Barbecue Sauce – Canning a Condiment

I had been looking for a good barbecue sauce recipe for a long time. This sauce is pretty good. I wanted a tomato-based sauce that I could make from my own garden and for the most part I found it. I did end up using one canned ingredient, because I had used up half the can two months ago and the rest was in my freezer…chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

I wanted my sauce to be very sweet and reasonably spicy. As I was cooking the recipe I found in the Ball Blue Book (1987 edition) I could taste that it wasn’t going to be NEARLY as sweet as I wanted, so in addition to the 1/2 cup brown sugar I added a heaping half cup of molasses as well. If I were going to make this again tomorrow I would jump right in with 3/4 or more.

Then again, I think if I really wanted this to be sweeter I would have to start with a sauce with less tomatoes in it. The last thing I wanted to do was to put in corn syrup. Yuck!

My biggest concern as I was cooking this was that it was going to be CRAZY spicy. There was a time while I was cooking it that I thought I had ruined it with the chipotles. After processing and opening a jar and having it on some ribs yesterday I was pleasantly surprised at how much the spiciness had settled down.

The usual disclaimer about canning at your own risk applies here. I am 100% sure that this modified recipe is a safe recipe, but I know that I have used acidic tomatoes and quality vinegar, and that all substitutions were done with like-quantities of similarly p.h.’ed items.

Give this a try and let me know what you think.

  • My garden: tomatoes, bell peppers
  • Local: onions, molasses, garlic
  • The store: celery, brown sugar, dry mustard, paprika, salt, peppercorns, vinegar, canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Margot Tenenchop on September 7, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    I really love your recipe card format – and the fact that there are good ingredients in this sauce! Jimmy, I think we’re going to have to blog friends!


  2. I took the coward’s way out with my barbecue sauce last fall. I started with the Ball Blue Book Recipe (new book), which tasted just like ketchup. I grabbed a big bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s and dumped it in. It’s not bad! This year I’ll have to do more experimenting, with additional brown sugar and molasses, like you did.


    • Ha! The coward’s way! LOL. If you only knew how many times I have made home-mixed barbecue sauce by bringing out every condiment in the fridge and mixing them together you would run away from my blog screaming!


  3. Posted by Vicki Olson on June 4, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Wow, I love it that you are preserving the cabin type of tomato. I would love to help do this although its probably too late this year unless I planted some in containers that I could bring in in the fall and set in my southeast window. I winter over some of my pepper plants each year and the main stem grows wider each year, just like a small tree. Years ago, back in the ’70’s I tested a type of bean that was meant to be dried, that a non profit was testing for use in third world countries with hunger problems. It was wonderful to be involved in something like that. I had gotten a catalogue of seed companies thru the Whole Earth Catalogue….I loved that book !!!…..and the non profit was in that. I think I ordered over 100 seed catalogues that year but my lasagna garden was only 150 by 30 so even using the square foot method I could never plant everything that I wanted !!! lol. Anyway, if you have any seeds left, I would happily try to get them going this year and if not, please put me first on your list for next year. I found your blog by clicking on a review for the reusable canning lids. Canned things will be my brother’s Christmas present this year and I’m going to be experimenting with lots of different sauces and chutneys as well as the classics. I do an end of the season, used everything up, mixed vegetable soup we call zucchini stew as I use the end of the garden zucchini in it as a filler…as I don’t think it adds any taste. My brother loves it and it can be used as a starter for so many other dishes and casseroles. I gave him 19 quarts the first year I made it and he used up every one of them except the last as he said he did not know if I would make it again and he did not want to run out. !! lol I will be marking your blog as a favorite and I can hardly wait to try the barbecue sauce !!! Question. I don’t have a food mill. Is that just for removing the tomato seeds? I’ll have to look for one at a thrift sale or auction. Thanks, Vicki


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