The internet is full of recipes for homemade BBQ sauce. If you do a google search for homemade BBQ sauce, you get 2,280,000 results. Over 2 million!
(HINT: most of them combine ketchup, mustard and brown sugar and call it done!)
Taking three store-bought, pre-made condiments and mixing them together and calling them BBQ sauce, doesn’t quite do it for me.
Another motivation for me to start making BBQ sauce at home is the wee little one. I pour my favorite BBQ sauce on everything – meat, fries, mac n cheese. Everything. Little one has figured out if mama likes it, it must be good, and wants it on everything, too.
I finally looked at the ingredients the other day and nearly cried. The first ingredient is high fructose corn syrup. (insert dramatic wailing here)
Even further down the list, it contains nor only high fructose corn syrup but also corn syrup AND sugar. So basically I was ladling syrup on everything. No wonder it tasted so good!
But to avoid overdosing baby with sugar, I have to avoid it myself. Damn kids are good at accountability.
So I scoured the interwebs, experimented, and finally found a recipe I can feel good giving to the baby (in moderate amounts) and feel good eating myself.
If you’re swimming in tomatoes, or know of a farmer selling “canning tomatoes” for cheap, stock up and double this recipe.
If you’re not growing tomatoes yet, you absolutely should be. They’re the best gateway drug…err…vegetable to grow. Even if you’re apartment homesteading, all they need is a pot and a sunny window.
Check out my 30 second guide to growing tomatoes to get started!
How to Make Homemade BBQ Sauce
The first step to this recipe is to peel and de-seed your tomatoes. Peeling and de-seeding tomatoes may seem overwhelming if you’ve never done it before. But I explain how to do it easily with step-by-step instructions on my post How to Prepare Tomatoes For Canning.
You’ll throw your tomatoes, onions and garlic into a crockpot and let cook on high for 4 hours or so. If you don’t want to wait, simply add them to a saucepan and cook over medium heat until they’re soft and cooked-through.
Then you’ll process your tomato-mixture in a food mill or blender. If you want a texture like store-bought BBQ sauce, you’ll need to get rid of the solids. If you like a chunkier chutny-style BBQ sauce, simply puree the mixture into a thick paste.
After rinsing your crockpot, add the liquid back to it and discard the solids. Add the vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, soy sauce and dijon mustard, stirring to combine. Cook for an additional 4 hours until thick.
Consider this recipe your beginning. Make it first, and try it out. Need more heat? Add peppers! Need more tang? Add more vinegar. Want more smokiness? Add some liquid smoke! Customize this basic recipe to your taste. The possibilities are endless!
How to Can BBQ Sauce
To can your BBQ sauce, simply sterilize your jars like normal, pour in the BBQ sauce and process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes.
Enjoy the taste of summer all year long!