Canning: Rustic BBQ Sauce

Canned BBQ Sauce is a great way to use the last tomatoes from your garden, but even better — it’s a great gift!  Family and friends appreciate gifts from the kitchen — especially when it’s something custom made and something they can’t get off the shelf!  This is a rustic BBQ sauce, and can be used alone or you can add in peaches, raspberries, etc. at cooking time.

1. Start this sauce by finely dicing 1 large onion, and sauteing (without oil) the onion with  3 cloves of garlic. I use a cutting mandolin to make the dicing easier.  You can mince the garlic if you like — we will be pureeing all the ingredients later, so for a fresher garlic flavor leave it whole for now, a more roasted garlic flavor — mince.

2. When the onion/garlic is lightly browned, add 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (I like fireroasted, but plain is great too).  Then add 1 15 oz can of tomato sauce.  Then dice 5 cups of tomatoes (approx. 3-4 pounds) and add.  Simmer sauce.

3.  Add 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons worcesteshire sauce, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, 1 teaspoon chili powder (I added smoked chili powder, or if you can’t find that but like a smoky flavor with a kick, add 1 diced canned chipotle pepper (we will be pureeing all ingredients, so rough chopping is fine), 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (if you like).

4. Blend all ingredients in two batches, and puree until smooth.  This probably won’t get as smooth as store-bought sauce, which is why I call it rustic.  Store-bought sauce often also uses corn syrup, but we’re going to be adding brown sugar soon . . .

5.  Pour pureed ingredients back into pan and add 1 cup (or more or less) of brown sugar.  I really encourage you to taste here — some like a sweeter sauce, and some don’t.  Remember, this is custom . . .  simmer over medium to low until it is thicker and a bit darker, approximately 20 minutes, stirring to prevent scorching.

6.  Ladle into hot prepared jars.  This recipe should make about 6-8 half pints.  Leave 1/4″ headspace, and process for 20 minutes (or 25 minutes at 5000 feet).

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2 comments to Canning: Rustic BBQ Sauce

  • Terri

    I hope you meant it when you said there are no stupid questions. When you say to process for 20 minutes, you do mean in a water bath, right? Some sites say you can only pressure can tomato products. Thanks. By the way, this is my first time to your site and I LOVE IT.

  • elizabeth

    Hi Terri — yes, I mean water bath. Because of the acidic nature of the BBQ sauce, (a pH lower than 4.5), you can use a water bath. Tomatoes are rather acidic on their own. The pressure canner is for those foods that aren’t acidic enough to use a water bath, and/or for those foods that you aren’t adding enough lemon juice/vinegar etc. to make them more acid. Hope that helps!

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