bonnie Bartlett of Charles R Winery

Pairing: Charles R 2019 Barbera

Tasting Notes: Black cherry, dark chocolate, and black currant with an earthiness that delivers balance and complexity.

Ingredients for Barbera Marinade

  • 4 pounds beef ribs
  • 1 cup Charles R Barbera
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 6 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Combine marinade ingredients and mix well.
  2. Place the ribs in a large zip lock bag and pour the marinade over them. Make sure the ribs are evenly coated. Refrigerate 2 or more hours, preferably overnight.
  3. Preheat the grill to 250 F, leaving a portion of the grill with the burner off for indirect cooking. Place the ribs on the side with indirect heat, bone side down. Grill for 1 1/2 hours, turning every 15 minutes. Grill until the ribs reach an internal temperature of 165 F. Remove from heat and serve.
  4. You can apply the Barbera Barbecue Sauce during the last 15 minutes of grilling, turning the meat twice to caramelize the sauce.

Ingredients for Barbera BBQ Sauce

  • ½ cup Charles R Barbera
  • 1 cup catsup
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • ¼ tsp. Chili flakes, or to taste


  1. In a medium sized pot, slowly heat all ingredients to a low boil, lower heat to a simmer, stirring frequently until mixture thickens.
  2. For best results, refrigerate overnight for flavors to meld.
  3. Apply the Barbera Barbecue Sauce during the last 15 minutes of grilling, turning the meat twice to caramelize the sauce.

Sirloin Flap by Occasio Winery

Pairing: Occasio Winery 2018 Merlot

Tasting Notes: Enticing oak accents of cedar, cloves and mint add extra interest to this full-bodied wine. Black cherries and pomegranates are at its core, carrying the palate and lingering on the finish.


  • 1 bottom sirloin flap – trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Salt and Pepper


  1. Rub flap with garlic powder, salt, and pepper on both sides then place into a vacuum bag and seal (may need to cut the flap into smaller lengths).
  2. Set the desired temperature on your recirculation bath (136 for medium). Let cook for 2 – 4 hours.
  3. Remove the bag from the water and dry the flap with a paper towel.
  4. Quickly sear the flap on the grill. Let rest for ten minutes and then slice before serving.

BBQ Flank Steak by Nancy Rodrigue of Rodrigue Molyneaux Winery

Pairing: Rodrigue Molyneaux 2018 Malbec 

Tasting Notes: rich, ripe, fruit highlighted by spicy oak notes on the nose. A bit of cedar and redwood swirls around boysenberry, white pepper, and clove. The palate has intense dark purple fruit with medium weight and body, rich earth, and black pepper on the finish. Dark and intriguing, yet approachable and ready to enjoy anytime.


  • 1 cup each ketchup and BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 1/4 cup Malbec
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 T. oil
  • 2T dried onions or fresh minced
  • dash of garlic powder or one chopped fresh garlic clove
  • 1T cider vinegar


  1. Slash the steak slightly in both directions & marinate overnight.
  2. BBQ 7 minutes each side and slice thin on the diagonal to serve.

Bacon Burger by Dante Robere Vineyards

Pairing:  2016 Purgatorio  a 50/50 Blend of Petite Sirah & Cabernet Sauvignon

Tasting Notes: huge in flavors and giant in structure, boasting dense, concentrated blackberry and blueberry notes on a tight texture of firm tannins and full body.


  • 2 medium red onions, sliced & roasted, grilled or sautéed until tender (cook with olive oil & season with S&P)
  • 3 pounds of mixed ground chuck & sirloin
  • 8 slices of thick cut bacon, cooked in skillet until crisp & drained on paper towel
  • Favorite Mayo or sauce, we like Sir Kensington’s Special Sauce
  • 12 ounces of brie – super decadent option is Cowgirl Creamery’s triple cream Mt. Tam cheese
  • 8 brioche burger buns, split & toasted or grilled


  1. Light or preheat grill
  2. Form patties, season with S&P and brush with olive oil.
  3. Grill over moderately high heat until well -browned on the bottom, 5 minutes.
  4. Flip burgers, cook for 4 minutes longer (for medium rare), mound cheese on top during the last 2 minutes.
  5. Assemble burgers with special sauce, bacon and roasted onions.