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. Some links in this article are affiliate links and if you click on them I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.
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.”)
Canned 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.
Easy Canned Chipotle BBQ Sauce Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion about 1/2 med. onion
- 3 medium cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 of a 7-ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce *see notes for spice level options
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup honey or maple syrup, or a combo
- 4 cups 32 ounces plain, fresh tomato sauce**
- 3 12- ounce cans organic tomato paste
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 teaspoons kosher or pickling salt
- 1 teaspoons ground black pepper
- Saute oil, onion, and garlic in a large, stainless steel stock pot 2-3 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and cook 15-20 minutes.
- Blend until smooth with an immersion blender.
- Cook for another 20-25 minutes for flavors to meld and sauce to thicken further, stirring often to prevent sticking. Be careful of spatters - you can partially cover the pot if needed.
- For water-bath canning:***Prepare jars, lids, and canning equipment while sauce is cooking. Remove sauce from heat and ladle into hot, clean jars one at a time with 1/2-inch headspace.
- Remove any air bubbles by running a plastic spatula or knife around the inside of the jars. Wipe rims with a moist towel and attach lids.
- Process both pint and 1/2-pint jars for 20 minutes. Remove to a towel-lined surface and let sit undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Check seals, refrigerating any that didn't seal, label and store for year to year and a half.
Visit our Preserving Recipe Index for lots more canning recipes!
*This giveaway has ended! Congratulations to Mary, comment #120!*
The giveaway package:
- FreshTECH HarvestPro™ Sauce Maker: The new Ball® FreshTECH HarvestPro™ Sauce Maker is the fourth countertop appliance to join the FreshTECH family, designed to make the most delicious sauces, salsas, dips, spreads and even baby food. (Retail value: $149)
- Case of Collection Elite Wide Mouth Pint Jars: For the first time, the Ball® brand has introduced a line of never-before released blue colored jars. If you’d like another size or glass color, let us know and we’d be happy to swap out! (Retail value: $8.99/case)
- One $5 off coupon to be used on FreshPreservingStore.com
It’s super easy to enter, too! You can enter up to three times – all simply by leaving a comment. Here are the details:
- First, mandatory entry: Leave a comment telling me what you’d create with the sauce maker and jars- that’s it, no boxes or widgets to try and figure out!
- Get an additional entry by sharing about the giveaway on Facebook, then coming back here to leave another comment telling me that you shared.
- Get another entry by sharing on Twitter, again leaving a separate comment to tell me so.
- The giveaway is open until Friday, July 29, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. PST. One winner will be chosen at random and e-mailed within 48 hours. Winners must claim prize within 48 hours of initial contact, or another winner will be chosen. Name and address will be provided to Jarden Home Brands who will then mail the giveaway package to the winner.
- This giveaway is open to those living in the continental US with a valid shipping address and readers who are 18 and older.
Disclosure: I received product and/or compensation for this post. As always, the opinions, thoughts, and projects are all mine and I will NEVER promote something I don’t love and think you will find helpful – promise! This post also contains affiliate links and by clicking on them you help support AOC at no extra cost to you! For more info, you can read our entire disclosure page here.