An easy homemade canned (or frozen) barbecue sauce made from a base of sweet cherries and sweetened only with honey, this smokey, flavorful sauce is great on any grilled meat, kabobs, and more. Also makes a great gift!
Wash and pit cherries; add them to a 6-quart stock pot. Chop onions and garlic and add them to the pot. Then add all remaining ingredients to the pot and stir together.
Heat the mixture to boiling, covered, and reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered for 15 minutes.
Remove lid and continue to cook over medium-low until reduced and thickened a bit, about 20-25 minutes.
Blend until smooth with an immersion blender or regular blender (be careful when using a regular blender with hot food and do it in batches).
Return to low heat and cook until as thick as desired, 10-15 minutes. TIP: keep a wooden spoon in the pot and set lid on top of pot to protect from the thick sauce spitting - the spoon helps keep the lid ajar so steam can escape and the sauce can thicken.
Taste for spiciness and salt, adding more if needed. While thickening, prepare your boiling water canner, half-pint jars, lids, and rings. (Go here to read a full tutorial if needed.) OR, prepare your freezer containers.**
Fill warm jars one at a time with sauce leaving a 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim, attach lid and ring and place in canner. Repeat with remaining jars and sauce. (Refrigerate any leftover sauce that doesn't fill a jar completely.)
Process for 15 minutes, remove lid, turn off the heat and let jars cool for 5 minutes in the canner. Remove the jars to a towel-lined surface to cool without moving for 24 hours.
Remove rings, check seals by pulling gently with your fingers, label with contents and date, and store in a cool, dark place for 1 to 1 1/2 years.
*The smoke smell seems strong when cooking, but it mellows with time, so this measurement is good. You can always use less if you want, though.**If freezing instead of canning, you'll want to let the sauce cool before adding to your containers, labeling, and placing in the freezer. Frozen BBQ sauce will last 6 months to a year.