This spicy-sweet chipotle BBQ sauce recipe takes about an hour and a half start-to-finish, including the steps for water-bath canning, though it freezes wonderfully, too.
I’ve partnered with Ball Canning in honor of International Can-It-Forward Day to bring you this article.
I love having barbecue sauce on hand for both grilling in the summer and roasting in the winter. I think most people do, which is why store-bought sauces are so popular, right? And since we love things a bit spicy at our house, I’ve created this bbq sauce recipe with chipotle peppers for heat which is tempered by the slight sweetness (reduced from most bbq sauce recipes) from honey and brown sugar.
There are a couple reasons why I like to make my own bbq sauce, even when pre-made sauce is inexpensive:
- Number one is obviously that you can control all the ingredients – I know just what’s in it, and much of the time that includes my home-grown, organic tomatoes.
- Store-bought sauces are sweeter than we like.
- Since I control and tailor the ingredients, it tastes better to us.
- It’s still inexpensive to make.
- It’s easy!
I know many of you are thinking, “well, easy for her.” But I’m here to encourage you that if you can mix together ingredients in a pot and cook them, you can make your own sauce – and can it to be shelf-stable, which makes it super easy to grab whenever you want.
Canning really is easy, as I hope to show in this article, and when canned your food is not only convenient for you, but also makes great gifts- on its own or as part of a food basket. This bbq sauce, for example, could be the star in a gift with a homemade spice rub, some grill tongs, silicone brush, and a good oven mit – a unique and meaningful gift, my favorite kind!
The bbq sauce recipe calls for both fresh tomato sauce and canned tomato paste, though in a pinch you can use canned tomato sauce, too. When using your own tomatoes, you can use any combo of paste and slicing tomatoes that you have, though the cooking time may be slightly more if using only juicier slicing tomatoes.
To quickly and easily turn my tomatoes into sauce this time, I was able to use Ball’s FreshTECH HarvestPro Sauce Maker. Can I just say l.o.v.e.? I’ve used a crank sauce-maker in the past, that worked better than a plain food mill (or peeling and deseeding pounds and pounds of tomatoes), but it was hard, physically, and terribly messy.
This? Quick, quite, and no mess. Really! I even created a video for you when I opened the box and used the machine for the first time. You get all my first reactions! You also get some questionable background (a messy rag anyone?) and a part that’s a bit blurry since Brian was using his iPhone and it chose to focus on who-knows-what, ha! (This is life with a blogger: “honey, I want to do a quick unboxing video…right now.”)
Chipotle BBQ Sauce Recipe
I wanted to make sure to show you the ingredients so you could see how real and simple they are. Tomato sauce (perfectly smooth from fresh tomatoes!), tomato paste, honey (or maple syrup), brown sugar, chipotles, cider vinegar, olive oil, onions, garlic, dry mustard, salt and pepper. All pretty much kitchen pantry staples except maybe the chipotles, but they are a staple in our house!
Now, you could make your own tomato paste but then you’re looking at hours and hours of cooking and it’s not that easy anymore. If you really wanted to use less paste, you could double the tomato sauce and lessen the tomato paste by 12 to 18 ounces, cooking it a bit longer to get a thick sauce. I find that using canned tomato paste keeps this sauce quick and easy.
Ready for this? Saute the garlic and onions, add all the other ingredients and cook for a bit. Blend it all into a smooth sauce, cook a bit more and voila! Barbecue sauce.
This is basically most bbq sauce recipes, by the way. You can make smaller batches and use it within a month, or freeze for longer storage. OR you can continue with the easy canning steps to make it shelf-stable.
Water-Bath Canning Steps
Gather all your equipment while the sauce is simmering the second time (affiliate links included):
- water-bath canner or large stockpot with a rack
- canning jars (5 pts. or 12 1/2-pints or a combo)
- new canning lids, cleaned
- screw bands (can reuse these), cleaned and rust-free
- jar lifter (a must for safely transferring the hot jars)
- canning funnel (I like metal ones, since we’re dealing with hot foods)
- plastic spatula or knife
- moist rag or paper towel
I like using a tray next to the stove to fill the jars – it keeps everything contained and is easy to pick up and clean.
1. Clean your jars, fill with hot water and leave to sit in the sink until ready to be filled.
2. Fill the canner 3/4 full with hot water and set on the stove over medium-high heat.
3. One-by-one fill the jars with sauce, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace.
4. Remove any air bubbles by running a plastic spatula around the inside.
5. Attach lids, screwing on just fingertip tight. (Note: In the past you needed to cover the lids with boiling water for a few minutes before using, but that recommendation has been lifted.)
6. Place jar on the rack of the canner and continue to fill and seal remaining jars.
7. Bring canner to a boil over high heat, start the timer and reduce heat to a softer boil (about 7-8 on my electric stove), and monitor the soft, rolling boil for the entire time.
8. Remove the jars using the jar lifter to a towel-lined surface. Let the jars sit, undisturbed, for 12 to 24 hours. Check the seals, refrigerating any that didn’t seal. Label (especially the date) and store for about a year. (Here’s another canning tutorial, if you’d like more information.)
For those who haven’t canned before, I promise that once the mystery is over, it makes sense and is easy to get into a rhythm. And seeing your handiwork on shelves in your pantry? It’s a
good great thing.